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Nursing jobs no longer a sure thing in California

For the past several years, nursing students in the Northern San Joaquin Valley had jobs lined up before they graduated.

Not anymore.

Two hospitals that routinely hire Modesto Junior College nursing graduates – Doctors Medical Center in Modesto and Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock – have said they will hire few of the 72 students scheduled to graduate in May, said Bonnie Costello, program director for MJC. She also expects Memorial Medical Center in Modesto to hire fewer graduates than in the past.

Many of the December graduates from the San Joaquin Delta College nursing program in Stockton have not found jobs.

It's a sign that health care jobs are not such a bright spot in the dismal labor market.

"It appears to be the economy," Costello said, adding that nursing school directors throughout Northern California are talking about the decline. "For the class that graduates in May, we are not sure they are going to find jobs."

The MJC program reduced enrollment from 75 to 66 for the class that began the two-year training in January and it's "highly likely" further enrollment cuts are coming in the fall, Costello said. That comes after MJC expanded enrollment in recent years to help address a statewide shortage of nurses.

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