15 Years of Advancing Healthcare Careers, Creating Career Pathways and Improving Patient Care across Washington

Press Release
October 23, 2023

Mary Grace Antony, Director of Communications & Community Relations
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Multi-Employer Training & Education Fund
| 425-919-7365

15 Years of Advancing Healthcare Careers, Creating Career Pathways, and Improving Patient Care across Washington

(Renton, WA): The SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Multi-Employer Training & Education Fund (Training Fund) marks its 15-year anniversary on October 25, 2023. This milestone event celebrates innovative labor/management partnerships that drive workforce solutions, and will bring together union members, healthcare employers, education partners, community-based organizations, and staff. Attendees will include member speakers, representatives from major healthcare employers across Washington, and local dignitaries such as SEIU Healthcare 1199NW President Jane Hopkins, and  King County Executive Dow Constantine.

The Training Fund is a labor/management partnership that brings together Washington’s biggest healthcare union and its largest healthcare employers to align on investing in workforce development and community representation. Established in 2008, the Training Fund has expanded beyond programs and services that promote career advancement for healthcare workers, to also implement several healthcare apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, and certified nursing assistant programs. This ground-breaking enterprise leverages the healthcare industry’s greatest strengths – its people and institutions – to collectively keep pace with this rapidly changing, ever expanding and highly complex sector.

The ongoing national healthcare crisis has illuminated the need for: 

  • A qualified, committed, and skilled professional workforce: health needs have skyrocketed as a result of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, and our healthcare systems are struggling to meet this demand. As a result, people are waiting too long to access services. 
  • A diversified workforce: Many patients are unable to receive effective care from healthcare professionals who adequately understand their life experiences, speak their language, or have contextual knowledge of their unique social situations. 

The Training Fund’s programs are practical solutions that directly respond to this need. Since 2008, the Training Fund has worked to develop and address the workforce needs of participating employers and to support the career, knowledge, and skill aspirations of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members. Over recent years, this impact has extended to encompass workforce solutions through policy work, training projects, and education-system reform. 

Close to 17,000 Washington State healthcare workers are currently eligible for Training Fund education benefits. As a Labor/Management Taft-Hartley Trust which is funded by collectively-bargained employer contributions, the Training Fund is able to provide services and benefits at no cost to eligible members, including the following:

  • Funding for Professional Development activities
  • Career navigation services
  • Tuition Assistance to cover college and university enrollment costs
  • Educational support services such as tutoring, laptop and mobile hotspot lending, exam prep, academic skills workshops, language interpretation
  • Advanced Certification for Environmental Services Technicians
  • Hospital Employee Education and Training (HEET) programs in partnership with community colleges

The Training Fund’s accomplishments include:

  • Supporting more than 1,500 healthcare workers annually with Career Counseling services since 2018
  • more than $23.8 million awarded in federal, state, and private grants 
  • Six Washington State-registered Healthcare Apprenticeships (spanning medical/pharmacy & behavioral health pathways)
  • 106 pre-apprenticeship program participants since 2021
  • Career Connect Washington‘s Healthcare Sector Leader
  • 167 certified Nursing Assistants have completed our NA-C training program since 2021
  • 408 members have used Tuition Assistance to advance their careers and education in 2023 alone — 63% of them identify as BIPOC

The Training Fund also leads the Health Care Apprenticeship Consortium (HCAC), a partnership created to provide all healthcare employers within Washington State access to the benefits of skilled apprenticeship training for their workforce. The HCAC promotes accessibility to services, builds a pipeline of skilled and diverse candidates, and stabilizes the healthcare workforce through increased employee motivation and retention.

Apprenticeships combine flexible coursework requirements with supervised on-the-job training, and apprentices “earn while they learn.” The HCAC’s innovative programs include the following: 

  • Medical Assistant apprenticeship
  • Pharmacy Technician apprenticeship
  • Central Sterile Processing Technician apprenticeship
  • Behavioral Health apprenticeships: Behavioral Health Technician, Peer Counselor, and Substance Use Disorder Professional
  • Introduction to Healthcare Apprenticeship Program (IHAP)
  • Nursing Assistant-Certified (NAC) training program

“Behavioral health care requires a skilled and experienced workforce, and King County is committed to investing in a system that puts workers at the center to best meet the needs of providers, patients, and the region as a whole,” said Dow Constantine, King County Executive. “The Training Fund’s Behavioral Health apprenticeship program is so important, and King County is pleased to fund this collaborative approach that is advancing healthcare careers and building a workforce that will strengthen and enhance the behavioral health system overall. It is amazing to see the impacts of the last 15 years and to hear inspiring stories of these apprentices and their mentors.” 

“As we celebrate 15 years, the Training Fund is increasingly a go-to partner for healthcare workforce development and solutions across Washington and the region,” said Laura Hopkins, Executive Director, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Multi-Employer Training & Education Fund. “We are proud of our accomplishments and of the many productive cross-sector partnerships that have brought them to fruition.”

“It’s really important for everyone who works in healthcare to be able to have a career pathway. That’s what the Training Fund does for people. The Training Fund can change people’s lives,” said Jane Hopkins, President, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and Board of Trustees Co-Chair for the Training Fund. “The Training Fund meets the needs of all of our communities—including low-income and communities of color. We are proud of the Training Fund’s 15 years of creating career pathways that enable caregivers to reflect the populations they serve and provide equitable access to meaningful work.” 

“We need healthcare workers desperately. The Training Fund not only helps with recruitment, but also with retention of workers. As we mark 15 years, the breadth of programs and services available to Training Fund members and participants continues to impact the lives of thousands of healthcare workers and, by extension, the care that their patients receive,” said Renee Rasilyer-Bomers, Chief Nursing Officer for Providence-Swedish and Board of Trustees Chair for the Training Fund. “At Providence-Swedish, we’re proud to have worked with the Training Fund on several innovative programs, including the Advanced Certification for EVS Technicians and the Culinary Pathway Program.”

The multi-employer, labor-management partnership model allows the Training Fund to attract significant grant dollars to expand services for its members and the broader community. The Training Fund has received funding through multiple federal, state, and private grants, including more than $23.8 million in grant funding. We truly appreciate this important support from our funding partners. Special thanks to the following funders:

  • State of Washington Department of Labor & Industries
  • U.S. Department of Labor’s Healthcare Career Advancement Program Closing the Skills Gap Grant
  • King County American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Grant
  • Seattle Office of Economic Development
  • Ballmer Group

Learn more at HealthCareerFund.org.


SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Multi-Employer Training & Education Fund is a nonprofit, labor-management partnership between 16 hospital employers across seven healthcare systems and the largest healthcare union in Washington State.

The Training Fund supports innovative training, education, and career development for healthcare workers that maximizes their talents, proactively meets industry needs, and ensures high-quality patient care through a diverse and skilled healthcare workforce.