Letter from our Executive Director Spring 2024

As we settle into 2024, I’m thrilled to share the highlights of another amazing year for the Training Fund. Several of our programs and partnerships have grown in exciting ways, and I can’t wait to share these with you. 

15-year anniversary: In October 2023, the Training Fund celebrated 15 years of healthcare partnerships, program accomplishments, and labor-management solutions that are transforming workforce needs across the state and beyond! 

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Mission, Purpose, and Racial Justice & Equity Statement: In 2023, we also revamped our Mission and Purpose statements and – in an intentional move – we unveiled our brand-new Racial Justice & Equity Statement. We are proud to take a stand in enabling equity and opportunity for healthcare workers!

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Tuition Assistance: For yet another year, we were able to fund ALL members who applied for Tuition Assistance in 2023! And better yet, we were able to continue serving more members with remaining funding as they applied. Furthermore, we launched a pilot program to extend additional scholarship funding to RN members who had exhausted available funding. This popular benefit remains in demand and has helped many transform many lives and healthcare careers.  

New Members: We extend a warm welcome to our newest members from Providence Hospice & Home Care of Snohomish County, the SWEA/OT/and PT workers at Kaiser Permanente, and the chaplains at Swedish Medical Center – all of whom have recently joined the Training Fund. This brings us to a total of nearly 18,500 members across 8 major employer systems and SEIU Healthcare 1199NW!

A bold vision for Behavioral Health:  I have saved my most thrilling announcement for last. Two years ago, we launched three Behavioral Health Apprenticeships to meet the dire workforce need in a post-pandemic society. Today, not only are these programs thriving – we also have robust pre-apprenticeships – like IHAP and the NA-C entry-level pathway programs – that are providing innovative solutions while also making strides in diversifying the healthcare workforce. Our expanding partnerships with TECH Skills Centers, corporations, and rural healthcare centers are opening doors to previously unexplored terrain. And this is all part of a much broader vision: where our workforce community applies an integrated and holistic approach to address both physical and behavioral health; everyone in Washington state has access to basic behavioral health knowledge, and fellow citizens are equipped with the basic tools to manage and deal with everyday crises. I believe we can get there, and recent grants that support multiple apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship cohorts give me more faith that this dream can come true. To this end, we have hired a Director of Behavioral Health Strategy and a Director of Nursing and Allied Health Strategy to guide this vision. Together with our growing staff – now almost 80 employees – we are charting a path that leverages Labor/Management collaboration, maximizes urban/rural partnerships, and ceaselessly strives toward a future in which healthcare workers truly represent the communities that they serve.

Your hard work and trust continue to inspire us. We appreciate all that you do to provide quality healthcare to Washington communities. Together with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and our employer partners, we are honored to support you and help you achieve your career and education goals.  

– Laura Hopkins, Executive Director, the Training Fund