Looking Ahead: Letter from ED Laura Hopkins

Looking Ahead: Letter from ED Laura Hopkins

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope that you’re having a good start to the year. I’m very proud of what we’ve all accomplished together in 2022 and am looking ahead to serving even more healthcare workers in 2023. 

We are so excited that we were able to fund ALL members who applied for Tuition Assistance by the October 15, 2022, deadline! And we even had remaining funding to cover some members who applied after the deadline. In total, more than 600 eligible members were funded to go back to school in 2022 – this is in addition to those who are already enrolled and working hard to complete their programs. We hope even more members apply for Tuition Assistance this year to take advantage of this valuable life-changing opportunity to advance their careers.  

A warm welcome to our newest members from Providence St. Peter Hospital, Neighborcare Health, and St. Clare Hospital (Virginia Mason Franciscan Health), all of whom joined the Training Fund in 2022. This brings us to nearly 20 employers who partner with the Training Fund and SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and we now have 17,000 members! Watch our welcome video to learn more about the Training Fund. 

We are committed to diversity and equity in everything that we do to promote a healthcare workforce that looks like and represents our communities. 

Thank you for your hard work – we appreciate you and recognize that these are extremely challenging times. 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 

Member Spotlight: Alex’s Story

Member Spotlight: Alex’s Story

Alex Knox, a nursing assistant at MultiCare Deaconess, plans to be in school for a long time. Currently taking classes to become a licensed nurse, Alex dreams of going “all the way” to get his Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP). And the Training Fund is an integral part of his plan! 

Alex first heard about the Training Fund at his general orientation at MultiCare. Although he was already in school for nursing prerequisites, he wasn’t yet taking advantage of the Training Fund. All that changed after he met Joshua Porter, then an Education Navigator and currently the Training Fund’s Director of Labor Management Programs. Joshua helped him prepare for the TEAS nursing school entry exam. “I learned more about the Training Fund and the benefits of having this extra money to help through school,” says Alex. “I didn’t want taking out loans to be my only option.” 

Beyond Tuition Assistance, the Training Fund also provided Knox with resources to prepare for his nursing exam: “I was able to prepare for the TEAS, I was given prep materials for the TEAS, I even think I had the TEAS paid for—all reimbursed after passing. Without it, I would’ve been more strapped for cash, so it was great to have that extra help.” The Training Fund, Knox affirms, “helped get me the resources that allowed me to study effectively and that I wouldn’t be able to pay for on my own.” (Learn more about how the Training Fund can support your TEAS preparation here.)

The Training Fund reimburses LPN members up to $300 for specialty certifications and membership in some professional organizations. And Alex has also benefited from the Professional Development opportunities provided by the Training Fund. “I’ve actually also taken advantage of educational benefits,” he says. “I was able to do a training and take a board certification, and I got reimbursed from the Training Fund for that certification .”  

Knox credits Joshua Porter and Diane Sosne, outgoing SEIU1199 NW Healthcare president, as inspirations on his healthcare journey. Knox says, “Joshua supported me and was always there cheering me on, making sure I was connected to resources.” He credits Sosne with being a “beacon.” “I already knew I wanted to be a nurse,” he says, “but she helped ignite a passion.” 

With plans to continue on the path toward a DNP and work in public health, Knox hopes to continue working for a union employer so that he can continue to access the Training Fund’s benefits and services. He also encourages others to take advantage of this unique resource: “There are lots of people who are looking for advancement and who want to climb the ladder. But it’s so difficult working our job and it’s hard to be connected to the resources. It’s so helpful that there’s really one place that you can go to, like the Training Fund, for your continuing education and career needs.” 

 

 

First Cohort Completes ACET Program!

First Cohort Completes ACET Program!

The first ACET cohort poses for a photo, alongside Training Fund staff and ACET program leaders.

The first six participants of the ACET program alongside Training Fund staff and ACET program leaders.

On Thursday, December 1, the first six participants in the Training Fund’s new Advanced Certification for EVS Technicians (ACET) program passed their final exams!

ACET is a healthcare industry-informed 24-hour EVS professional training program that combines interactive online learning and examination with onsite training and assessment. The program supports EVS Techs in learning new skills and possibly earning a raise.

ACET is one of the many labor-management initiatives that the Training Fund has collaborated on to build a stronger, more committed healthcare workforce. Joshua Porter, Director of Labor Management Programs, had this to say about the first ACET cohort:

Building healthier communities benefits us all! Quality healthcare relies upon highly-skilled environmental service professionals, keeping our health system staff and patients safe as they deliver and receive critical care. The Training Fund is honored to announce 100% of our inaugural Advanced Certification for EVS Technicians course participants passed their final exams, earning their new ACET certifications. Join us in celebrating these incredible professionals, who strengthen our healthcare community!

As successful participants of the program, these ACET-certified EVS Techs demonstrated competence in the following areas:

      • Promoting a culture of safety
      • Infection prevention
      • Tools & equipment
      • Waste handling
      • Green training
      • Team & patient engagement

Learn more about the ACET program by watching the video below, and visit the ACET program page to learn more.

Apprenticeship Spotlight: Malissa and Jordan

Apprenticeship Spotlight: Malissa and Jordan

A picture of SEIU Healthcare 1199 leaders and Behavioral Health Apprenticeship program members

L to R: SUDP Apprentice Malissa Kautz, Training Fund Executive Director Laura Hopkins, SUDP Mentor Jordan Brooks, Sea Mar Senior Vice President Claudia D’Allegri.

 

Ask anyone working in behavioral health, like licensed Substance Use Disorder Professional counselor Jordan Brooks, and they’ll tell you the same thing: behavioral health workers are needed now more than ever across Washington state. “These programs that create more behavioral health professionals are going to save lives,” Brooks says. 

The Health Care Apprenticeship Consortium (HCAC) is one such program, rising to the challenge of creating more licensed professionals and building pathways into the workforce. 

HCAC offers apprenticeship opportunities in three in-demand behavioral health career pathways: Peer Counseling, Behavioral Health Technician, and Substance Use Disorder Professional. Apprentices earn a wage while learning on-the-job and completing college coursework. 

Apprentices Earn While They Learn 

Apprentices join the program for many reasons. For Malissa Kautz, an SUDP apprentice in the Fall 2022 cohort, experiences in high school inspired her to “become a counselor to help others navigate challenging issues.” 

But after receiving her Bachelors of Arts with an emphasis in Psychology from the University of Washington, she found that she couldn’t get the sort of counseling job she wanted without a Master’s degree.  

That’s where the SUDP apprenticeship program came in, where apprentices get certified by completing paid on-the-job training and technical instruction in one or two years. Kautz learned about the program hosted at Sea Mar Tacoma Adult Inpatient Treatment Center. Hearing about the program and what the counselors were doing, she says, “ignited my curiosity.” 

Kautz has found the apprenticeship program, where apprentices complete college coursework and work in their future field while earning a full-time wage, better fits her schedule and needs. “I don’t have to worry about missing school to go to work,” Kautz says. “I’m still doing my regular job at the same time. It was an easy transition into going to school as well with this program.” 

The program allows Kautz to bring her experiences on-the-job into the classroom, and vice versa. With a small class size, she can get lots of individualized attention from her professor. “I get prompt feedback from professor as issues come up.” 

Kautz has enjoyed her experience in the apprenticeship program. “I’m grateful for this opportunity and all who are involved with the apprenticeship program,” she says. “Without this program, I wouldn’t be able to follow my ideal career path.” 

Extracurricular Support 

Apprentices receive support beyond the classroom, as well. The apprenticeship program recruits and trains mentors who are experienced professionals in their respective careers. Jordan Brooks, Program Manager at Sea Mar Turning Point in Seattle and licensed SUDP counselor, is one such mentor. 

Brooks has a Master’s degree in Addiction Counseling and joined the Sea Mar team in 2021. He is familiar with the challenges to building pathways into the behavioral health workforce. It took him two years to fulfill the state’s strict SUDP requirements. 

Brooks heralds the SUDP apprenticeship program’s effectiveness and innovative approach: “This program is more streamlined and cleared by the Department of Health, and it helps people finish it quicker and more efficiently. Also, since they are getting paid while they go to school, there is an incentive to complete the program.” 

The HCAC behavioral health apprenticeship program coordinates with mentors, apprentices, and employers to meet growing community needs around behavioral health services. With mentors, instructors, and support from HCAC, apprentices are fully equipped to meet state requirements and excel in in-demand healthcare careers. And for employers, pathways such as the HCAC apprenticeship program offers a tremendous return on investment, as it generates greater employee loyalty and higher productivity.

For more information, visit healthcareapprenticeship.org or contact Mark Beaufait, Director of Education Programs. And be sure to check out this KOMO story on the SUDP program at Sea Mar.

Member Spotlight: Galina’s Story

Member Spotlight: Galina’s Story

Our Members Say it Best! Galina's Success Story. A picture of Training Fund member Galina is included.

From a young age, Galina Barko felt called to help those in need. “My entire life I liked to help people. And especially my family in Ukraine. When my grandma got a stroke, and when my father got sick, I always liked to help out.” For her, the healthcare field is the perfect fit.

Galina is currently an Anesthesiology Tech at Spokane’s MultiCare Valley Hospital, one of the Training Fund’s partner sites. As an Anesthesiology Tech, Galina provides vital and lifesaving care for patients undergoing anesthesia in the Operating Room (OR).

From Housekeeper to Anesthesia Tech

Galina began her healthcare journey at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital as a housekeeper for seven years, first as a general housekeeper and more recently as an OR housekeeper. Support from the Training Fund has enabled Galina to advance her career in healthcare.

While she “really liked” what she was doing in the OR, Galina’s life goal was to become an Anesthesia Tech – an ambition that meant going back to school to get her CNA license. That’s where she first encountered the Training Fund.

“I asked a couple co-workers about how I could get my CNA as fast as I could. And one coworker gave me Joshua Porter’s number, and I connected with [him].” Porter, who is now Director of Labor Management Programs, was a Regional Educational Navigator (REN) with the Training Fund at that time. RENs are Training Fund staff who work one-on-one with members to connect them with resources to support their career goals.

Working with the Training Fund

Together, Joshua and Galina mapped out a career path that helped Galina utilize Training Fund services to build the necessary skills and proficiencies. “He helped me a lot,” Galina said. “He explained [to] me and gave me suggestions on…how to apply [for a CNA program], how the Training Fund can help.”

When Galina needed help improving her English, Joshua found a tutor who could continue working with her to help her succeed. Galina, whose first languages are Ukrainian and Russian, remembered that “after I completed my [CNA] course, he also brought me an idea to have a tutor, and I can work with a tutor, and the tutor can help me improve my English and give me more success. And that’s when I started to work with [Training Fund tutor] Tula Holmes. And we’ve been working together, and she has helped me out…She’s my motivator!”

What’s Next?

With Tula’s support, Galina has now set her sights even higher: a nursing degree. She has enrolled at Spokane Community College to begin preparing for the SCC Nursing Program. Asked how she was feeling, Galina replied, “Excited!…I like to be in school. Some people don’t like it, but I really like it.”

Galina values the confidence and encouragement that she received from her REN and the Training Fund: “I remember Joshua said, ‘Oh, Galina, you will be okay. You will be a good nurse. Don’t think you don’t have enough English to go to college.’ I really needed that because sometimes a new language is tough.”

Galina now advocates for the Training Fund’s programs and services among her coworkers, touting the Fund’s positive impact on her career and professional goals. Particularly after working with her tutor, Galina told everyone she knew, “You can have [a tutor] also… I told a bunch of my friends who need extra help and a free tutor!”

Galina is one of thousands of healthcare workers across Washington state who have benefitted from the Training Fund’s programs, support services, and resources, including: specialty certifications, healthcare apprenticeships, Tuition Assistance, English language support, individualized career counseling and more. The Training Fund is committed to helping its members reach their educational and career goals.

Welcome to the Training Fund, St. Peter members!

Welcome to the Training Fund, St. Peter members!

Training Fund banner that reads, "Welcome St. Peter members!"

Welcome to our new members from Providence St. Peter Hospital! You will be eligible for our programs and services beginning November 1, 2022.

We offer education and career advancement programs so that you can develop your skills, advance your career, and improve your professional opportunities. After November 1, please fill out our online member application to access available academic and career navigation services.

Watch our welcome video to learn more about the Training Fund!

These programs and services are available to you after you have been employed by St. Peter for three months:

A postcard displaying November 1 start date for St. Peter members' access to Training Fund. Partner Liaison Elena is introduced.

  Tuition Assistance

Once you have worked at St. Peter for one year, you may also qualify for Tuition Assistance, which covers tuition, fees, and book costs for a wide variety of healthcare education programs at regional colleges and universities. But even if you have not yet worked at St. Peter for one year, please contact us to explore academic support and resources, career planning, and how we can help you reach your goals.

Your Tuition Assistance application deadline is December 15, 2022 if you plan to attend school beginning April 2023 or later. We encourage members to contact us early to work with a Training Fund Navigator on your education plan.

Click here to learn more about Tuition Assistance. To begin the Tuition Assistance process, submit a Member Application form at the link below.

If you are currently in school and have already been receiving Tuition Reimbursement from your previous Education Fund, you may be able to add Tuition Assistance from the Training Fund. Please complete a Member Application form and connect with us to learn more about next steps.

Learn About Your Benefits!

Please contact the Training Fund’s Partner Liaison for St. Peter, Elena Bernardi, to learn more about our programs and services.

We look forward to serving you as you pursue your education and career goals.

If you have questions or need help applying, please don’t hesitate to call the Training Fund office (425-255-0315) or email us.

“The training fund is here! For more than a decade we’ve been pushing Providence to join and with this great win we now have access to the great wrap around services our health career fund has to offer.  This good news means workers who might be struggling financially wont be stopped by the cost of educational and career advancement. This helps recruitment and retention and establishes an internal pathway to help fill positions.  This has been a long time coming and is a real game changer for folks here at St. Pete’s.”

Desmond Ellis

Grant to fund regional health care career opportunities

Grant to fund regional health care career opportunities

two women healthcare professionals

Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2022

CONTACT:
Linnae Riesen (Kaiser Permanente) |  | 206-316-0224

Mary Grace Antony (Training Fund) | | 425-919-7365

Grant to fund regional health care career opportunities

SEATTLE, WA — Kaiser Permanente Washington has announced more than $750,000 in funding for the Service Employees International Union Healthcare 1199NW Multi-Employer Training and Education Fund. The Training Fund also works with employers, unions, and government agencies as the Health Care Apprenticeship Consortium to support health care career pathway programs. These programs match the diversity of our Washington communities and bring underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals into health care occupations. This work helps to alleviate ongoing staffing shortages in hospitals and health care facilities.

Funding from Kaiser Permanente will expand and enhance 2 regional career pathways to prepare people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds and other underserved communities for careers in health care. The effort is in partnership with the Seattle Jobs Initiative. The programs will create access to entry-level occupations with support to advance a career pathway of the participant’s choosing, while also promoting equity, advancement, and livable wages.

“We continue to see ongoing demand for health care workers across the state to address increasing care needs,” said Jocelynne McAdory, vice president of human resources and community health at Kaiser Permanente Washington. “Health care jobs are critically important for the health of our community, and these career-connected pathways and learning experiences will help expand diversity and the skilled pool of health care talent in Washington.”

The grant from Kaiser Permanente includes funds for the Training Fund to embed financial literacy and coaching into their program support offerings. This is intended to facilitate upward mobility and financial security for participants.

Within 3 years, the provided funding will support 5 health care worker cohorts that will move through Introduction to Healthcare Employment and Apprenticeship Programs. These are health care exploration and apprenticeship preparatory programs that provide certified nursing assistant certification, health care basic skills, and professional development experiences, in alignment with career pathways like apprenticeships.

The funding will also support 13 additional cohorts through the Advanced Certification for Environmental Services Technicians certificate program. This program enables individuals currently working in lower wage and entry-level health care roles opportunities to develop their skills, promotes quality patient care, and establishes a path to career advancement and possible wage gains.

“We are very excited and grateful for Kaiser Permanente’s partnership in helping to diversify and support community members entering into health care,” said Laura Hopkins, executive director at the Training Fund. “Their support will make a big difference in the health care sector.”

The Training Fund, based in Renton, is a labor-management partnership that supports innovative training, education, and career development for health care workers and health care employers, including at Kaiser Permanente. The Training Fund maximizes employee talents, proactively meets industry needs, and ensures high-quality patient care through a diverse and skilled health care workforce. The Health Care Apprenticeship Consortium is a partnership created to provide all health care employers within Washington state access to the benefits of skilled apprenticeship training for their workforce.

In addition to Kaiser Permanente, the Training Fund also serves health care employers and health care employees at UW Medicine, MultiCare, Swedish Medical Center, and Virginia Mason Franciscan Health facilities, among others.

About SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Multi-Employer Training and Education Fund

The SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Multi-Employer Training and Education Fund (Training Fund) is a non-profit 501(c)3 labor-management partnership founded in 2009. We are dedicated to 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. The Health Care Apprenticeship Consortium (HCAC) is a multi-union and multi-employer Washington State-registered Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, and is administered and sponsored by the Training Fund with a wide range of partners, open to all Washington healthcare employers.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.6 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.

Welcome to the Training Fund, Neighborcare!

Welcome to the Training Fund, Neighborcare!

Welcome to our new members from Neighborcare Health!  You will be eligible for our programs and services beginning September 1, 2022.

We offer education and career advancement programs so that you can develop your skills, advance your career, and improve your professional opportunities. After September 1, please fill out our online member application to access available academic and career navigation services.

Watch our welcome video to learn more about the Training Fund!

These programs and services are available to you after you have been employed by Neighborcare for three months:

Tuition Assistance

Once you have worked at Neighborcare for one year, you may also qualify for Tuition Assistance, which covers tuition, fees, and book costs for a wide variety of healthcare education programs at regional colleges and universities. But even if you have not yet worked at Neighborcare for one year, please contact us to explore academic support and resources, career planning, and how we can help you reach your goals.

  • Tuition Assistance application window: September 1 – October 15 (to cover school beginning January 2023 or later)
  • We accept applications year-round and award Tuition Assistance after October 15. We encourage members to contact us early to work with a Training Fund Navigator on your education plan.
  • If you are currently in school and have already been receiving Tuition Reimbursement from your previous Education Fund, you may be able to add Tuition Assistance from the Training Fund. Please contact us to discuss this.

Learn About Your Benefits!

Please contact the Training Fund’s Partner Liaison for Neighborcare, Elena Bernardi, to learn more about our programs and services:

Already enrolled in a tuition-assistance program and need to get transferred to the Training Fund? Please complete a Member Application form and connect with us to learn more about next steps.

For a while, I was a single mom, I was in an abusive relationship and I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life and I was unsure about the future. After I left the situation I was in, I was totally lost; I had no education and no hope, I was utterly terrified in the world with three small children to support.

I met my now husband when I was 31. He helped put me through MA school so that if anything were to ever happen to him, I would have a future for myself and my children. As we have built a life together, I have realized that an education was always going be put on the back burner due to having kids, and having responsibilities outside of work; I became comfortable in my position as an MA. I never thought that being an RN would be feasible or within my grasp because of not being able to pay for it, or finding the time for school, or even having the emotional capability of doing so. So when we fought for our Training Fund, I did not think that it would benefit me because I had so many other things on my plate. Because we have a strong union at Neighborcare we were able to win the Training Fund for our medical assistants in our new contract. This is life changing for me–I now see that an education is within my grasp.

I now have the opportunity to further my career, to build more stability, but most of all, to show my children that it’s never too late to become what you want, to aspire to be more.  From my personal experience, I’m not only lifting myself up, but I am also showing my daughters that generational poverty doesn’t have to be a cultural norm and that financial stability and self-worth are achievable. I am showing all of my children that it’s never too late to dream.

Kristin Ortega

MA, High Point Clinic

We look forward to serving you as you pursue your education and career goals.

If you have questions or need help applying, please don’t hesitate to call the Training Fund office (425-255-0315) or email us.

Tuition Assistance deadline is October 15!

Tuition Assistance deadline is October 15!

The Training Fund is proud to offer our members the opportunity to apply for Tuition Assistance (TA), which can cover school-related costs like tuition, books, and other fees for approved programs at accredited and approved schools.

The deadline for applying for Tuition Assistance for courses beginning January 2023 or later is October 15, 2022.

We encourage you to apply early to receive expert guidance and support from our trained Navigators!

You do not have to be admitted into a program or know exactly what you want to do before applying for Tuition Assistance. Our Navigators will work with you to make a plan no matter where you are in your academic or career journey.   

For Service bargaining unit members, the current maximum amount for TA has been set at $3,500.
For RN and Professional/Technical bargaining unit members, the current maximum has been set at $5,250.
The TA benefit is based on your FTE. 

Tuition Assistance Snapshot: In 2021, 1,061 members used Tuition Assistance to support their education goals. Maximum TA amounts are: $3,500 for Service Bargaining Unit members, and $5,250 for Pro/Tech and RN Bargaining Unit members.
To apply for Tuition Assistance: 
  1. Complete a Training Fund member application to get connected with an Intake Coordinator and Resource Specialist, who will assign you an Education Navigator
  2. Work with your Navigator on an education plan and resources while Tuition Assistance spots are allocated
  3. Register for classes and submit your request for funding if you qualify for Tuition Assistance
  4. Explore other benefits such as career counseling and tutoring with your Navigator

“My Training Fund Navigator was really great at counseling me. He walked me through the whole process….applying to the Training Fund, qualifying for Tuition Assistance, and then sending me resources for scholarships to keep my costs as minimal as possible. When I was unsure about things, he would reach out on my behalf to help me navigate. He definitely went above and beyond!” 

Paisha Andersen

Nursing Assistant , MultiCare Deaconess

New behavioral health apprenticeship program meets urgent need for vital services

New behavioral health apprenticeship program meets urgent need for vital services

Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2022

CONTACT:
Mary Grace Antony, Director of Communications & Community Relations
Health Care Apprenticeship Consortium
 | 425-919-7365

NEW BEHAVIORAL HEALTH APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM MEETS URGENT NEED FOR VITAL SERVICES

(Seattle, WA): This fall, the Health Care Apprenticeship Consortium (HCAC) is launching a new Behavioral Health Apprenticeship program to meet the urgent statewide need for vital behavioral healthcare services.

According to data from Mental Health America’s 2021 report, more than 22% of adults in Washington state reported having some kind of mental illness, and a quarter of them reported not being able to access behavioral health care.

The statewide and national behavioral healthcare crisis has accentuated the need for:

  • An adequate, qualified, committed, and skilled professional workforce: Behavioral 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 diverse workforce: Many people don’t receive effective care from healthcare professionals who do not share or understand their life experiences, speak their language, or have contextual knowledge of their unique lived experiences.

The Behavioral Healthcare Apprenticeship program is a practical solution directly responding to these needs. This Washington state-registered apprenticeship program is building a pathway to increase the number of trained, skilled, and diverse professionals who will grow and stabilize the behavioral health workforce.

This innovative apprenticeship program combines flexible educational coursework requirements with supervised on-the-job training and provides financial incentives to employers that agree to early participation. It currently offers three career pathways:

  • Behavioral Health Technician: One-year program
  • Peer Counselor: One-year program
  • Substance Use Disorder Professional: Two-year program

“The need for behavioral health services has never been greater, but there is a severe shortage of qualified behavioral health professionals to meet that need,” says Dow Constantine, King County Executive. “These apprentices are the first cohort in a program to increase wages and train and retain new workers to care for our community. This innovative program will transform our community by expanding opportunities, particularly in communities of color. I’m grateful that King County was able to provide funding for this important project and pleased to partner with so many governments and organizations to make it possible.”

“The behavioral healthcare sector has an urgent need for more staff and this apprenticeship program is the workforce solution,” says Laura Hopkins, Executive Director, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Multi-Employer Training & Education Fund, which sponsors the HCAC. “Apprenticeships are an accessible pathway into healthcare because apprentices earn while they learn. And employers get a huge return on their investment, starting immediately and growing over time. We’re thrilled to work with our partners on this exciting program.”

“Recruiting is a constant challenge for community safety net agencies like Comprehensive Life Resources,” says Kim Zacher, CEO of Comprehensive Life Resources. “Behavioral Health apprenticeships would give us one more tool to build a behavioral health workforce that has been taken for granted and overlooked for too long. There are so many reasons that traditional college education, required for many behavioral health roles, may not be feasible for someone. A paid apprenticeship that combines on-the-job learning with relevant coursework opens the door for a more diverse group of people to enter the behavioral health field. We see a lot of opportunity within our own workforce and within our client base to take advantage of this program.”

“MERIT Resource Services is grateful for the opportunity to build our substance use disorder treatment workforce. We need licensed substance use disorder professionals and certified peer counselors to expand our great work with individuals and families experiencing alcohol and other drug problems. Providing individuals in substance use disorder treatment the recovery capital needed to gain remission and improve their quality of life is rewarding work,” says Shereen Hunt, Executive Director of MERIT Resource Services.

“The COVID pandemic has exposed the tremendous need for behavioral health services for our communities,” says Diane Sosne, former President, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. “The educational approach of this apprenticeship program meets the needs of all of our communities—including low income and communities of color. The ‘earn while you learn’ model provides a unique career pathway that enables caregivers to reflect the populations they serve and provide equitable access to meaningful work. We are proud to help launch our state’s innovative Behavioral Health Apprenticeship program.”

“Even before the pandemic, it was very clear that the workforce availability was declining. Then you add the pandemic and it becomes apparent that grassroot efforts are needed now more than even. This model allows members of BIPOC communities the opportunity to enter this industry, which is sometimes perceived as  unattainable and/or unaffordable. This program will open so many doors. It will allow us to better serve our communities,” says Charlotte Jones, VP and Chief People & Diversity Inclusion Officer, Sound Health.

“The lack of an adequate behavioral health workforce comes with significant consequences. It means people seeking behavioral health services cannot access the care they need when they need it,” says Melody McKee, Program Director for the Behavioral Health Training, Workforce and Policy Innovation Center at Harborview Medical Center – Behavioral Health Institute. “We can, and must, drive innovation that broadens the pathways into the behavioral health field. The apprenticeship program does that, and the ‘earn while you learn’ foundation of apprenticeships fosters equitable access into a profession that desperately needs more workers.”

Special thanks to the Ballmer Group and King County for their innovative and visionary support of this program, and to the UW Medicine – Harborview Behavioral Health Institute for their partnership on this project. The HCAC would also like to thank the following additional funders:

  • City of Seattle Office of Economic Development
  • King County
  • State of Washington Department of Labor & Industries
  • S. Department of Labor’s Healthcare Career Advancement Program Closing the Skills Gap Grant

This project is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP0152, awarded to King County, Washington by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Learn more at HealthCareApprenticeship.org/bh-apprenticeships.

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The Health Care Apprenticeship Consortium is a multi-union and multi-employer Washington State-registered Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee. We are open to all healthcare employers in Washington.

The Health Care Apprenticeship Consortium is sponsored by SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Multi-Employer Training and Education Fund. The Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee membership includes partners from healthcare employers, labor unions, and Washington State.

Our vision is to build a state-wide healthcare educational pathway through multiple apprenticeship opportunities, that is used by healthcare employers across the state and promotes accessibility, retention, and stability within the healthcare workforce.

HealthCareApprenticeship.org