IHAP Spotlight: Steve Nicholson

IHAP Spotlight: Steve Nicholson

Introduction to Healthcare employment and Apprenticeship Program (IHAP)

Steve’s Success Story

After completing the Introduction to Healthcare employment and Apprenticeship Program (IHAP) program and Nursing Assistant-Certified (NA-C) training in about three months, Steve Nicholson is now an NA-C/Patient Safety Assistant at Providence Swedish.  

Steve’s personal experience and his own healthcare challenges played a defining role in his decision to pursue a career in healthcare. He learned about and enrolled in our IHAP program after searching for an entry-point into the healthcare field. 

“The compassionate nurses and staff who cared for me during those difficult times left an indelible mark. Their unwavering support, empathy, and dedication motivated me to pursue a career in healthcare. Now, I strive to make a difference for others, just as they did for me,” he shares.  

IHAP students learn medical terminology and prepare for a career in healthcare. The program also teaches life skills like time management, interview skills, cultural awareness, and more. Acknowledging the difficulties of pursuing a new career path, Steve says, “balancing academic commitments and career exploration can be challenging. However, I was able to successfully prioritize tasks and learn better time management skills.”  

The Training Fund is committed to creating viable entry-level pathway programs into the healthcare sector for people like Steve. But more importantly, we also focus on providing them with the wraparound support to overcome barriers and achieve their goals.  Steve’s example illustrates this:

“The Training fund provided support in all facets of my journey. It is as if they anticipated all my needs and challenges that I may encounter. This included financial support, studying and exam preparation, career options and mentorship.”

The mix of classroom and hands-on experience is also very useful for these entry-level students. “The team helps you transition from structured classroom learning to unstructured clinical environments. They guide you through the nuances of medicine and provide insights into patient-provider relationships,“ says Steve. 

He specifically credits Benjamin (at our IHAP partner Seattle Jobs Initiative) for his help during Phase 1 of IHAP, and his NA-C instructor Tabitha for her support preparing students for the state exam and clinicals. Our team is your community, and we are behind you every step of the way.  

Steve is now planning to pursue a career as a Medical Assistant and eventually a CT Technologist.  This is just the beginning, and he is already inspiring and encouraging family members and others to follow his steps through the IHAP program and dream big.  

“I’ve already started championing the program’s benefits among my colleagues and family. To those seeking a transformative and positive shift in their lives—and the lives of others—I wholeheartedly recommend enrolling in this program. Don’t hesitate; take the leap and experience the profound, life-changing benefits firsthand!” 

Welcome to the Training Fund, Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County

Welcome to the Training Fund, Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County

Banner image: White text on a dark blue background across the top reads, "Welcome, Providence Hospice and Home Care members!" Training Fund logo on an orange background on the bottom. Three circular images of hospital workers centered on the right side.

Welcome to our new members from Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County (PHHCSC)! You are now eligible for Training Fund programs and services.

We offer education and career advancement programs so that you can develop your skills, advance your career, and improve your professional opportunities. 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!

Virtual Info Sessions

Attend a virtual info session to learn more about the Training Fund and benefits and services available to you!

REGISTER: Wednesday, July 17th, 7:00 am – 8:00 am

REGISTER: Tuesday, July 23rd, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

REGISTER: Saturday, July 27th, 9:00am – 10:00 am

Benefits after 90 days employment

These programs and services are available to you after you have been employed by PHHCSC for 90 days:

Photo of a white woman with short dark curly hair wearing a gray t-shirt and holding a little black and brown dog.

Sarah Taylor

RN, Providence Hospice and Home Care

Sarah talks about her experience with a HEET program coordinated by the Training Fund and how the program and benefits impacted her life.

I am Sarah Taylor. I have been a nurse 36 years. I have been at Providence Hospice 13 of those years. I graduated with my RN in 2010. I was an LPN for 25 years. I finally had decided to pursue getting my RN. I found so many obstacles trying to get into a program for a returning LPN. I had given up, that is where SEIU and Valley General Hospital in Monroe collaborated together on a HEET grant program. I would not have gotten my RN without this fund. I am always so grateful for this. This fund helped me with books, tuition, tutors and even scrubs for clinicals. I can not begin thank this program enough on it has changed and impacted my life.

  Tuition Assistance

Once you have worked at Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County 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 PHHCSC for one year, please contact us to explore academic support and resources, career planning, and how we can help you reach your goals.

Your primary Tuition Assistance application deadline is July 31st, 2024 if you plan to attend school Fall quarter 2024. We encourage members to contact us early to work with a Training Fund Navigator on your education plan. Our annual Tuition Assistance deadline is October 15th for the 2024-2025 academic year.

Preapproval is required for funding. In addition to reimbursement for tuition costs, we provide Tuition Assistance vouchers so you do not have to pay up front!

Click here to learn more about Tuition Assistance.

Submit your Member Application form today to connect with a Regional Education Navigator & get started. We’re here to help you achieve your education & career goals!

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.

Apprentice Spotlight: Arizona Kerker

Apprentice Spotlight: Arizona Kerker

Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship

Arizona’s Success Story

Arizona Kerker is a recent high school graduate – and is already on her way to becoming a Pharmacy Technician with college credit! And that’s not all, she is the first apprentice of the Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship class.  

The Training Fund’s HealthCare Apprenticeship Consortium (HCAC) is partnering with Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center to run the first ever high school apprenticeship program in Washington. This innovative earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship program allows participants to earn college credit through our program partnership with North Seattle College’s Pharmacy Technician program. Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center is a public school in Everett, Washington, that offers technical training for junior and senior high school students in Snohomish and South Island Counties 

Photo of Lukuman Nagwere, an African American man wearing a dark gray shirt and suit jacket smiling.

“This apprenticeship program has impacted my life by creating the opportunity for me to apply my love for healthcare and helping others into the real world,” says Arizona. The Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship provides students with classroom instruction and skills learning in collaboration with Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center, followed by on-the-job training to enter the healthcare workforce as a Pharmacy Technician. In addition to classroom learning, instructors provide valuable support and conduct site visits to check on apprentice progress through the program. Arizona is currently working at a pharmacy in Arlington, where she completes everyday duties under the watchful and supportive eye of her program mentor. 

Arizona’s motivation for working in healthcare started after taking a CPR class in 6th grade. She is thankful her former health teachers fueled her curiosity. “My Medical Assisting instructor, Jan Le, helped me realize there were many different paths in healthcare and encouraged me to explore my options,” she says.  “I want to have a deep understanding of the human body in order to better help my community and family members. It’s important to me to know how to help in stressful situations regarding health”. When she learned about the Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship, Arizona knew it would help her reach her goals. 

The Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship is a great pathway for young adults to enter the healthcare workforce. Arizona pursued the apprenticeship because the on-the-job training provides her with a well-paying job, while also providing experience in healthcare. “My long-term goals are to be a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). I figured learning about medications and being in healthcare at a young age would help me decide if being a CRNA would be a good fit”. She has big dreams, and this is just the beginning! 

This program is specifically set up to help high school students balance school, their first job, and other commitments. Appreciating this fact, Arizona adds, “The Training Fund’s HCAC is supporting me by helping me track my hours I have worked, providing me with financial resources if needed, and support if I find myself struggling at my apprenticeship”. Access to resources and a support system can determine whether apprentices meet their goals and succeed – this is why the Training Fund prioritizes the structures and processes that promote success and program completion.  

We are proud of you, Arizona, and can’t wait to see what you do next! 


Learn more about our Medical Assistant and Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship programs. 

Training Fund grows healthcare opportunities with grants

Training Fund grows healthcare opportunities with grants

The Training Fund recently received multiple grants to grow healthcare workforce development initiatives, promote entry-level healthcare pathway and behavioral health programs, and support trust members.

This includes approximately $2 million from The Washington Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board, and two separate grants totaling $6 million from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

Funding from The Washington Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board and L&I will enable the Training Fund to:

  • Increase and diversify workers entering the healthcare workforce
  • Expand access to Behavioral Health education and training
  • Make a positive impact on workplace needs

The Workforce Board will also support expanding tuition award funding for Training Fund members who fall within the Service Bargaining Unit.

Funding from L&I is based on two contracts with L&I involving pathways to our Introduction to Healthcare Employment and Apprenticeship Programs (IHAP) program. The first provides $4.9 million to continue growth of behavioral health programs. The second, $990,000, will address workforce shortages through pre-apprenticeship and entry-level training.

These grants will play an integral role in growing and diversifying the healthcare workforce, by supporting IHAP and Nursing Assistant-Certified Training Program cohorts as well as Medical Assistant Apprenticeship, Pharmacy Technician, Behavioral Health Technician, and Substance Use Disorder Professional Disorder Apprenticeship cohorts.

The Training Fund has a record of higher-than-average completion rates for our education programs and apprenticeships because we are able to offer supports, benefits, and services. Many of these opportunities are made possible through grant funding just like this, which allows us to meet people where they are at, while promoting equity in all our endeavors.

We are grateful to the Workforce Board and L&I for supporting the Training Fund’s programs and mission through these grants.

Service Members get Tuition Assistance Increase

Service Members get Tuition Assistance Increase

Service Members get increase in Tuition Assistance up to $5,250!

Beginning April 01, 2024, the Training Fund is offering eligible Service members an increase up to $5,250 for Tuition Assistance. This increases the previous annual maximum cap for Service bargaining unit members from $3,500 up to a total of $5,250.

This limited-time opportunity is made possible through grant funding. It is available to eligible members on a first-come-first-served basis until available funds are exhausted.

As with current tuition assistance, available funding is based on your FTE:

  • If your FTE is .75 and above you are eligible to receive up to $5,250 (100%).
  • If your FTE is .5 – .74 you are eligible to receive up to $3,937.50 (75%).
  • If your FTE is .49 and below you are eligible to receive up to $2,625 (50%).
Service members who would like to access this funding must complete a funding request form to get started.
Apply early to make sure that you can maximize this amazing opportunity!
Letter from our Executive Director Spring 2024

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! 

Learn More

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!

Read More

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