Grant to fund regional health care career opportunities

Grant to fund regional health care career opportunities

two women healthcare professionals

Press Release
October 10, 2022

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.

New behavioral health apprenticeship program meets urgent need for vital services

New behavioral health apprenticeship program meets urgent need for vital services

Press Release
August 4, 2022

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


(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


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.