SEIU Healthcare NW Apprenticeship Program Wins Award

The following news release was sent out last Wednesday from the SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership:

SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership apprenticeship program recognized as an “Trailblazer and Innovator” by Department of Labor

For Immediate Release: August 8, 2012

SEATTLE – The SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership’s registered apprenticeship program was one of 70 awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor for being a “Trailblazer and Innovator.”

The recognition was given Aug. 1 in Washington, D.C., at an event with U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to mark the 75th anniversary of the National Apprenticeship Act, which launched the Registered Apprenticeship program.

The Training Partnership’s registered apprenticeship program is designed to increase the skills and opportunities of Home Care Aides by offering basic and advanced training, peer mentorship, and a Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship.

The Home Care Aide apprenticeship is currently in a pilot phase and is a collaboration between the Training Partnership, SEIU 775NW, and three home care agencies: Full Life Care, Korean Women’s Association and Addus Healthcare.

Training Partnership Executive Director Charissa Raynor, who also serves on the U.S. Labor Department’s Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship, accepted the award on behalf of the organization. Raynor says the program fills an important role. “Establishing career pathways for Home Care Aides is transformative not just for the Home Care Aide but also for the long-term care system in general. Apprenticeships create an incentive for workers to stay in the field long term, which in turn creates greater stability in the fast-growing long-term care system.”

Through the program, apprentices agree to take an additional 70 hours of advanced classroom work, for a total of 145 hours of training throughout the apprenticeship, and are also given 24 hours of peer mentoring from an experienced Home Care Aide. Upon graduation, the apprentice is assured a pay increase for the additional training and a certificate of completion from the Department of Labor. In addition, portions of the advanced classroom training can be applied to a number of community college allied health programs.

SEIU Healthcare 775NW President David Rolf says the Apprenticeship Program represents the importance of career pathways for Home Care Aides. “(At SEIU Healthcare 775NW) we know that workers want not just fair wages and benefits, but a way to increase their skills, continue their education and move up in the health care field. This is why we support this important apprenticeship program.”

In her remarks, Solis said that programs such as the Training Partnership’s are part of a new era for apprenticeship programs. “We’re mentoring the caregivers who nurture our children as they grow up and our parents as they grow old. We’re supporting a new generation of workers who earn while they learn: wind turbine technicians, green plumbers, green electricians and green insulators. We’re on the cutting edge of technology and workforce development-and there’s still so much room to grow. We’re reinventing apprenticeship in ways never imagined 75 years ago.”