Charissa Authors Guest Post on DOL Blog

As our nation’s baby boomers enter retirement age, ensuring we have enough quality home care aides to serve them will continue to be a challenge that we must confront as a society. Each day, 8,000 people in America turn 65, and Washington state alone will need to train approximately 440,000 home care workers by 2030 to meet this growing demand.

Fortunately, the SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership is working to solve this problem. As the nation’s first U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship program for home care aides, we are a leading organization for home care workforce training and development. In total, we train 40,000 students each year in Washington state, making us the largest home care workforce training provider in the nation.

Asia Mitchell, a participant in the SEIU apprenticeship program for home care workers.By taking a whole-person care approach to lowering costs and improving health and quality of life outcomes, the Training Partnership has designed an innovative training model that fundamentally transforms the current home care system. We do this by delivering training in 13 languages, both online and in more than 200 classrooms. In addition to our Registered Apprenticeship program, which includes advanced training and peer mentorship, we offer entry-level training and continuing education. Our training standards are the nation’s highest.

These standards – and the stamp of approval from the Registered Apprenticeship program – are not only ensuring that our students are receiving the highest quality training; they are also giving them career opportunities and certifications that have been previously lacking in the home care field. And with new career opportunities and certifications comes higher earning potential for these workers.

Our success has led the Training Partnership to announce the expansion of our apprenticeship program to more than 3,000 annually across the U.S over the next five years and to make our training available nationally. We are very excited about what this growth will mean for our students, their families, and the older adults and people with disabilities who they serve.

But you shouldn’t take our word for it. Apprenticeship program participant Asia Mitchell works as a home care aide and through the apprenticeship program, she is now seeing opportunities for a career pathway in healthcare.

“Through the apprenticeship program, I’ve discovered that caregiving is something that I’m good at and that will maybe eventually lead me to pursue nursing,” Mitchell says. Mitchell recently completed a course in phlebotomy to increase her skills.

Meeting our nation’s home care and healthcare needs is a unique challenge, but one in which the SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership is proud to play an increasingly important role. The Registered Apprenticeship Program has been tremendously helpful in helping us prepare a home care workforce that helps meet consumer, worker, and employer goals, and we expect that relationship to continue to grow and expand in the coming years.

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