The workers, who hail from around the state, have spent 145 hours over the last year learning how to manage care for people who in past decades might have been institutionalized, but can now remain at home.
It’s the first apprenticeship program of its kind in the nation.
Charissa Raynor, executive director of the SEIU Healthcare Northwest Training Partnership, says in-home care today involves much more than helping people with chores and errands.
“Supporting people with severe and persistent mental illness, chronic disease, physical disability,” she explains. “Seeing lots of post traumatic stress disorder – different, complex conditions that require a higher level of skill.”
The apprenticeship program also includes on-the-job peer mentoring, which Raynor says is an important component to prevent burnout.
This is the third graduating class for what began as an experimental program.