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Apprenticeship Accelerator a Major Success for Training Fund, Partners and Healthcare Sector

The Training Fund and Greater Philadelphia Healthcare Partnership joined the Healthcare CareerAdvancement Project (H-CAP) to sponsor an Apprenticeship Accelerator for the healthcare and human services sectors

July 25th, 2018: The District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund and Greater Philadelphia Healthcare Partnership (GPHP) joined the Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP) to co-sponsor an Apprenticeship Accelerator event at the Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia. Close to 100 participants including healthcare employers, related academics, workforce development professionals and government experts attended the live event in Philadelphia, which was also simulcast to an audience in Pittsburgh.

The Acceleration began with welcoming remarks from Henry Nicholas, President of AFSCME District 1199C and the National Union of Hospital & Health Care Employees (NUHHCE); Training Fund Executive Director Cheryl Feldman; Jesse Wilderman, Executive Vice President and Director of Innovation at SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania; and Patrick Clancy, President and CEO of Philadelphia Works, Inc. These speakers discussed Registered Apprenticeship as a workforce solution for the healthcare industry, and their passion for the "earn and learn" and career ladder aspects of this practice. The importance of partnering was also emphasized across the group; for instance, the Training Fund and Philadelphia Works have been partners on a Direct Support Professional Apprenticeship which received significant funding from a federal American Apprenticeship Initiative grant. This is one of ten successful Training Fund-affiliated Apprenticeship programs operating in six occupations across Southeastern Pennsylvania, all involving deep partnerships with employers, institutions of higher education, and non-profit organizations.

Mike DiBerardinis, Managing Director of the City of Philadelphia, then provided a Keynote which tied the Accelerator to the City’s workforce strategy, which not only includes Apprenticeship but is aiming to serve Philadelphians who need to build skills and competencies to move into family-sustaining jobs with career pathway potential. The City has launched its own program, and has a working group including many of the organizations who gathered at the Accelerator, to promote a citywide workforce development strategy.

Next up was a panel of employers who have had success launching Apprenticeships in various healthcare subsectors. These included Judy Dotzman, Executive Director of SPIN (Developmental Disabilities); Juliet Fink Yates, Director of Education, Philadelphia FIGHT (Federally Qualified Health Center); Jan Kosek, RN, of TRPIL (Home Care); Dr. William Wunner, Director of Outreach and Technological Training at the Wistar Institute (Medical Research); and Dr. Douglas Reich, Chair of Family Medicine at Bronx Lebanon Hospital. The panel was moderated by Mark Genua, Apprenticeship Director at Philadelphia Works. Employers shared their successes with using Apprenticeship to solve workforce shortages, and to also enhance and extend the work of their professional staff. They also emphasized the importance of Apprentice mentoring, as well as the benefits of combining on-the-job learning with significant classroom instruction, including college credits in many cases. Another panel, this one featuring Apprentices and Mentors, followed. Moderated by SEIU HEalthcare PA's Jesse Wilderman, this panel offered attendees the perspective of those who are experiencing actual apprenticeships at Philadelphia FIGHT, SPIN, Wistar Institute and TRPIL. Apprentices spoke of how the opportunity has been rewarding and life-changing in terms of working for employers willing to make an investment in people, having not just a job but a career, and of course, valuable mentorship to build skills and confidence. Mentors talked about how rewarding their role can be as they grow as leaders, as well as enjoying the fulfillment of seeing others achieve in their respective fields.

The final segment of the day was a trio of breakout workshops which provided smaller group discussion and a more in-depth look at Youth Pre-Apprenticeship (led by Makeeda Holley, Training Fund Director Workforce Development), Developing Your Own Apprenticeship (Susan Thomas, Partnership Director, GPHP), and Mentoring (Lucy Corker, Director of Professional Development at SPIN; and Neelam Gupta, Project Manager at H-CAP). All in all, it was a very worthwhile meeting for all who attended, given the range of perspectives provided on Apprenticeship as well as continuing enthusiasm to advance this strategy further within the healthcare and human services sector.

About H-CAP: The Healthcare Career Advancement Project, or "H-CAP," is a national labor-management organization that promotes innovation and quality in healthcare career education. H-CAP's board includes Service Employees International Union (SEIU) locals and healthcare employers across all sectors of healthcare. The Training Fund is proud to be a partner with H-CAP and is grateful to H-CAP and its funders for supporting our Apprenticeship programs; these funders include the US Department of Labor, as well as the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation. To learn more about H-CAP, visit them online at