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Dozens of caregivers advance their careers with 1199 Training Fund

Graduates are recognized at the 1199SEIU Training & Employment Fund graduation ceremony.Members who took advantage of 1199SEIU’s Training & Employment Fund were on hand with their friends and families Wednesday for a graduation ceremony at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum. The event recognized their accomplishments in completing courses to upgrade their skills, advance their careers, and provide the highest standard of patient care.

About 30 hospital and nursing home workers with 1199SEIU received recognition certificates for their hard work, courtesy of the 1199SEIU Training & Employment Fund. The Fund is a labor-management partnership that provides programs to support health care workers and also the needs of the industry at large, helping to meet the challenges of emerging trends.

Through the Fund's programs, workers can enroll in medical and vocational courses at local colleges and training centers, or they can take courses provided directly by the Fund, in subjects such as medical terminology and computer skills. Many caregivers take advantage of the training program in order to become certified nursing assistants (CNAs).

In the case of Deloah Roycroft, it was a simple matter of learning how to use the computer. The geriatric nursing assistant at Baltimore's Rock Glen Nursing & Rehab Center wanted to become re-accredited as a certified medicine aid (CMA). But in order to qualify for the job, the first step was to learn how to use computers. "Truthfully, I was afraid of them. But everything at work is computerized now," said Roycroft. "My instructor did a great job at helping me overcome my fear. Now I know the computer will lead me wherever I need to go, as long as I push the right button." 

Roycroft will next use the Training Fund to get her CMA certificate.

"This is the most effective way to advance the careers of healthcare workers while improving patient care," said John Reid, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU. "Superior medical care comes from a better trained workforce. And a better trained workforce makes Baltimore a stronger city.  The program is a win-win. It’s an example of the benefits you see when management and employees identify and work towards shared goals, such as quality care and good jobs."

Non-union healthcare workers in the city are organizing The Heart of Baltimore campaign in part to achieve better benefits such as greater training and education opportunities.  The Heart of Baltimore is an effort to improve jobs and care by ensuring free and fair union elections in the city's hospitals and nursing homes. One in five jobs in Baltimore is in the healthcare field, so raising standards for healthcare workers will boost the local economy overall.

The Training and Employment Fund began in 1969 in New York City. Since then, it has expanded to serve 20,000 members each year across the Northeast through offices in 14 cities.