1199SEIU Caregivers, Lawmakers including Chuck Schumer & Employers Call Attention to Worker Shortages in Healthcare

November 20, 2023

National Apprenticeship Week Highlights Critical Need

As part of the ninth annual National Apprenticeship Week, 1199SEIU sponsored an event today highlighting registered apprenticeships in high demand healthcare occupations. Over 30 employers joined with elected officials and labor leaders in Uniondale to discuss how apprenticeships help address the ongoing shortage of workers in the healthcare industry.

1199SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Milly Silva.jpg“Covid laid bare the ways in which caregivers, predominantly women of color, are often marginalized. Apprenticeships are one way to redress some of these inequities while also addressing workforce shortages in healthcare. Registered Apprenticeships are paid roles that allow diverse groups of workers to earn progressive wages in good union jobs as their skills increase,” said Milly Silva, 1199SEIU Secretary-Treasurer.

“As our healthcare system struggles with major workforce challenges, we know the apprenticeship programs are the one of the most important tools we have to solve this problem. By providing workers a way to develop their skills in healthcare, we can create a vitally important pipeline of new talent and build a more stable healthcare workforce. When coupled with the tremendous work that 1199 does on behalf of its members, these apprenticeships become good paying, vitally important jobs that will help our families and communities across New York,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

 “For so many single parents like me, it’s hard to go to work full-time and go to school at the same time. The Registered Apprenticeship program allowed me to upskill and stay in healthcare taking care of patients—which I love,” said Kora Toumazatos who completed a Registered Apprenticeship and is now certified sterile processing Technician at Northwell Health in Bethpage.Kora Toumazatos who completed an apprenticeship..jpg

Yesterday’s event was sponsored by the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds  (TEF) in an effort to expand Registered Apprenticeship programs. These programs are industry-vetted and approved to assure that workers are trained for highly skilled, high-demand occupations in home care, nursing homes, and hospitals. 

“Registered Apprenticeships are a proven best practice to fill workforce shortages with a diverse, supported and well-trained pipeline of workers. As a joint labor-management training fund, TEF is uniquely positioned to support apprenticeships in partnership with our labor and management stakeholders. We look forward to continued expansion across the greater New York region,” said Daniel Bustillo, Deputy Executive Director of the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds.

National Apprenticeship Week is a nationwide event showcasing the value of apprenticeship programs in improving job quality and expanding workers’ access to good-paying jobs in many industries. This year’s National Apprenticeship Week is November 13-19.

Registered Apprenticeships are paid jobs where participants earn progressive wages as their skills increase. The program is an “earn while you learn” model that blends didactic training with on-the-job learning. Apprentices receive formal mentorship that helps to address the school to practice gap. Licensed practical nurses, certified nurse aides, phlebotomists, medical coders, and radiologic technologists are among the various occupations in the program.

“Suffolk County is committed to providing our residents with the necessary resources to exceed in emerging industries through high level programming and partnerships all to ensure the growth of our regional economy,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “I applaud 1199SEIU for their ongoing commitment to workforce development and for providing additional mechanisms in order to retain and grow talent within the healthcare sector.”

Apprentices are also afforded worker protections while receiving rigorous on-the-job training including instruction from an experienced mentor as well as supplemental classroom education based on the employers unique training needs. After completing a program, apprentices earn a portable, nationally recognized credential within their industry. 

“Economic stability is essential to the health and well-being of every human being. When there is a path to becoming financially stable like the Registered Apprenticeship program offers, communities are given the chance to thrive and prosper. 1199SEIU have been long time allies striving to raise the standard of living on Long Island. Fighting alongside workers. We stand in solidarity to uphold workers’ rights with dignity, respect and power,” added Long Island Jobs with Justice.