SEIU Community Workers United
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Training Partnership of Community Clinics and SEIU Awarded More Than $13 Million to Increase Access to Care And Invest in the Recruitment, Retention, and Training of Healthcare Workers

Grant from California Workforce Development Board Recognizes Success of Partnership of Community Clinics and SEIU Unions Dedicated to Expanding Access to Care for Historically Underserved Communities

Multiple community clinics that provide essential health care services to vulnerable populations and Locals of the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) were awarded $13.3 million as part of California’s multi-year High-Road Training Partnership initiative. The grant from the California Workforce Development Board’s High-Road Training Partnership Resilient Workforce Program focuses on addressing issues of income inequality and economic competitiveness in critical industries.

“One out of every six Californians receives care at a community clinic, and this funding will support increased access, reduced wait times, and more continuity in care.” said Robert Phillips, President and CEO of West Oakland Health Center that serves a diverse patient population throughout Alameda County. “This grant expands High-Road partnerships into low-income, immigrant and historically disadvantaged communities, deepening equity and resiliency across the state and allows us to expand our collaborative work with partner labor unions and training providers to ensure the community health centers have sufficient staff to meet demand for services.” 

The grant was awarded by the California Workforce Development Board to the Shirley Ware Education Fund (SWEC), an existing High-Road Training Partnership with decades of experience providing education and training for healthcare workers that is working with the SEIU-Clinics Partnership and the Workforce Education & Resource Center (WERC) to expand workforce development strategies to meet the unique needs of community clinics and the communities they serve.

The joint efforts being funded include the SEIU Community Clinic Workers Union, comprised of SEIU Locals 521, 721, 1021 and United Healthcare Workers West (UHW), who are working collaboratively with Federally Qualified Community Health Centers including Asian Health Services, Clínica Monseñor Oscar A. Romero, Gardner Health Services, HealthRight 360, St. John’s Community Health, and West Oakland Health Center.

“We appreciate the State’s commitment to develop a cohesive statewide approach to workforce development strategies, allowing us to share successful existing programs and innovate new ones with labor partners and community clinics committed to high road principles,” said Rebecca Hanson, Executive Director of SWEC and its training and education arm at The Education Fund

“This increased investment in the training and development of clinic workers is an increased investment in California’s promise of equitable access to care,” said David Green, President and Executive Director of SEIU Local 721 and Co-Chair of the joint SEIU-Clinics Trust Fund. Through high-road partnerships, we are tackling and solving the greatest public health challenges, increasing access and quality of care for clinic patients,  and ensuring community clinic jobs are career-track, family-sustaining jobs.”

“It’s heartening to see the California Workforce Development Board recognize successful partnerships between our clinics and our union,” said Khyla Wilson-Junior, a member of SEIU Community Clinic Workers United and an Administrative Clerk at West Oakland Health. “When workers have a seat at the table and are treated as partners in improving care to our patients by our employers, we can overcome any challenges together.  We’re not just making a difference in the lives of the patients that come to our clinics but working together to make sure that clinic jobs are quality jobs with quality healthcare, and that we receive training and career-track opportunities in healthcare.”

“What’s particularly exciting about this grant funding is that it both reinforces the essential role that community centers play in our overall healthcare system and values the power of labor-management partnerships that give workers a powerful voice in jointly shaping how we can best meet the needs of both our workforce and our communities,” said Jim Mangia, President and CEO of St. John’s Community Health, a network of 20 nonprofit federally qualified health centers and three mobile clinics providing free and low-cost medical, dental, and behavioral health in the Los Angeles area.


About Shirley Ware Education Center:

The Shirley Ware Education Center (SWEC) has been providing education and training to community members and health care workers since its formation in 1998 by SEIU-UHW West with initial funding from the City of Oakland. SWEC integrates its work with the SEIU-UHW West & Joint Employer Education Fund (the Education Fund). From its inception through to today, SWEC raises grants from public and private foundation sources to further this purpose.

About The Education Fund:

The SEIU-UHW & Joint Employer Education Fund is a multi-employer labor-management partnership serving 105,000 SEIU healthcare workers across 20 employers and six states to advance their careers through innovative education and training solutions.

About the Worker Education & Resource Center (WERC):

WERC is a nonprofit organization based in Southern California that aims to support workers experiencing barriers to employment in connecting to and retaining good, stable, and permanent jobs and improving quality of life. WERC’s training programs take a holistic approach to learning and instruction that includes academic learning, life skills, and confidence-building integrated into a contextualized curriculum.

About SEIU Community Clinic Workers United

Community clinic workers at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in California are uniting in SEIU Community Clinic Workers United to fight for higher wages, better benefits, improved patient care and a voice at work.  Tens of thousands of workers across the entire state are coming together in an unprecedented campaign to win real gains for our essential frontline service providers.  These essential health care workers are represented by SEIU Locals 521, 721, 1021 and UHW.