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Help more students access quality job apprenticeships

Op-Ed by Washington Senators Karen Keiser and Emily Randall Crossposted from The Seattle Times You often hear that a college degree is the only path to secure high-wage, high-skill employment. But that’s not how it has to be. We could build a system that opens the...

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The Return on Investment in Apprenticeship for Employers

The Health Care Apprenticeship Consortium was created to make the benefits of skilled apprenticeship training available for all employers in Washington. We know that apprenticeship is a solution to staffing shortages and a pipeline to skilled and engaged talent. One...

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No Medical Assistant Left Behind

Congratulations to our Medical Assistant apprentices, who all just passed the national Medical Assistant Certification (CCMA) exam! These 18 apprentices started the program with the Health Care Apprenticeship Consortium (HCAC) and Kaiser Permanente of Washington in...

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Apprenticeship FAQ

What is the Health Care Apprenticeship Consortium?

We are a partnership created to provide all healthcare employers within Washington State access to the benefits of skilled apprenticeship training for their workforce. The Health Care Apprenticeship Consortium is sponsored by SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Multi-Employer Training and Education Fund and is a multi-union and multi-employer Washington State-registered Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee. We are open to all healthcare employers in Washington.


What are the benefits of apprenticeship for employers?

Through apprenticeship, employers gain a pipeline of skilled workers, lower turnover for apprentices and mentors, skills matching your needs and culture, increased loyalty, and higher productivity. Read our Employer’s Guide or watch our video for more info. 



Why focus on healthcare apprenticeship?

This is an emerging, important workforce solution that addresses shortages in the healthcare sector.



How much does it cost?

The Health Care Apprenticeship Consortium (sponsored by the Training Fund) has received grant funding to pay the apprenticeship fee and tuition costs for employers to participate in our healthcare apprenticeship programs. The grant funding is available until we run out or June 30, 2021, whichever comes first.



What’s the return on investment (ROI) for employers?

Data from the Seattle Jobs Initiative shows that in their first year, an academically trained Medical Assistant (MA) has the advantage over an apprentice. In the second year, the apprentice begins to pull ahead. By year three, an apprentice has a 57% ROI ($102,488 net-cost benefit) compared to 27% for the academically trained MA ($53,850 net-cost benefit). And it’s important to keep in mind that the apprentice is providing value from the beginning as they see patients (generating revenue) and move through their apprenticeship.



Is this only open to the Training Fund’s partners?

This opportunity is open to all healthcare employers in Washington.



Are you only enrolling incumbent workers or can you get referrals from external partners?

We can do either. For example, in our first Medical Assistant cohort with Kaiser Permanente of Washington, half of the apprentices came from within Kaiser (people primarily in administrative/front desk roles who wanted to change careers). We worked with our community partners to recruit additional candidates for Kaiser to choose from and these candidates made up the other half of the cohort. We will work with you to identify internal and/or outside candidates.



How many apprentices do I need to participate?

You can start with just one! We can work with multiple employers to fill a cohort or we can develop one just for you if you have a larger group.



How difficult is it to implement?

It’s easy to implement and we work with you every step of the way. We’re available when and where you need us.



What are the steps to implementing an apprenticeship program?

We’ll help you hire an apprentice, identify mentors, create a program that works for you, and evaluate the apprentice along the way.



Do we have to pay apprentices for classroom time?

It is a best practice to pay apprentices for classroom time (also called supplemental instruction) in addition to their on-the-job training/work time, but it is not a requirement. Paid classroom time makes sense because then you’ll get the most diverse candidates able to step into those roles and doesn’t prohibit people who would otherwise be unable to afford to take unpaid time to learn a new job. This is an opportunity to provide an equitable talent pipeline for your workforce.



How do you structure your programs?

We can structure programs differently, but some of our cohorts began with three weeks of classroom time so that the apprentices started with the basics before they entered on-the-job training. After the initial three weeks of classroom time, the apprentices were in the clinic Monday-Thursday and did eight hours of classroom time on Fridays. This model enables people with families to join the program because they don’t have to take time outside of weekday business hours for training and learning.



What is the pay rate for apprentices?

We have a set journey-level wage rate across the state that has been approved for our programs. Employers can choose to pay above that rate (that often happens). Contact us for the exact numbers.



Do we have to be in the Seattle area?

You can be anywhere in Washington! We work with employers across the state. In fact, it’s even easier to train apprentices remotely now. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we developed the Virtual Healthcare Institute to train healthcare apprentices and students virtually.



What kind of apprenticeship programs do you have?

We are excited about upcoming Medical Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, and Certified Nursing Assistant programs, and have plans for future apprenticeships in Central Sterile Processing, Surgical Tech and Behavioral Health.



What if I want to have an apprenticeship in a different occupation?

We’ll work with you to develop an apprenticeship program for whatever healthcare occupation you need.



Who do I talk to if I’m interested?

We’d be happy to discuss how we can help solve your workforce challenges. Please contact Mark Beaufait, Apprenticeship Director, at or 425-255-0315.