Support, Direction & Hope - Health Workforce for the Future Success Story

The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County is devoted to creating sustainable career pathways aligned within our Focus and Watch Sectors. Health Workforce for the Future provides an exciting opportunity for individuals to find not just a job, but build a career within the healthcare sector. HWF is a local project of the Health Professions Opportunity Grant (HPOG) initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Below we’ve highlighted the story of Mari Erickson, who found hope for herself and her teenage children through a nursing assistant (NAC) training cohort at Shoreline Community College.

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In December of 2016, Mari was a displaced homemaker supporting 3 teenaged children on an income limited to alimony, child support, and school meals provided by the federal free/reduced lunch program. Mari heard about Health Workforce for the Future (HWF) when she called her local college’s registrar in the hopes of starting a new career path.

In January 2017, Mari enrolled in a 2-quarter nursing assistant (NAC) training cohort at Shoreline Community College. The cohort was designed around Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (IBEST), a model that combines basic education and occupational training so that students can begin the work of training for employment as soon as possible.

The program gave Mari hope that she “has a future and can have a career” that will enable her to support her family. Mari had been a stay-at-home for 19 years and gone through a difficult divorce before she learned about HWF and the training opportunity at Shoreline. According to Mari, the cohort “gave [her] direction and a whole new life.” It has given her hope and transformed her outlook, which she feels has made her an even better mother to her children.

“The instructors, the college, my navigator, and even the other students in the class have been wonderful and a great support. The instructors are always there to answer questions.”

Once Mari completes NAC training, she will sit for the national credential exam to earn her license to work as a nursing assistant in Washington State. She will continue to work with her HWF Navigator to secure employment in the near-term and work toward her long-term goal of becoming a Registered Nurse.