Sagal | A Portrait of Success in Healthcare

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Sagal is a single mother of two school-age children. Together, they make their home in south Seattle. 

In 2013, when Sagal arrived in Seattle, she sought assistance from her local welfare office where her caseworker connected her with cash assistance and told her about the Health Careers for All program.  With an interest in healthcare, Sagal enrolled and joined a training cohort at South Seattle College to prepare for and enter nursing. To put food on the table, she also began part-time work doing remote medical interpretation from home, earning $500 monthly to help support her family, and moved off cash assistance. She completed all of nursing’s pre-requisite courses with competitive marks, moving on to the next step—the licensed practical nursing (LPN) program.

Throughout the intensive LPN program, Sagal says she benefited from the support of students and her “navigator” (career counselor), and in spring 2015 she successfully completed the program. That September, after passing the national credentialing exam and earning her state license, Sagal began full-time work as an LPN in a local rehabilitation center, earning $27 an hour. Sagal’s drive to become a nurse wasn’t yet satisfied—she stayed in close contact with her navigator and enrolled in the Health Workforce for the Future program in 2016 and was accepted into the LPN-to-RN ladder program at Highline College shortly after. She graduated with her associates degree in nursing (ADN) and secured a full-time registered nurse position at $39/hour in September 2017.  Sagal plans to continue her journey, with a final career goal of becoming an advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP).

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A few words from Sagal:

The reasons I would like to become a registered nurse are many ... I would love to motivate others who are in the same shoes as I was some years ago. I want to make them understand that hard work pays off, and to persevere and believe. I have always been a good student and have been able to achieve the goals that I set for myself. My children look up to me as a role model, and their grades at school reflect that. I want to be an exemplary person for my children so that they too can achieve their goals.

We congratulate Sagal and the hundreds of individuals who have dedicated their lives to our healthcare while building a prosperous future for themselves and their families.

A Path to Nursing - 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 Andrea Galicia, an individual who seized these opportunities to advance her career in nursing.

To learn more about Health Workforce for the Future, please visit seakingwdc.org/hwf-project.


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“When I see patients who need help, and work next to professionals who provide that help, it inspires me. I feel compelled to work on my skills and practice growth to become one of those providers who makes a difference in an individual’s life.”

With that perspective, Andrea Galicia, a Medical Assistant at Seattle’s Country Doctor community health clinic, applied for admission to the 3-1/2-year nursing cohort at North Seattle College. “I have watched the devotion and professional strengths of those here at Country Doctor,” Andrea wrote in her application, “and that stirs me to constantly reach and improve.”

Her supervisor at Country Doctor admitted nursing was the right path for Andrea, but lamented, “I would love to have her as my Medical Assistant forever.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Andrea was admitted to the program, with support provided through the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County’s Health Careers for All project, funded under the Health Professions Opportunity Grant initiative of the Office of Family Assistance, at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

After completing six challenging quarters of pre-requisite coursework that began in the summer of 2012, Andrea, a working single mother of three young children, successfully began the Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) portion of her training in January 2014. Continually searching for the right balance between work, school, and family life, Andrea ran into academic issues in the 2nd quarter of the LPN program, which prevented her from moving forward with her cohort. Family issues then necessitated a move out of her parents’ home, adding further complications to her plans.

Determined to reach her long-time goal of becoming a Registered Nurse (RN), she explored other nursing programs, but kept alive the remote option of being re-admitted to the program at North—which would require starting the LPN year from the beginning. Said Andrea, “I am very fortunate to have a supportive family and many relatives and friends who are willing to help me with the transition of balancing school and family.”

She ultimately received the good news of her re-admission to North, and did return in the fall of 2014. Continuing her work at Country Doctor while in the program, she made it through the LPN year, passed her LPN licensing exam in November 2015, and began the LPN-to-RN ladder program in the fall of 2015.

Only three quarters remained to achieve her goal, but the HCA project was ending and the challenges to reach completion again seemed insurmountable. Thanks to Andrea’s dedication to achieving her commitments—including spending extra time tutoring and relying on the support of friends, family, and the program—she was able to make it through. The WDC and its partners worked closely to ensure Andrea was able to find the resources she needed to stay on track. This included funding and Navigator support for her final quarter through the WDC’s HPOG2 project, Health Workforce for the Future, which helped support completion of the training and credentialing that followed the academic process.

Andrea’s dream of becoming a Registered Nurse was achieved when she graduated in June 2016 and passed her RUN licensing exam in September. She says, “I am dedicated to putting all my efforts and energy into giving back to the community that has taught me so much. It is my passion to do this.”

Andrea is now preparing for an interview for an RN position at Country Doctor’s sister clinic, Carolyn Downs, a community health center serving a diverse and complex patient population in Seattle’s Central District. Andrea is poised to further the health center’s mission of “providing quality, caring, culturally appropriate primary healthcare that addresses the needs of people, regardless of their ability to pay,” and bring greater stability to her own family, nearly doubling her wage from $16 per hour as a Medical Assistant.

“Those who know her well know how fortunate the community is that she persevered to reach her goal through the many demanding times,” says her HWF Navigator, Mike Hayden. “All who know Andrea know the benefit she will bring as a nurse in the Seattle-King County community.”

Transferring Nursing Experience & Planning for the Future - 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 Getachew Haile, an individual who immigrated from Ethiopia and was able to transfer his existing nursing experience through collaboration between the Health Workforce for the Future and the Welcome Back Center.

To learn more about Health Workforce for the Future, please visit seakingwdc.org/hwf-project.


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Getachew Haile came to the United States in May 2015 from Ethiopia, where he had practiced as a nurse. He was referred to the Health Workforce for the Future (HWF) program in April 2016 by staff at the Puget Sound Welcome Back Center (WBC) at Highline College, who had assisted him with compiling transcripts and documents for formal credential evaluation in the U.S.

With the assistance of his HWF Navigator, Getachew enrolled in Nursing Assistant (NAC) training, which he successfully completed in May. By the end of June, he had taken and passed the NAC licensing exam, received his license to work from the state, and connected with the HWF business services rep to identify and begin applying for available jobs in the area. In July, Getachew began working as a Nursing Assistant at an Alzheimer’s and Dementia facility.

Getachew works with 20 residents on a daily basis, following their Patient Care Plan and assisting with daily living (bathing, feeding, grooming, dressing), ambulation, medication reminders, and vitals monitoring. He continues to work closely with his HWF Navigator and Welcome Back Center staff to prepare for the next step in his career. Once the credential evaluation process is complete, Getatchew will be eligible to sit for the national nursing credentialing exam (NCLEX). His HWF Navigator has assisted Getachew to enroll in an NCLEX prep course at Highline College, where the Welcome Back Center is housed. Together WBC and HWF staff are providing Getachew the guidance and assistance necessary to navigate the complex process of articulating his training and experience in Ethiopia to the U.S. workforce.

His HWF Navigator says that Getachew is very appreciative of the HWF program, in spite of the heavy lifting he is doing to prepare for his exams. His navigator frequently encourages him to take time to reward himself for his hard work.

$1.6M Upskill-Backfill Initiative to Help Hundreds of Workers Move Ahead

New initiative to skill up workers in multiple sectors, will open up jobs across the state

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 7, 2017

OLYMPIA - The Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board has awarded $1.6 million in competitive grants to seven different projects designed to “upskill” entry- and mid-level employees through additional education and training that moves them ahead in their careers, while “backfilling” their open positions with new workers.

An estimated 550 workers will be provided additional training to advance their careers, with another 300 new hires backfilling projected openings. Three of the seven projects are in King County. Read more at: http://www.wtb.wa.gov/TAPAccelerator_phase1.asp

The Upskill Backfill Initiative is one of several partnerships between the state’s Workforce Board and the Governor’s Office aimed at advancing the state’s workforce plan “Talent and Prosperity for All,” or TAP. Earlier this year, Gov. Inslee invested $3 million in federal workforce funding to accelerate implementation of the TAP plan, with a little over half of that going toward Upskill Backfill projects.

The seven projects join public and private resources to focus on a wide range of industries and occupations, including: Healthcare, Building Engineers in the Construction Industry, Construction and Highway Workers, Manufacturing, and Aerospace. Each project is headed up by a regional Workforce Development Council in conjunction with area businesses within a particular sector. This public-private partnership brings businesses to the table to help shape the training their workers receive, while also co-investing their own resources into targeted training programs. The goal is to move more Washington workers into needed, higher skilled positions, with a focus on populations facing barriers to employment.

“This initiative will provide many new opportunities for career connected learning,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “By providing on-the-job training and certification in high-demand industries, workers will advance their careers and strengthen the economy for all Washingtonians.”

In addition to the state’s $1.6 million investment in these projects, nearly $1.6 million in additional funding was leveraged through matching grants and business investment, for a total of $3.1 million in targeted job training.

King County's three projects are outlined below.

Project Focus – Building Engineers in the Construction Industry

The demand for building engineers is expected to increase 14 percent over the next 10 years in the greater Seattle area, according to Economic Modeling Specialists. An added challenge is an aging workforce at the Senior Building Engineer level. This project will upskill potential leaders, enabling them to operate HVAC, electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems in high-performance buildings and backfill with new employees. The project is intended to: engage 10 businesses; train 100 current workers (with 50 receiving wage increases); and bring 30 new hires into the newly opened positions. Partners: Renton Technical College, Construction Center of Excellence, TRIO, NW Business Solutions Inc., ANEW, Emerald Cities Seattle, WBEC Steering Committee (Wright Runstad/Western WA Stationary Engineers), Associated General Contractors (AGC) Education Foundation, and Western Washington Stationary Engineers. Grant Amount: $226,855 (with $171,257 leveraged, totaling $398,112)

Project Focus – Manufacturing

Skilled workers are in great demand from the manufacturing industry. Right now, the limited supply has employers poaching talent from one another in the region. This project will upskill manufacturing workers into leadership positions and backfill with entry-level workers, with a focus on populations with barriers including those with disabilities. The project is designed to: provide advanced training to 250 current workers (of which 175 will receive wage increases); bring in 100 new hires to the industry, with an estimated 10 employers increasing their overall FTE counts. Partners: Genie (Terex brand), Astronics AES and Spectralux, Everett Community College Corporate and Continuing Education Center, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Seattle Goodwill Industries, and Seattle Housing Authority. Grant Amount: $275,000 (with $248,900 leveraged totaling $523,900)

Project Focus – Healthcare

King County faces an ongoing need for healthcare workers. To help meet this demand, area employers would like to tap promising talent from entry-level positons to fill critical clinical openings. This project will upskill current workers in positions such as environmental services, food services, and customer service to move into clinical roles such as nursing assistant and medical assistant, and backfill entry-level positions with jobseekers, with a special focus on populations facing barriers to employment. The project is designed to: engage two employers; support advancement training for 20 current workers; and facilitate 20 new hires to replace the workers who have advanced into new positions. Partners: Neighborhood House, Kaiser Permanente, Harborview Medical Center, the Washington Federation of State Employees, and other labor entities. Grant Amount: $241,480 (with $163,170 leveraged totaling $404,650)

The Workforce Board is a state agency that monitors and evaluates the state’s key workforce programs and also provides leadership on policies that help all Washington residents get the education and training they need to obtain living-wage jobs. The Workforce Board is also the state licensing agency for private career schools.

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