Kristy Spencer

Medical Assistant

Kaiser Permanente, Skyline Medical Center

Kristy Spencer is currently a Medical Assistant at Kaiser Permanente Skyline with dreams of moving up in her healthcare career. After she completed her prerequisite courses with the help of the Education Fund’s College Courses program, she heard about the Health Information Management (HIM) program available through Portland Community College and jumped at the chance.

Thanks to the HIM program being offered fully online, she was able to continue going to work and raising her family without disrupting her life too much. The Education Fund’s Wage Replacement program also helped her reduce her work week to 32 hours while maintaining her income. Kristy received constant encouragement and support from the Education Fund throughout her educational journey, including advice on time management and tutoring services if she needed them. Kristy says, “without the support of the Education Fund I would not be where I am today!”

Due to her hard work, dedication, and the support of the Education Fund, Kristy graduated from the HIM program with her Associates Degree. She encourages other members to “check out the Education Fund’s website to see what programs are available and get started! Their team is there to support you along the way and help you complete your goals. I went back to school with a husband, four kids and two dogs – if I can do it, anyone can!”

Janet Cordova

Emergency Room Unit Assistant

Kaiser Permanente, Walnut Creek Medical Center

When Janet Cordova experienced an injury that prevented her from performing her role as an Emergency Room Technician with Kaiser Permanente, she had to quickly figure out her next move. Thanks to the Education Fund’s career resources, she was able to train for the role she performs today, as a Unit Assistant still working in the Emergency Room. Accessing Education Fund resources helped Janet transfer units and complete her AA degree by completing coursework in person and online. She also completed Online Education Preparation courses to advance her skills using required word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software applications. In addition, Janet used the Ed Fund’s Reimbursement Program to maintain her Basic Life Support (BLS) and pediatric emergency response (PEARS) certifications.

Janet describes her job at the Kaiser Permanente, Walnut Creek Medical Center as the “stopwatch” for the ward. As patients arrive for critical care, Janet delegates tasks and performs required functions that include completing necessary legal forms, and arranging for appropriate transportation should patients require acute care at a different facility. For instance, a patient suffering a traumatic brain injury might need to be air-lifted to KP’s neurosurgery Center of Excellence in Redwood City.

In the future, she plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree, leveraging the Ed Fund’s Wage Replacement program so she can reduce her work hours while pursuing her degree. “I took the time to learn everything the Ed Fund offers,” Cordova said. “It’s there for us to use. Why wouldn’t we?”

Nancy Espino

Clinical Assistant

Planned Parenthood, Columbia Willamette

Nancy Espino always wanted to work in the medical field. But as a new mother at 18, she had to put her parenting first and college on hold. A few years later, she learned that desire wasn’t enough. “If you don’t have experience or go to college, it can be difficult to even get your foot in the door,” she says.

Now, a few years later, Nancy is fulfilling her dream. She found a path forward by getting a job as a clinical assistant with Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette (East Portland, Oregon) where SEIU members have Education Fund benefits. When she heard about the Ed Fund, she says “I couldn’t believe that something like that even existed. I thought it was too good to be true.”

Nancy intends to pursue a Medical Assistant degree or certification, and is working on her prerequisites now, by using the Education Fund’s College Courses program to pay for them.

No matter your age, or how long you’ve been away, going back to school can be daunting. “I was so nervous,” Nancy said. “Trying to do everything online can be nerve-wracking. The process can be very stressful”. Thankfully, she found the support she needed through the Education Fund. “Overall, my whole experience with the Ed Fund has been super positive.”

“I am a first-generation child, from two parents who immigrated from Mexico, so going to college is not only impactful for my family, but for my whole life in general. The Education Fund has impacted my life. It’s helping me down the road in the future with my career path and choices.”

Eric De Cham


Kaiser Permanente, Sunset Medical Center

For the past seven years, Eric has been working as an LVN for Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center’s outpatient clinic. When he learned about the Education Fund, he decided that nothing was standing in the way of his goal of elevating himself from an LVN to an RN.

When he began his educational journey, the Education Fund supported him by paying for the tuition and the textbooks for his RN program prerequisites and general education courses. As the classes started to become more intense, the Education Fund provided him online tutoring services available 24 hours a day.  Once he passed the TEAS and officially enrolled in the RN program, he became eligible for the Education Fund’s Wage Replacement program along with reimbursement of the RN program’s tuition, textbooks, NCLEX study materials, and NCLEX application fee!

Due to all of Eric’s hard work and dedication, he was recently accepted into Kaiser’s RN new grad program and started his dream job in February 2021.

Eric shares this piece of advice with future Ed Fund learners: “I know this is a long and difficult journey, but please do not give up that easily. If I can do it so can anyone! I cannot thank the Education Fund enough for my new career!!”

Kevin Baptiste


El Camino Hospital

Kevin was employed as a dialysis technician at El Camino Hospital when the hospital decided that having an outpatient dialysis department was no longer economically feasible. The union negotiated with the hospital to give the technicians the option to apply and be trained for other needed positions. He chose to apply for a CNA role due to his strong interest in one day becoming an RN.

The Education Fund developed a special five-week intensive CNA program specifically for the eight interested dialysis technicians. The small group received excellent training from the Education Fund’s partner school, and their Ed Fund counselor made sure they were supported each step of the way. Kevin says, “Her professionalism, wisdom, and intelligence were only surpassed by her genuine caring for all students involved.”

Kevin is now a licensed CNA, team leader, and union steward who is taking his first steps to become an RN. About his experience with the Education Fund, Kevin says “I would encourage any member to take full advantage of the Ed Fund, its programs, and knowledgeable staff.”

Mayela Galvan

Teleservice Representative

Kaiser Permanente, Stockton

As a Teleservice Representative, Mayela began her journey with the Education Fund with the goal of making her current job better and having the option to help patients face to face. She initially signed up to attend a few Critical Skills webinars, along with our Excel, Telehealth, and Introduction to Online Learning courses. She says, “I have attended a few of these webinars and I have learned a great deal. I truly enjoy them!!! They share how to see things from a different perspective and how to maintain a positive attitude by sharing tips for self-care. In a nutshell, they share ways to keep ourselves in check.”

By working with the Education Fund she says “I have been able to take classes and courses related to my job. Every training or class I have taken, has really made my job easier. I can’t emphasize it enough: there is always room for improvement, and you can’t go wrong by taking advantage of free training/education.” She goes on to share that she plans to definitely take advantage of what the Ed Fund has to offer and review the information and current programs available.

After completing the First Steps Program, Medical Terminology class and Medical Terminology in Spanish courses, her next goal is to start and complete the Medical Assistant Pathway program.

Mayela’s positive experience with the Education Fund has led her to become an unofficial ambassador: “Thanks to the support from my boss and the Ed Fund, we were able to create more awareness about the different opportunities the Ed Fund has to offer. In addition, we were able to coordinate for our department staff to attend the entire series of the Critical Skills Webinars currently offered by the Ed Fund. I’m so proud to be a member of the Ed Fund!!!”