January 27, 2021

Oakland, CA – The SEIU-UHW West & Joint Employer Education Fund (the Education Fund) – a multi-employer benefit trust providing education and training for union-represented healthcare employees – today announced it is launching an updated version of the online course Pandemic Readiness for frontline healthcare workers. The course now reflects information gained about COVID-19 through experiences of the past several months, as well as information related to vaccination.

The course relaunch is made possible through the collaborative effort of the Education Fund, Pima Medical Institute, Futuro Health, Kaiser Permanente, and SEIU-UHW, and follows the Spring 2020 launch of the original version. All employees who are eligible to receive Education Fund benefits may take the course at no cost, regardless of job classification or location.

The winter pandemic surge has underscored California’s ongoing critical need for workers to provide care, including LVNs/LPNs, respiratory therapists, medical assistants and certified nursing assistants. The Pandemic Readiness course provides these workers an opportunity to refresh their knowledge with the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and treatment, while providing interested non-patient care workers with helpful tools and information related to the virus.

“The vaccine is here, so we have updated our training to ensure that caregivers have the critical information they need moving forward,” said Rebecca Hanson, Executive Director of the Education Fund. “Caregivers need our support now more than ever, and we will continue to find ways to get them the education and training they need to sustain themselves through the pandemic.”

The five-module pandemic readiness course, designed by Pima Medical and conducted entirely online, will take approximately six hours to complete. The modules cover topics including screening and testing, infection control techniques and precautions, ventilator management, stress management and resilience, and immunity and vaccines. Designed to be self-paced, the course can help prepare patient care workers to perform additional functions on the care team in preparation for a temporary expansion in their scope of work.

“Our ability to rise to the challenge and win the war against COVID-19 requires extraordinary coordination between healthcare organizations,” said Fred Freedman, CEO of Pima Medical. “The creation of proper training materials and procedures for our frontline professionals is a critical component. Pima Medical along with the Education Fund is proud to be part of the national solution.”

The Education Fund will offer digital badges upon successful completion of online coursework and accompanying competency assessments. The course augments and fortifies existing skillsets of healthcare workers amidst the COVID-19 environment, especially for those entities that may not have the resources to create their own training programs to upskill staff. This revised version will build on the 1,300 Education Fund-eligible union members who took the initial course, launched by Futuro Health, between April and October 2020.

“We are pleased our ecosystem of partners continue to keep the training relevant and free for the needs of the times,” said Van Ton-Quinlivan, CEO of Futuro Health. “Skillsets continue to shift during this unprecedented crisis.”

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 16 employers and 5 states to advance their careers through innovative education and training solutions.

About Pima Medical Institute: Founded in Tucson in 1972, Pima Medical has built a reputation as one of the best medical career colleges in the Western United States. Pima Medical’s mission is to improve the quality of people’s lives by providing the best value in medical career education. Pima Medical offers certificate, associate and bachelor’s degree programs – all in the healthcare field. It also has a robust online learning division. Programs focus on medical, dental and veterinary careers.

About Futuro Health: Futuro Health improves the health and wealth of communities by growing the largest network of credentialed allied health workers in the nation starting in California. We believe investing in education and skills training and retraining results in better-paying jobs for workers, better service for patients and better workers for employers to hire. Kaiser Permanente and Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) partnered to establish Futuro Health in January 2020 with a $130 million commitment.

About Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW): SEIU-UHW is a healthcare justice union of more than 97,000 healthcare workers, patients and healthcare consumers united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected healthcare workers.