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Training Provides Crucial Role for Thousands of WA Caregivers


Tuesday, July 26, 2022   

Caregivers provide critical support to people across Washington state. They also get support of their own.

SEIU 775 Benefits Group has provided training to caregivers since 2010. It is also the state's second-largest educational institution by enrollment, with 46,000 people taking advantage of the program each year. Training is provided in at least a dozen languages.

Katherine Smith, director of learning operations for the group, said the training facility in Vancouver is being dedicated on Wednesday to longtime caregiver Linda Lee.

"She has fought for lots of rights with benefits and with wages, and hours and training," Smith recounted. "She was one of the original caregivers, she was one of the original people to help start the union. And in her honor as she's retiring, we have decided to name the Vancouver classroom the Linda Lee Training Facility."

Lee also helped secure funding from the state legislature to create the SEIU 775 Benefits Group's training partnership. Training provides practical skills for handling situations that might arise for caregivers, such as preventing falls, injuries and hospitalizations. It also offers 70-hour training and support to pass the state exam for becoming a certified home-care aide.

Halima Habib, peer mentor and certified caregiver, said training provides important skills and also helps caregivers deal with the mental pressures of the job.

"The training will help you to manage your stress and burnout, how to know about this health care, and how can you move past the grieving," Habib outlined. "Because not just the client goes through grieving. It's also the caregivers."

Training is important for another reason: Demand for caregivers continues to go up. Smith noted the prediction is an estimated 8.2 million caregiving job openings by 2028.

"This is a field where there is a great need, and there's going to continue to be a great need," Smith stressed. "We want to make sure that we're offering quality and valuable training to our caregivers, so we can continue to recruit caregivers into the field."

Disclosure: SEIU 775 Benefits Group contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, and Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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