There are two forces that have helped Americans prosper throughout the past century. One is access to education; the other is union membership. District 1199C-NUHHCE combined both when it created the Training & Upgrading Fund.
At the Training Fund, we carefully design our career pathway programs to prepare students with the academic, work and life skill competencies to successfully transition from technical education into post-secondary and collegiate environments. Why? Because occupational projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that 45% of jobs today require a post-secondary credential.
We also do this because we are committed to serving the workforce needs of employers. Our partnerships with employers are central to the work of the Training Fund, and shape our programs and services for youth and adults in Philadelphia.
This was our vision when we first established the District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund in 1974. Four decades later, it is still our driving force. We never forget that high-quality education is the key that unlocks the door to high-quality employment.
- Henry Nicholas
President, National Union of Hospital & Health Care Employees (NUHHCE), AFSCME
Henry Nicholas, president of District 1199C and NUHHCE and the Training Fund’s architect, has co-chaired the Fund’s Board of Trustees since its founding. President Nicholas and his em-ployer co-chairs have built a forty-year legacy of trust and cooperation in meeting the education and training needs of healthcare workers and employers. This continuity of Board leadership is matched in the Training Fund Executive Director’s office, which has been occupied by just three individuals – Thomas Breslin, Jim Ryan and current Director Cheryl Feldman – since 1974. Lasting personal and professional relationships between labor and management Trustees have enabled the Training Fund to successfully navigate the constantly-changing healthcare field, preparing today’s workers and community members for tomorrow’s jobs and careers.
A highly skilled workforce is critical to the success of any healthcare employer. In our competitive and constantly-changing industry, neither workers nor their employers can ever stop thinking ahead – getting the job done today is no guarantee that you will still have the skills needed to get it done tomorrow, the day after, a month or a year from now. As technology and care delivery change, so do healthcare jobs, in ways that can sometimes be difficult to predict.
Dealing with high turnover and the ongoing training new employees is not only expensive – it also impacts care delivery, and our patients’ quality of life. Thanks to the Training Fund, we can grow our own talent, retaining and promoting current employees who know our patients and understand our systems. As employer-contributors to the Training Fund, we can rely on an occupational training infrastructure built, maintained and constantly updated over four decades to help us ensure that our workers acquire, hone and retain the skills they need for job success and career advancement.
As healthcare evolves, the Training Fund can respond quickly and flexibly to its contributing employers’ workforce needs – our positions as employer representatives on the Board of Trustees, and our working relationships with the Fund’s Directors, ensure that it does. At Inglis, we’ve partnered with the Training Fund to pilot a mentoring program, pairing experienced preceptors with new employees, that we’ve grown and integrated into our on-boarding process. We’ve also created a customized training program for Nurse Aides, tailored to the specific needs of our organization; partnered with the training fund on one-on-one computer coaching that ensured we could retain all of our experienced staff when we implemented the Electronic Health Record; and more recently, we are partnering with the fund to develop a training program that will provide staff with the necessary competencies to be successful in our Person Centered culture change initiative.
I am proud of my organization’s work with the Training Fund, and of the huge impact we have had on the lives of our workers, our residents and the Philadelphia community over four decades of partnership.
- Cheryl Whitfield
Vice President of Human Resources
As the Vice President of Human Resources, Cheryl Whitfield has operational responsibility for Inglis’ human resources policies, procedures, and strategic initiatives, including recruitment, employee and labor relations, human resources information services, training/development and benefits. She also oversees the Security and Communications services and is a trustee on the Board of District 1199C’s Training and Upgrading Fund. Cheryl came to Inglis in 2001 as a Labor and Employee Relations Coordinator. She was promoted to Director of Human Resources in 2003 and to Vice President of Human Resources in 2005.