In 2014, Trinity relocated to Boston, MA from Malawi as an au pair – a program where families with financial means hire a nanny to help with housework or childcare in exchange for room and board. While this program offered her an opportunity for work in the US, initial promises of education assistance and other support were delayed or rescinded. Due to the lack of support, Trinity had the option of returning home to Malawai—which she couldn’t afford—or find a new direction. After connecting with friends who lived in Seattle, Trinity was encouraged to move to the area for greater opportunity.
Once in Seattle, Trinity connected with a Malawian group on Whatsapp, where she saw a flyer for the Introduction to Healthcare Apprenticeship Program (IHAP). IHAP is a free Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI) employment program that trains entry-level job seekers in the healthcare sector. IHAP classes are taught online giving trainees flexibility. Participants who don’t have access to a computer, internet, or need additional digital literacy training also receive support from Digital Bridge – a program that connects low-income job seekers with free laptops and Wi-Fi to complete job training programs online and apply for jobs. IHAP participants are also given weekly stipends, connected to professional coaches and mentors, and receive assistance in navigating social services.
Within a short time, Trinity signed up for IHAP, met with a Case Manager remotely to complete the necessary paperwork, and entered the program to start her new beginning—a beginning that was different than previous experiences she had in Malawi. “In my country, you can go to school and learn, but to get a job—that’s hard.” said Trinity. “Here, I can get a job and I can do anything for my kids.”
Upon entering the IHAP program, Trinity quickly showed her commitment to her career goals to become a nurse. Before graduating the IHAP program, Trinity had an interview scheduled with a partnering hospital, and within a week after graduation she received a job offer as a Patient Sitter with Swedish Hospital—a position that puts her one step closer to becoming a Registered Nurse. Trinity was able to continue working with SJI in preparation for her new Patient Sitter role, which she started in January. “I will receive a paycheck and be able to pay for food, rent, and other things I was unable to pay for before,” said Trinity, upon reflecting how her new job has changed her life. “I will be able to live and move independently. A job will also help further my career.”
After completing IHAP, Trinity told her Case Manager, “To be honest, you guys are helping people. What I’ve noticed for me, we Africans are shy and don’t know how to share our story. People from my community want to do the same thing that I am doing right now (IHAP program), but they don’t have the documents to be able to do the program. Other programs would tell you that they would help you, but they don’t.”
Since completing IHAP, Trinity has completed her Certified Nursing Assistant classes and is preparing to take the state exam.
The Seattle Office of Economic Development’s (OED) Workforce Development and Key Industry Team focuses on the development and implementation of strategies that promote growth in key industry sectors including healthcare, maritime, manufacturing, IT, the creative sector and clean technology. OED partners with organizations such as SJI to develop and implement programs like IHAP to improve access points for adults and youth from underserved and underrepresented communities to careers in targeted growth industries. OED works closely with education and employer partners to align education and training programs with industry needs to give jobseekers targeted in-demand skills while also helping businesses access the talent they need to grow.
For those interested in IHAP, register for the next information sessions to be held on February 8 and 9, 2021 by contacting the IHAP Project Manager Franke Roe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-859-4879.