News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Subcommittee, announced that she has included funding to boost King County health care and education priorities in the Fiscal Year 2011 LHHS Appropriations bill.

"In the 21st century economy, it is critical that we continue investing in local projects that train our workforce, teach our students, and boost our economy in communities throughout King County," said Senator Murray. "These investments will fund community priorities like a college readiness program and health care training. I was proud to fight for these local investments, and I'm going to continue working to help Washington state communities meet the needs of their families.

Having passed the LHHS Subcommittee, the bill will now go to the full Senate Appropriations Committee before going to the full Senate for consideration.

The following projects were included in the bill for King County:

Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, Regional Skills Alignment Project (R-SAP) – $400,000

This funding will increase the number of K-12 students that are prepared for positions in key local industries, and will improve alignment of training programs with the needs of local employers.

“In a global economy, the workforce training system must meet the workforce demands of business.  The WDC of Seattle-King County is an expert in developing demand-side approaches to workforce problems, and we welcome the opportunity to continue our efforts in sectors that are critical to our local economy.  Demand-side approaches are a proven and effective use of existing resources and they will help our local area stay competitive in the long term,” said Marléna Sessions, Chief Executive Officer.

Thrive By Five Washington, Washington Early Literacy Success – $300,000

This funding would allow Thrive by Five Washington to enhance and expand early childhood literacy programs across the state. 

“As a grandparent, I experience the joy and wonder of children’s learning as we read and tell stories together.  As a philanthropist and Board President at Thrive by Five Washington, I know that having actionable steps identified which will enable effective early literacy programs to be taken to scale is key to helping all children to succeed,” said Jackie Bezos, Board President, Thrive by Five Washington.

El Centro de la Raza, College Readiness Program – $100,000

This funding would allow El Centro de la Raza to increase the number of students that are prepared for and pursue post-secondary education. 

“As a voice and hub for the Latino community in Seattle and Martin Luther King, Jr. County, El Centro de la Raza provides dual language, comprehensive programs and services that help empower our youth to go to college, our children to build strong self-esteem, our families to become self-reliant, and our seniors to age with dignity and  quality of life. El Centro de la Raza receives funding from all sectors. These federal funds are vital to providing education opportunities and college preparation for our children and youth to build strong futures. These funds will also provide a vehicle to transport hot meals for every day of the week to our homebound seniors in Seattle. These healthy meals are sometimes the only source or a substantial source of their food supply each week. For more information about these programs and services we invite you to visit our new website at,” said Estela Ortega, Executive Director, El Centro de la Raza.

University of Washington, Dental Education in the Care of Persons with Disabilities – $570,000 

This funding will provide equipment to assist in the renovation of the 35-year-old facility and will upgrade the clinic with the goal of improving the health and safety of patients. 

“The requested funding will support the expansion and renovation of a nationally recognized clinic devoted to dental education and comprehensive care of the disabled.  The renovation will increase access to health care for a greater number of disabled patients, improve the quality of that care for both existing and new patients, and at the same time develop a health care workforce that is more likely to provide care to our most vulnerable populations,” said Martha Somerman, Dean, School of Dentistry.

Virginia Mason Medical Center, Emergency Department Capacity Expansion Project – $500,000

This funding is for the purchase of equipment to update and increase capacity at the Virginia Mason Medical Center Emergency Department.

"At Virginia Mason Hospital, we're focused on providing the highest quality, safest health care for our patients while reducing wastes and waits," said Donna Smith, MD, medical director of Virginia Mason Hospital. "Emergency departments throughout the country are known for their long delays, but with improved flow of care and a CT machine on site we will improve the experience for our emergency department patients and create more capacity when it is needed most."

Global to Local Health Initiative, Tukwila/SeaTac Global to Local Health Initiative – $400,000

This funding will go toward supplies and equipment for the Global to Local Health Initiative, which will serve Tukwila, SeaTac, and South King County residents who have little or no access to basic health services and economic opportunity.

“The collaborative effort of the partners involved in the Global to Local Health Initiative has been impressive to say the least. Organizations have recognized the disparities in health outcomes in South King County and as a result are acting to improve those health outcomes using innovative, cost effective strategies,” said Dr. Rod Hochman, CEO, Swedish Medical Center.

Providence ElderPlace Seattle and Heritage House at the Market, Providence PACE Expansion – $300,000

This funding will help with equipment purchase and facilities updates for the new PACE Center at Heritage House which will help to serve the need of elderly and vulnerable residents in surrounding downtown Seattle communities.

“The PACE program provides extremely well coordinated health care services to our state’s frail and vulnerable seniors.  This program assists elders in regaining functionality and mobility that permits them to stay healthier and independent longer.  PACE has a proven track record of high quality outcomes, while managing scarce health care resources.  Being able to expand PACE in King County will help ensure our vulnerable patients have access to the care they need in a cost effective, quality based program,” said Ellen Garcia, Executive Director of Providence ElderPlace.

King County Project Access, Expanding Specialty Health Care Services for the Low Income Residents in Snohomish and King County – $40,000

This project is for the purchase of one-time equipment and supplies for the expansion of King County Project Access. King County Project Access connects low-income, uninsured and publically insured patients with a network of 500 specialty physicians, hospitals and ancillary services in King County and is growing to serve Snohomish County patients with Snohomish County physicians, hospitals and ancillary services. This request will provide equipment to allow King County Project Access the capability to help more patients. 

“King County Project Access is growing to meet the increased demand in our community and we want to support their efforts,” explains Rosemary B. Aragon, Board President of King County Project Access. “By working with local providers they provide a model for how to improve health care access through the effective management of patient referrals and provider volunteers.”

Health Work Force Institute, Health Care Employment and Economic Development Initiative – $300,000

This funding will go to facility improvement and operational costs for the Health Care Employment and Economic Development Initiative.  This funding will help the Health Work Force Institute to identify the most promising strategies to address the health care workforce needs and to convene and facilitate collaboration among health care, education, philanthropic, and government sectors.

“The Health Work Force Institute’s work is critical to the development of the human resources needed for the care delivery system of the future,” stated Harry Geller, Administrator of Othello Community Hospital and board member of the Health Work Force Institute, an affiliate of the Washington State Hospital Association. “Without the work of the Institute, hospitals would face additional challenges in training existing and future health care workers.”

YouthCare, Telecom Employment Training for Homeless & At-Risk Youth – $100,000

This funding will develop industry-specific skills for youth between the ages of 16-21 to work in the telecommunications industry and help the program continue to focus on homeless youth, those aging out of foster care, and youth involved with the corrections system. 

“Moving forward, we must prepare all young people for the 21st century economy. Typically, homeless and at-risk youth have not had access to traditional pathways for jobs and access to mentors in the fields to provide the support needed to succeed. The Telecom project will be an effective approach that catapults participants forward, allowing them to compete with their peers. The C-Tech training system is an innovative turn-key curriculum that allows us to jump-start the learning process with hands-on training that is accessible, interesting and engaging for young people,” said Melinda Giovengo, YouthCare Executive Director.