News Releases

SEATTLE WORKFORCE: Murray Highlights Successful Seattle Training Programs at Senate Hearing with Local Witnesses

Feb 16 2012

GAO report released yesterday named Seattle workforce training programs in the health care sector as an example of a strong and effective community partnership

Marlena Sessions, CEO of Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County,

Dr. Barbara Trehearne, from Seattle’s Group Health Cooperative testified at hearing today

Watch the hearing 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), chaired a bipartisan hearing of the Senate Employer and Workplace Safety subcommittee on “Addressing Workforce Needs at the Regional Level:  Innovative Public and Private Partnerships.” Seattle was highlighted in a Government Accountability Office report released yesterday as an example of a region with strong local partnerships.

Marlena Sessions, CEO of Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, and Dr. Barbara Trehearne, from Seattle’s Group Health Cooperative, testified at the hearing to share what they did to build strong and effective partnerships in the local health care sector.

“Seattle is a national model for their great work training workers and helping local businesses through strong and effective community partnerships, especially in the health care sector” said Senator Patty Murray. “As our economy gets more complex and our workforce more diverse, we need to make sure that we are investing in the most effective partnerships and programs to move workers into good careers in the growing local industries that need them.”

“From day-one our goal was to ensure the investment we made in training matched the demand for labor, and wasn’t wasted on skills no longer needed,” said Marlena Sessions at the hearing today.  “Hospitals and other healthcare employers guided us with this reality check every step of the way.  As a result we’ve expanded training capacity in nursing and other health-care fields, adding 557 training slots that wouldn’t have been available otherwise.”

“I’m proud to say that Group Health has been a partner with our local Workforce Investment Board, the WDC of Seattle-King County, from the very beginning of its work in health care ten years ago—work that has had a definite impact on the industry and our region’s economy,” said Dr. Barbara Trehearne at the hearing today. “We are partnering in these efforts because they bring great value to Group Health as an employer and to the health-care workforce and the economy as a whole. Because of the Workforce Development Council, we now have a voice in training investments curriculum design, and employee selection that we didn’t have before, and we are growing our own future health-care workers.”