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 South Sound education, health care, and labor 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 the South Sound," said Senator Murray. "These investments will fund community priorities like employment partnerships and nursing education. 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 South Sound:

Olympic College, Nursing Education Equipment and Teaching Lab – $350,000

This funding will help provide equipment and supplies for the Nursing Education Equipment and Teaching Lab project that will centralize training services on the Olympic College campus to help expand the health care workforce.

“Bringing the nursing program to Olympic College’s Bremerton campus will free up much needed space at the Poulsbo campus, eliminating the inefficiency of nursing students shuttling between campuses, and improving access to clinical sites. The college is currently unable to meet the demand for nursing from students and employers.  Funding for the equipment will allow the program to expand to help meet the huge current and projected need for trained nurses.  Olympic College recently received accreditation at the baccalaureate level and currently offers a BSN degree designed to meet local workforce needs.  This funding will support our entire flagship nursing program,” said Dr. David Mitchell, Olympic College President.

Pierce College Puyallup, Nursing Educational Equipment – $130,000

This funding will allow Pierce College Puyallup to purchase hands-on medical simulation equipment which will provide hands-on training in a low-risk setting to improve the skills of the health care workforce.

“The entire Pierce County community will benefit from the learning that will occur in these two, fully-equipped buildings. Students learning in a hands-on environment will have a greater educational experience, and community members who visit campus to view performances will have the opportunity to continue their lifelong learning,” said Pierce College Chancellor Michele L. Johnson.

Providence St. Peter Hospital, Southwest Washington Telestroke Network – $135,000

This funding is for the purchase of equipment for a broadband-based telestroke network that will allow physicians treating patients at rural hospitals to consult with a neurologist at Providence St. Peter Hospital.

“A key tenet of Providence’s vision is access to health care. Patients experiencing a stroke have precious little time to access emergency care.  This program will bring a virtual neurologist into the most remote hospitals in Southwest Washington, saving lives and preventing long-term disability.  Now patients living in remote areas will have the same access to stroke specialists as those in close proximity to Providence St. Peter Hospital, the only Joint Commission certified primary stroke center in our five-county area,” said Medrice Coluccio, Chief Executive of the Providence Southwest Washington service area and Providence St. Peter Hospital.

SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership, Training Partnership Telepresence Network for Rural Healthcare Workers – $300,000

This funding will create Washington’s first telepresence technology network which will increase skills among home care aides in rural Washington by offering access to specialized home care training.

“For too long, home care workers – especially those in rural areas – have been isolated and unable to access quality training to advance their skills and move along a career track. This grant will help the Training Partnership build on its innovative training platform and develop a sophisticated web-based training program for caregivers in rural areas to improve their skills, improve the quality of care they can provide, and move along a career path to higher skill, higher wage jobs,” said David Rolf, Chair, Board of Trustees, SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership.

Washington State Workforce Board, Industry Skill Panel: Phase II – $1,000,000

This funding will expand and improve proven models for collaboration between employers, workforce development, and education to meet the employment needs of business and individuals. 

“It’s not easy to get competitors to cooperate with each other but Skill Panels have proven to be effective in fostering the communication, information sharing and problem solving that allows communities and their key employers to get the most out of their training system and to fill skill gaps that are stunting their local economies,” said Eleni Papadakis, Executive Director of Washington State Workforce Training and Coordinating Board.