The Worker Education and Resource Center (WERC) is a non-profit organization that for 17 years has provided high quality workforce development programs in partnership with public service and safety net employers such as the LA County Department of Health Services and Community Health Clinics. Located in SEIU Local 721’s office building just west of downtown Los Angeles, WERC has a small, committed staff that conducts research and planning, develops curriculum, and provides dynamic, cutting-edge education and training programs within a learner-centered, supportive environment. WERC is currently launching a high-road partnership to expand workforce development opportunities within the public service sector including a wide range of occupations employed by the County of Los Angeles.
THE EVOLUTION OF WERC: A BRIEF TIMELINE
The Los Angeles County and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU Local 721) establish a partnership to address the crisis in healthcare services reform and obtain a US DOL grant to develop a restructuring and re-training program.
LA County Department of Health Services (LA DHS) and SEIU 721 establish the Worker Education & Resource Center, Inc. (WERC) as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit to create and implement the health Care Workforce Development Program (HCWDP).
2002 – 2007
LA DHS and SEIU 721 obtain 40 million dollars in workforce development funds from the State and Local Workforce Investment Act to prepare workers for demand occupations in healthcare, particularly Registered Nurses to address the dire shortage in the County. WERC expands to also provide pathways into Allied Health Careers such as medical Record Coders, Patient Financial Resource Workers, Psychiatric Technicians, MRI Technicians, etc. Over 1,000 workers are trained and credentialed.
2008 – 2010
WERC pilots innovative programs with ARRA grants during the recession with “Green” programs: education custodial workers to reduce waste, use safer chemicals, and improve infection control in County hospitals, water conservation training programs, and community health worker programs.
2010 – 2016
WERC and LA DHS partner to prepare for healthcare reform after the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. WERC develops and implements workshops for over 15,000 eligibility workers and healthcare workers on the new benefits affecting close to one million newly covered residents of LA County and how to ensure a positive patient experience. WERC also prepares 130 Certified Medical Assistants for jobs in out-patient care.
2012 – 2017
WERC launches several Community Health Worker Programs with LA DHS, LA Department of Mental Health, Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center, and federally qualified community health centers, to prepare over 230 workers with cultural affinity to the patients they serve.
2015 – 2018
WERC registers a Community Health Worker Apprenticeship Program with the US DOL Office of Apprenticeship and the CA Division of Apprenticeship Standards, and conducts the first program with ten apprentices and five community health centers, known as the Care Navigator Apprenticeship Program.
2016 – 2018
WERC creates the LA EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) Program as a partnership with the LA County Fire Department, McCormick Ambulance, and the LA County Second Supervisorial District to address equity issues in the industry. Three cohorts have completed the five-month long LA EMT Program located in South Los Angeles.
2016 – Present
LA DHS and SEIU 721 create the Labor Management Transformation Council and direct WERC to develop several workshops for hundreds of workers regarding Labor-Management Committees, Just Culture Training – an anti-bullying campaign, and other internal initiatives to improve the work environment.
WERC creates PLACE – (Preparing Los Angeles for County Employment) as a high road training partnership with the LA County Chief Executive’s Office to prepare people with high barriers to employment for permanent jobs and career pathways.
The Worker Education and Resource Center (WERC) is a non-profit organization that for 17 years has provided high quality workforce development programs in partnership with public service and safety net employers such as the LA County…