Marano Fellows Class of 2008

Name: Steve Bender

1199NE Training and Upgrading Fund

Location: Hartford, Connecticut
Primary Industry Sector: Healthcare
Type of Organization: Labor-Management Partnership

“Helping to bring organizations together to collectively achieve what canít be achieved alone makes perfect sense to me. The close relationships that I have built with the nursing home workers who are members of my union, and who so desperately want to further their education and careers, motivate me every day to do this work.”

Organizational Mission: The purpose of the 1199NE Training and Upgrading Fund is to provide eligible employees with opportunities to realize their potential through personal growth and development, enhancement of skills and knowledge, achievement of academic goals, and career advancement in the health care field.

Interest in Sector Work: The 1199NE Training Fund administers educational programs and benefits for unionized nursing home workers throughout Connecticut. As of July 1, 2008 57 nursing homes will be contributing to the Fund, making close to 7000 workers eligible.

The Training Fund is a labor/management partnership, so by definition we work collaboratively. In recent years, as our programs have expanded, we have partnered with workforce boards, adult education programs, community colleges, community based organizations, even a local theater ensemble!

Our hope in expanding our sectoral work is that the quality of our programs improve, a greater number of our members benefit from them, and that the contributing employers have an increasingly better educated workforce.

The majority of our members are Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Many work more than one job to support themselves and their families. They know that furthering their education will help them improve their lives, but so many have barriers in the way.