CATCH program alumna Luz Torres, 40, of Everett, spoke in November in Washington, D.C., at a workshop for Health Profession Opportunity Grantees hosted by the Administration for Children & Families, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Torres enrolled in the first CATCH cohort of 31 students in April 2011. She completed two work-ready health care certificates at Edmonds Community College.
When she started CATCH, she and her husband and two daughters were living in their car, forced into homelessness due to job loss. She learned about the CATCH program while receiving assistance from Housing Hope. After she enrolled, Torres progressed quickly through the nurse assistant program and passed her state certification exam. Then she completed all of the phlebotomy technician course requirements.
This fall, Torres began a Patient Care Technician and Clinical Lab Assistant certificate programs at Edmonds Community College. Her goal is to become a labor and delivery nurse.
“I’m doing all I can to gain skills so that my family will never be homeless again,” she said. "The CATCH program was my bridge from a dark place to a hopeful one where I'm no longer afraid."
The program began in October 2010 with a $1.4 million federal grant from the Department of Health and Human Services. In September 2011, CATCH was funded for another $1.6 million. It is expected to become a model for Washington state for how to close the gap between underlying poverty and job shortages in health services. The program currently serves 72 students with plans to have served more than 120 by the end of this second year of the grant.
CATCH provides all-expense paid certificate programs — which take about six months to complete — for select health care professions at Edmonds and Everett community colleges (Phlebotomy Technician, EKG Technician, Monitor Technician, Nursing Assistant, Restorative Aide) to low-income adults in Snohomish County to fill critical jobs in health care.
CATCH offers online classes to fit into the schedules of working adults with families. In addition, each student receives a laptop. Students in the program will learn about health care career options as well as medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and CPR.
Additional support services including educational advising, career counseling, and college success counseling are provided. Students also have the option to continue on in other college certificates or associate degree programs if they choose.
Applications are being accepted on an ongoing basis. Start dates for the program are January 23 and July 23 at Everett Community College and February 6 at Edmonds Community College.
Orientations to CATCH are held 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., every Thursday (except Dec. 22 – the college will be closed Dec. 19-26 for winter holiday) at Edmonds Community College, 20000 68th Ave. W, Lynnwood. To register for an orientation, call 425.640.1361 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to Edmonds and Everett community colleges, partners in the CATCH program include: Workforce Development Council of Snohomish County; Washington State Department of Labor and Industry Apprenticeship Program and Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council; Washington Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board; Department of Social and Health Services; Washington State Employment Security Department; TRAC Associates; Housing Hope; Snohomish County Refugee and Immigrant Forum; Business Access, a company that specializes in building in-home learning communities; and regional health care employers such as Providence Regional Medical Center, Swedish Edmonds, and Warm Beach Senior Community.###