February 1, 2023

Addressing the shortage of licensed practical nurses

Kaiser Permanente, UNITE Here! Local 5, and UH Maui launch apprentice program.

Contact: Laura M. Lott
808-343-2406 (mobile)

HONOLULU — Kaiser Permanente, UNITE Here! Local 5, and the University of Hawaii Maui College are pleased to announce the launch of their Practical Nurse Trainee Program, an 18-month program for current Kaiser Permanente employees who wish to pursue a career in the nursing field. The program’s inaugural cohort consists of 18 students, of which 10 are employees from various Kaiser Permanente departments and disciplines, including medical assistants and hospital aides.

The program’s curriculum will build and enhance technical skills in primary and specialty care areas. The goal of the program is to provide a pathway for employees to become licensed and fill open Kaiser Permanente licensed practical nurse positions across the state.

“Together with our partners UNITE Here! Local 5 and UH Maui, we are excited to kick off our first Practical Nurse Trainee Program,” said Dionicia Lagapa APRN, vice president of Ambulatory Operations for Kaiser Permanente in Hawaii. “This program is a way for our talented team members, who have already demonstrated a dedication to our patients, to continue to grow their careers at Kaiser Permanente while filling critical open positions.”

Hawaii has long dealt with a nursing shortage, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, there are an estimated 1,000 nurse vacancies in Hawaii. State labor data predicts that the demand for nurses will increase by 110 positions each year through 2030. Programs that make it possible for employees to develop their professional skills while on the job will help build the pipeline of nursing professionals in Hawaii.

“This program is designed to address finding qualified workers during a labor shortage,” said Daniel Kerwin from UNITE Here! Local 5. “What makes it unique is the fact that unionized Local 5 workers at Kaiser Permanente pay nothing for the program, suffer no loss in wages, and get schedule flexibility. We are growing our own thanks to the funding provided by the Ben Hudnall Memorial Trust and Kaiser Permanente.”

About UNITE Here! Local 5

Local 5 represents approximately 11,000 workers throughout Hawaii who work in the hospitality, health care, and food service industries and is an affiliate of UNITE HERE, an international union that represents over 300,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Chartered in 1938 by the Hotel and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International Union, Local 5 has remained one of the International Union’s most important and successful local unions and continues to be a key player in the International Union’s strategies and campaigns. Just as in the hotel industry, Local 5 members in Kaiser Permanente set the highest standard for wages and benefits in Hawaii’s health care industry, benefiting not only our members, but also all local health care workers. Since the 1950s, Local 5′s health care membership has grown to about 2,000 members — a large and important part of the Union’s membership.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.6 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.