How One Partnership is Stabilizing the Healthcare Workforce

A woman in a dark jacket and glasses speaks at a podium. A banner in the background reads "H-CAP Healthcare Career Advancement Program. H-CAP Education Association."
Author Darnice Marsh, labor-management partnership coordinator in the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, opens an H-CAP conference.

The Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP) is a labor-management partnership established by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and various national healthcare industry employers that currently serves over half a million workers. Its purpose is to advance innovation, quality, and equity in the healthcare profession. H-CAP is one example of a labor-management partnership that aims to bring together healthcare industry employers, local unions representing healthcare workers, training organizations, colleges and government representatives, all with the objective of making the industry a better place for workers, patients and employers.

Panel Discussion

H-CAP recently celebrated 20 years of work with a national symposium entitled "Impact of Labor-Management Partnership on Stabilizing the Healthcare Workforce." I was privileged to moderate a conversation on the "Impact of Labor-Management Partnerships." This session explored how the collaborative efforts between labor unions and management are crucial in shaping policies, developing programs to enhance workplace conditions and influencing funding allocation within organizations.

 Six women sit in chairs on a stage for a panel discussion.
Panelists from left: Cenetra Pickens, Delores Prescott, Merissa Clyde, Sylvia Liang, Jane Hopkins and Darnice Marsh

The panelists, representing diverse perspectives, included Jane Hopkins (SEIU 1199NW president), Cenetra Pickens (nursing residency coordinator for Kaiser in Washington), Merissa Clyde (CEO of the 775 Benefits Group), Delores Prescott (healthcare worker and SEIU 1199 NW Member) and Sylvia Liang (home care worker in Washington). Their insights provided attendees with a comprehensive picture of the successful partnerships and emphasized the win-win nature of these collaborations.

As a full-time care worker for her son with autism, Sylvia Liang's compelling story added a personal touch to the discussion and highlighted the profound impact of successful labor-management partnerships. For Sylvia and other workers in the homecare sector, many of whom have been excluded and marginalized, H-CAP and partnerships like it are providing the opportunity to earn a living wage, affordable benefits and paid time off. Her firsthand experience underscored the long-term effects on professional development and the positive economic impact that a good job had on her family. Sylvia also emphasized how these partnerships help retain skilled workers and support employer recruitment efforts.

Two women stand side-by-side, smiling. Their nametags read "Darnice" and "Danielle."
H-CAP Executive Director Danielle Copeland with Darnice Marsh.

The symposium also covered topics such as supportive services in apprenticeship programs, retention and the impact of artificial intelligence on the healthcare industry.

Want to learn more? Information on H-CAP and its upcoming activities is available on the HCAP website at

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Labor-Management Partnership Program supports employers and workers in collaboratively addressing complex organizational issues. Learn more about how we can help workers and your organization thrive.

Darnice Marsh is the labor-management partnership coordinator in the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

A special thank you to H-CAP for their contributions to this blog post. This post does not constitute an endorsement of H-CAP by the Department of Labor.