Landscapers Plant a Seed and Watch It Grow

kaiser-gardeners-education-fund_600pxEvery good landscaper knows that if you plant a seed and nurture it, you’ll soon have a beautiful garden. Sometimes, that seed is an idea that can be nurtured along the same way. That’s exactly what happened when a group of Kaiser Permanente landscapers took the initiative to approach our Joint Education Fund about an idea that would give them the skills they need to work through the new challenges they face during the COVID crisis.

When the pandemic first hit, wait times on equipment repairs increased as parts took longer to get shipped and outside shops took longer to fix and return the equipment that landscapers needed to maintain the grounds at Kaiser. 

“We knew we needed to find a way to be self-sufficient and make repairs ourselves,” said Jeff Sawyer, a landscaper at Kaiser for one year. “We went to the Education Fund with our idea because we knew we could save time and money by ordering our own parts and repairing them in-house.”

The Education Fund staff helped track down a small engines class instructor, and now the landscapers will attend a new weekend class in January to learn this valuable skill. The landscapers are looking forward to spending more time on other projects, like creating healing gardens and beautification projects that will help patients going through hard times.

“I’m so glad I’m part of a Union that bargained a continuing education fund like this,” said Lee Gordon, who has worked at Kaiser for 23 years. “I’m proud of the work I do to keep our grounds beautiful, and it’s great to have the opportunity to improve my skills without the money having to come out of my own pocket, especially during a pandemic.”

The Education Fund is a partnership between 16 healthcare industry employers and 6 SEIU local unions, including Local 49. Employer contributions provide continuing education and training benefits for over 100,000 eligible healthcare workers.

Learn more about our collectively-bargained joint employer education fund and how to continue your education at!

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