First LPN Apprentice Program in U.S. Graduates First Class – Here in Syracuse!

Posted on October 21, 2020

Syracuse, NY (October 13, 2020) – When organizations work together in creative ways, it can have a very real impact on employee retention for the long-term care industry, as well as those individual people who provide care for others.

That’s exactly what happened when Syracuse, NY-based Loretto teamed up with the 1199SEIU, Centerstate CEO and BOCES to remove barriers for their Certified Nursing Assistants and Home Health Aides.

Loretto’s LPN Apprentice Program is the first-of-its-kind in the United States and first to be approved by the U.S. Department of Labor. And the program just graduated its very first class of LPNs on October 2, 2020.

“Countless healthcare workers over the years have told me that they would love to continue their education if only their family responsibilities and work schedule allowed for it,” said Benita Thompson, Administrative Organizer at 1199SEIU. “1199SEIU is proud to be part of a program that addresses workers’ concerns head-on. Now, workers can depend on job security and take advantage of creative scheduling opportunities that give them the freedom to go to school and finally achieve the academic goals that once seemed impossible.”

“We worked collaboratively with Loretto and 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, to create an innovative program to offer CNAs and HHAs the opportunity to advance their education while continuing to work and support their families with a level of support that was not previously been available,” said Adrienne Valenti, Field Coordinator for 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds. “We are proud to congratulate the graduates of the first LPN Apprenticeship program in the United States!”

As the entire healthcare industry is struggling to recruit and retain talent – which has been exacerbated during the OCVID-19 pandemic – programs like this are a beacon of hope for long-term care organizations.

Loretto LPN Educator Johaun Jackson, RN, said: “Being able to continue working while pursuing advanced education has been a big barrier for many on the frontlines. Programs like this will help Loretto and the healthcare industry to retain and advance our talented frontline workers and ensure a long-term workforce for the future.”

This LPN Apprentice Program also meets the Reimagine New York Commission “Pathways Pledge” call to action for New York State employers to develop real solutions to build back better in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission’s focus is on increasing opportunity in three essential ways: reducing the digital divide, improving access to healthcare, and creating more and better employment in an increasingly digital economy.

As part of Loretto’s ongoing workforce development strategy, and in line with the Pathway Pledge, Loretto has committed to:

  • Scale relationships with existing nontraditional workforce development partners to facilitate recruiting, interviews, and mentorship opportunities
  • Develop new relationships with New York State workforce development providers serving underserved communities
  • Explore creating new apprenticeship programs to provide pathways for underrepresented populations
  • And explore additional workforce supports for low-income workers or trainees, such as childcare and transportation subsidies


About Loretto

Loretto is a leader in comprehensive healthcare services in Central New York. As the fourth largest healthcare provider and the sixth largest employer in the region, the 2,500 exceptional people at Loretto’s 19 locations deliver extraordinary care to close to 10,000 people of all ages, income levels, and care needs in Onondaga and Cayuga counties each year. From adult day programs and short-term rehabilitation, to the home-like settings in its assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities, Loretto is actively investing in its employees, in medical research, and in new technologies to improve care in our community, Making Every Day Extraordinary. Loretto: Exceptional people. Extraordinary care. For more information on Loretto, please visit



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