Military Veterans Transition to Serving at Home with LVN to RN Apprenticeship
Military veterans have unique skills that make them invaluable to our workforce. But all too often matching veterans with the right job opportunities can be challenging. Army veteran turned union apprentice Roderick Omari is one of the success stories. Omari currently works as a Registered Nurse at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at Mule Creek State Prison.
But when Omari first entered the workforce, his life looked a lot different. He was working overtime as a Manager at Home Depot to make ends meet. Omari then tried his hand at banking and wholesale lending, but he didn’t “find much enjoyment” in the corporate world.
When the recession hit in 2007, Omari decided to take his career in a new direction. He joined the army and was stationed at a hospital in San Antonio.
Omari noticed that most of the patients weren’t taken care of by the doctors. Instead it was the nurses that patients came to rely on and trust for their care. From there, Omari decided that he wanted to go to school to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). He wanted a better life for his two children and saw nursing as a pathway forward.
While he worked at the hospital, Omari joined SEIU Local 1000, because he believed it would give his family the opportunity to have a better life. After becoming a member, Omari participated in Local 1000’s groundbreaking LVN-to-RN Apprentice Program.
One major perk of the program is that LVN apprentices retain their permanent positions while in the program and receive time off without loss of pay (“20/20 time”) for a combination of classroom theory, clinical experience and on-the job training.
The opportunity for Omari to further his education while continuing to work is just one of many benefits of union membership.
“Programs like the LVN-to-RN Apprentice Program gave me the motivation and sense of confidence to pursue my dreams in a way I never thought was possible,” said Omari, RN 2018 Apprentice Graduate. "Building my career helped me become a better provider for my family. I'm grateful for the opportunity my union membership provided."
Over the next few years, Omari hopes to be promoted to a nursing supervisor, a position he wouldn’t even be considered for if he hadn’t completed the LVN-to-RN Apprentice Program.
“As a father and provider, I’ve always felt a strong responsibility to give back to others,” said Omari. “The poverty level in California is among the highest in the nation and the idea that people can achieve a better life, regardless of where they start out, is central to who we are as people.”
Omari feels confident that he can achieve whatever he dreams of next with the support of Local 1000 behind him. He hopes their collective voices joined together for justice will continue to create positive social change and a better life for workers.
"Over time, I learned to treat your whole life like a career," said Omari. "It was a long road but I can see myself staying where I am now for another ten years at least."