It was graduation day, again, for 14 post-high school teens on October 27, 2017. This time for a school-to-career transition program called Bridge to Employment. The goal of this pilot program, a partnership between JEVS Human Services and Einstein Healthcare Network, is to place youth on a path leading to career opportunities, financial stability, and personal fulfillment in the health care field.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the ceremony was that program participants are now going into jobs. Upon completing JEVS’s two-month comprehensive educational and skills training phase, then a month-long, hands-on externship experience at Einstein, these eager young adults were placed into entry-level positions as patient services representatives throughout Einstein’s network of medical facilities. The program prepared them to be well-rounded and effectively serve as the first-point-of-contact for patients upon entering the facility by covering related soft skills, customer service know-how, and topics of instruction including insurance, medical terminology, ethics/HIPAA regulations, medical office database, office essentials and more.
Participants of Bridge to Employment were identified by school guidance counselors at Kensington Health Sciences Academy and YouthBuild as individuals who, although facing adversity in their life and home situation, show strong potential for overcoming challenges and making the most of all the opportunities being offered through the program.
“I am so very proud of our students, and beyond grateful to Einstein for joining JEVS in recognizing, and nurturing, the potential of these youths that otherwise could have easily fallen through the cracks,” said Alia Sutton-Bey, JEVS Bridge to Employment youth supports coordinator at JEVS. “From poverty to childhoods riddled with crime and tragedy, many of these students have overcome challenges most of us shudder to imagine—all before they even reached their 20s. I am amazed at how resilient these young people are. It is truly an honor for me to have the opportunity to help provide them with the connections and independence they hunger for.”
From the start, JEVS and Einstein focused on ensuring Bridge to Employment was not just a run-of-the mill job training program. With an eye to opening doors for youth to have viable careers in the medical field, the partners placed tremendous emphasis on empowering students with customized training, giving them the specific skills, experience, knowledge and patient empathy that would prepare them for employment in the Einstein network. Einstein and JEVS also recognized in each of the students an undeniable drive to rise out of their own challenging situations by pursuing a path of helping others and, therefore, they developed a curriculum that would nurture that drive and give students a foundation for future career advancement.
“It’s a huge win for us because, at the end of the day we’ll have eager, highly capable employees that are specially trained in the Einstein culture and methods and ready to fill hard-to-fill positions,” said Steven Sivak, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Einstein Physicians. “But the biggest victory for us comes from knowing we are creating positive futures for these students while at the same time bettering the neighborhoods in which we operate. Everyone wins here… Einstein, these amazing young men and women, the patients that will have a positive, caring experience, and the community that now has hard-working, caring young adults.”
“JEVS has always been committed to skilling up and placing our students—working with potential employers from the get-go is critical to the success of programs like this one,” said Jay Spector, President and CEO, JEVS Human Services. “That’s why Einstein was an ideal partner. They have been a critical part of everything from developing the curriculum and doing the training, to setting up mentors and inspiring students to see the long-term career potential that comes from this first employment opportunity. Our hope is that this program can act as a model for future school-to-career transitions, and we couldn’t be prouder of working with students from high school health career programs to move them down a path to a lifelong career in the field.”