Kaiser Permanente is committed to improving the health of our communities and making them among the healthiest in the nation. We create opportunities for our members and communities to be healthy by partnering within Kaiser Permanente and with community groups and institutions. One recent example of a successful partnership is our support of an innovative college and career readiness program, P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School), which helps prepare young people for long-term success. We support efforts such as this because we know people who are educated tend to live longer, healthier lives than those who are not.
In 2016, our Community Health, Government Relations, and Human Resources departments came together with education advocates and university partners in Maryland to actively support legislation in the Maryland General Assembly to help fund and create several P-TECH schools. P-TECH schools blend high school, college and work experience, enabling students to graduate high school, with both a diploma and a no-cost Associate’s degree. These students can then enter the workforce directly or get a head start toward a Bachelor’s degree.
Once the bill was passed, working with our Human Resources Department, Community Health coordinated with several major institutions —including Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland, as well as corporate health care, a community college, and the state education agency —to support a P-TECH program at Baltimore’s City’s historic Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. Together we are committed to:
- Help develop a workplace learning curriculum for students;
- Hire an employee to work with the school to support the students;
- Provide internships and mentors to the students; and,
- Hire some of these well-trained young people for employment.
The Dunbar P-TECH program opened in the fall of 2016 with 50 students. Today, more than 145 students are enrolled. The first class is expected to graduate in 2022. Looking ahead to our areas of need and job growth, we are investing in the job skills and training that well-qualified employees should have. We are committed to putting P-TECH graduates “first in line” for jobs once they have completed the program.
Community Health and Government Relations teamed up again this year to support legislation to help launch more P-TECH schools in Maryland, and we were proud to join Maryland Governor Larry Hogan as he signed the bill into law.
Supporting our youth is an important part of our mission. By advocating for youth education, employment and training opportunities, we are helping create healthy, thriving local communities.