By Erin Meade
Earlier this month, Kaiser Permanente joined Johns Hopkins, IBM and the Univ. of Maryland in supporting Maryland State Senate legislation (SB 319) to increase opportunity for students across the state. This legislation, the Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) Act, expands the existing P-TECH pilot program that’s in place in four Baltimore City high schools. Kaiser Permanente served as a founding member of the city-wide coalition to advocate for the 2016 legislation that created the Baltimore pilot.
The P-TECH program allows high school students to earn both a high school degree and a two-year allied health care degree in a total of five years. Kaiser Permanente’s Government Relations and Community Benefit teams collaborated to rally support for the original legislation in partnership with other community leaders in Baltimore, including the University of Maryland and John Hopkins University. Kaiser Permanente emerged as a leading voice for P-TECH, allowing us to further build on our mission to improve total health in the communities we serve.
On Wednesday, February 8, Maritha Gay, Executive Director of External Affairs and Community Benefit for Kaiser Permanente, testified in support of the statewide expansion of P-TECH along with representatives from our corporate and community partners. She is scheduled to testify in support of the House companion legislation on Wednesday, February 22, as well. Kaiser Permanente’s Government Relations team is also working diligently in partnership with the governor’s staff and state legislators to garner support for the bill and ensure its passage.
“The corporate partners take seriously the obligations…to provide mentoring, collaborate on skills mapping and scope and sequence of academic course work, hire a dedicated staff person as liaison to each school, identify appropriate workplace experiences, and prepare to consider these well-trained young people for employment,” said the statement.
P-TECH improves career and college readiness for high school students, addressing one of the key areas of focus for Kaiser Permanente based on our 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). Educational attainment is a primary driver of health, helping provide today’s students with the knowledge and skills for living-wage jobs and ongoing economic opportunity. P-TECH strengthens our commitment to youth in Baltimore and across the state of Maryland.
Read the testimony here.