Kaiser Permanente San Jose Support Services Administrator Terri Simpson-Tucker, pictured above, prepared Marcos Ibanez for a KP job.
There were tears and cheers in a Kaiser Permanente San Jose conference room recently, as six Silicon Valley adults graduated from a unique federally-funded job skills enhancement program.
The graduates, all between the ages of 25 and 45, spent six weeks as interns and were mentored in various departments at the Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center.
A federal grant of $150,000 supported the training program, which is overseen by the Santa Clara County Community Health Partnership. Fifty adults — who are looking for jobs and perhaps a different career — signed up for the program and most attended free classes at San Jose State University on various health-related topics. Six got internships at Kaiser Permanente San Jose, thanks to support from the medical center’s leadership.
Moving People up the Economic Ladder
“The trainees will thrive as a result of their work and friendships here at KP San Jose,” said Irene Chavez, senior vice president and area manager of the Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center. “We hope that they’re able to leverage their experiences and skills into better-paying positions.”
Kaiser Permanente San Jose made these internships available to help train and educate adults for non-clinical positions in health care. They did mostly “back office” work in Hospital Administration, Nutritional Services, Human Resources, Pediatrics, and Facility Services.
“The hope here is to move people up the economic ladder, which benefits them and the economy,” said Angelica Diaz, the partnership’s director of Community Programs.
One of the interns, Ofelia Perez of Los Gatos, supported clerical activities for a certified nurse assistant in the hospital’s Pediatrics Department.
“I really learned about putting patients first,” Perez said. “I hope the skills I picked up can get me a health care job in the future.”
One of the six adult trainees — Marcos Ibanez— was hired with Kaiser Permanente Recruitment Services for a temporary position. All will be considered for a position, if jobs open in the departments where they were interns.
Ibanez said he quit his low-paid sign painting job to sign up for the training and mentorship program. He was an intern for Support Services Administrator Terri Simpson-Tucker.
“Marcos was so professional and attentive to detail. I coached and mentored him to earn a job at Kaiser Permanente,” she said.
Simpson-Tucker shared a story about him that impressed her: “One day his truck broke down, and he ran all the way to Kaiser Permanente San Jose to be on time. That’s a strong work ethic.”
At the graduation ceremony, each intern-trainee was accompanied by leaders of the department where they trained. Strong bonds were evident. Their mentors praised their work, and the interns expressed how they took away valuable lessons.
Perez summarized her experience for the crowd at the graduation ceremony. “I learned this: It’s not my job, it’s not your job, it’s our job.”