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Partners HealthCare committed to increasing economic and educational opportunities

1/3/2012, 6:21 p.m.
Jennifer Herrera is a graduate of the Student Success Jobs Program....

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Jennifer Herrera is a graduate of the Student Success Jobs Program.

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Jennifer Herrera is a graduate of the Student Success Jobs Program.

Educational and economic opportunities are vital factors in building stronger, healthier communities and directly contribute to improved health.

As one of the state’s largest employers, Partners HealthCare takes the lead in nurturing and building a well-prepared and diverse work force and increasing economic and educational opportunities. The organization does so by providing young people, community residents and current employees opportunities to explore, prepare for and succeed in health care careers — careers that offer economic self-sufficiency, financial security and pathways to professional growth.

For example, last year nearly 400 young people worked in summer jobs in Partners hospitals, more than 60 Boston residents participated in and graduated from a rigorous job training and internship program, 47 middle school students participated in Health Explorers — a science-focused, week-long session at Camp Harbor View, and more than 7,500 current Partners’ employees participated in career advancement programs.

Last year, the organization’s founding hospitals — Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospitals — mentored more than 100 local students year-round who are pursuing careers in health care. MGH launched a new initiative called the MGH Bicentennial Scholars. This program is supporting 26 high school seniors from Boston, Chelsea and Revere who are due to graduate this year. It includes mentoring, tutoring and annual scholarships, and is designed to help young people interested in careers in science and medicine to enter, succeed and graduate from college. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, since its inception, the Student Success Jobs Programs has provided more than 80 scholarships to Boston students and 96 percent of the programs’ alumni have enrolled in or graduated from college.

“We are seeing tremendous results from some of these programs, yet there is still more work to do. Too many members of our communities do not have access to opportunities that enable success,” said Matt Fishman, vice president for Partners Community Health. “Brigham and Women’s and Mass General Hospitals and Partners believe that encouraging young people, community residents and our employees to engage in programs that develop and advance educational opportunities and careers in health care, is a high priority part of improving community health.”

In 2012, along with Partners Human Resources and hospitals, Partners Community Health — which leads the organization-wide commitment to improve the health and well-being of low-income and vulnerable populations by working with local organizations, the hospitals and 21 licensed and affiliated health centers — is looking forward to deepening its commitment to education and career development. Currently, more than 20 programs across the system for young people from Kindergarten through college provide opportunities to engage in science and build academic skills. These opportunities are changing lives and strengthening communities, and building on the successes of these programs is critical to improving and sustaining the health of the communities Partners serves.

To learn more about Partners Community Health, visit www.partners.org/Community/Default.aspx.