Children's Hospital Los Angeles Brings Life-long Career Skills to Los Angeles Youth

CHLA's Pipeline for Health Care Leaders of TomorrowThe original version of this story is featured in Community Benefit Report, 2013 issue (page 20).

Recent studies show that in Los Angeles, 22 percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 live in poverty. Among those ages 20 to 24, unemployment is 9.4 percent, compared to 6.1 percent for adults ages 20 to 64. Meanwhile, 23 percent of adults ages 18 to 24 do not have a high school diploma or GED equivalent.

Large Demand for Knowledge-based Workforce

As a result, a large number of young adults in the Los Angeles area are both unskilled and unemployed. “Throughout high school, I found myself lacking the tools I needed to achieve something bigger and better,” says Marine Aleksanyan. “Resources for education and career exploration at my school and in my community were close to none.” With an increasing demand for a knowledge-based workforce, individuals without at least a high school diploma will be unable to compete with today’s highly skilled labor pool.

"The skills I gained from the workshops—effective public speaking, business communication, dressing for success and leadership—will benefit me every day of my life."

CHLA Helps Today’s Youth Succeed in Healthcare Industry

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, the Office of Community Affairs at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has collaborated with local high schools, colleges and universities, workforce investment boards (WIBs), youth development organizations and citywide initiatives such as the mayor’s Hire LA’s Youth program to change these statistics. For more than 10 years, CHLA has provided thousands of young and unemployed individuals in the community an opportunity to participate in internships, mentorships and work experience programs—helping to develop the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Careers in Health and Mentorship Program (CHAMP), a partnership with Bank of America.

“Success in the future of our industry lies in the youth of today,” says Rolando Gomez, manager of Community Benefit, Government and Public Policy at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “As a major employer, we are in a prime position to provide opportunities to help develop the future workforce in the health care industry—one that is reflective of our patient population and the diversity of our local community in Los Angeles.”

The development of CHAMP addresses the fast-growing health care management career options and workforce needs in the Los Angeles community and strengthen and expands our hospital’s health careers by focusing on providing entry-level work opportunities for young adults from diverse and underserved areas in the Metro and South regions of Los Angeles.

Marine Aleksanyan, CHAMP Alumnus, Benefits Every Day from Lessons Learned

“I learned about the CHAMP program while attending California State University, Northridge, working on achieving a Bachelor of Science in finance,” Aleksanyan explains. “Becoming a first-generation college student filled half of my motivation; working for a place like Children’s Hospital would fill the rest, and so I applied and was selected.”

Interns are chosen based on specific measurable criteria, as well as thoughtful consideration of their life experiences. Through the rigorous screening process and interviews, 20 out of 116 applications were selected to participate in the three-month program with several hospital departments, including Government and Public Policy, General Accounting, Foundation, the Office of Safety and Security, and Health Information Management.

“Being part of CHAMP was one of the best experiences in my life. I had the opportunity of working in the Accounting department at Children’s Hospital, and I learned an immense amount from my amazing mentor,” says Aleksanyan. “The skills I gained from the workshops—effective public speaking, business communication, dressing for success and leadership—will benefit me every day of my life.”