Community Benefits Report - CHAMP

Building the Pipeline for the Health Care Leaders of Tomorrow

“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.”

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.

As a result, a large number of young adults in the Los Angeles area are both unskilled and unemployed. 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.

“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.”

For more than 10 years, the Office of Community Affairs at Children’s Hospital 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. These efforts have provided thousands of young and unemployed individuals in the community an opportunity to participate in internship, mentorship and work experience programs.

This decade of partnerships set the groundwork for the development of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Careers in Health and Mentorship Program (CHAMP), a partnership with Bank of America.

“The development of CHAMP was twofold: one, to address the fast-growing health care management career options and workforce needs in our community, and two, to strengthen and expand our hospital’s health careers pipeline activities 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,” Gomez says.

Outreach for the program was conducted at numerous venues, including California State University, Los Angeles; Los Angeles Southwest Community College; Los Angeles City College; the Bresee Foundation Career Center; the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; various family resource centers; Job Corps sites; and various community events. A robust social media campaign promoted the program, and a dedicated page was created on the Children’s Hospital website. The outreach and recruitment yielded 116 applications in two weeks.

“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 were chosen based on specific measurable criteria, as well as thoughtful consideration of their life experiences. Through this rigorous screening process and interviews, 20 interns were selected to participate in the three-month program, which included a comprehensive professional development workshop series and a 100-hour paid internship.

Mentors from several hospital departments, including Government and Public Policy, General Accounting, Foundation, the Office of Safety and Security, and Health Information Management volunteered to provide supervision and training. Internship duties included preparing reports and presentations and performing an array of clerical and administrative support tasks. In addition to acquiring hands-on job training, the interns gained poise and confidence from the workshop series, which addressed job readiness. Interns also actively participated in networking events and industry-related conferences.

“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.”

After completing the internship, CHAMP interns received job transitioning and placement services, coordinated by RightSourcing at Children’s Hospital. More than half of the 20 CHAMP interns are pursing higher education, and 12 interns were employed by the hospital immediately after their internships.

“I am a proud CHAMP alumnus and an eager college student,” Aleksanyan says. “I’m also now an excited new hire working for the Accounting department at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles!”