Intern Crystal Mata listened to colleagues during a group orientation this summer as part of the KP Launch program, a Kaiser Permanente intern-based summer job program at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Fresno.
Mata, a Sunnyside High School student, is doing her internship in the optometry department at Kaiser.
“I wanted to experience a new environment,” said Mata of applying to the internship program and hopping to meet new people and learn more in health care.
According to Mike Silveira, HR leader for Kaiser Permanente Fresno area, the internship program in Fresno was “resuscitated” after being in hiatus for three years after the person running the program left.
“We really wanted to do it because it is a great program,” said Silveira of starting the program again this year.
Even thought the outreach to schools was limited this year, the eight-week program had nine students enrolled including some students who are going to college in the fall.
Students have to be between the ages of 16 and 19 years old to apply to the internship program.
“You have to be at least 16 when you apply,” he said adding that students can go to Kaiser’s website https://kplaunch.kaiserpermanente.org/ to apply to the program.
The internship program, which went from June 11 to the first week of August, received approximately 100 applications for the few spots that paid $11 an hour.
For Daniella Guerra, being accepted to the KC Launch internship program will help her save extra money as she goes to college this fall.
“I know I want to pursue something in healthcare, the business side of healthcare,” said Guerra of why she applied to the very competitive internship program.
Guerra, of Fresno, graduated from the Phillip J. Patiño School of Entrepreneurship high school and will be attending UC Irvine to study business economics.
Guerra was assigned to working in I.T. information technology at Kaiser.
“I also love Kaiser, their mission and vision,” Guerra said.
Guerra said the internship at Kaiser help her realize where she would like to go for the job market once she is done with college.
“I know that I love the business side of it (health care) but now I have to decide if I want to go into the IT side.,” she said.
According to Silveira, students intent came in to the hospital five days a week, with four of those days working at the department they were assigned to including non-medical careers that are available in health care, and the fifth day is an educational day were students listen to speakers or take a field trip.
Silveira said one of those field trips was to Kaiser’s innovation center in San Leandro where the interns got to see some of the stuff Kaiser’s employees are working on.
Silveira said the internship program aims at going to underserved communities and working with students who maybe aren’t expose to the same opportunities as students who might be in higher social economic areas.
According to the program’s website, its vision is “to positively impact the lives of young adults from backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in health care careers, and build a pipeline of diverse talent that will become future leaders in health care.”
“Kaiser has a big commitment to cultural diversity,” Silveira said, adding that there is a very diverse population for their patients and members and employees.
“We wanted to encourage students who are interested in the medical profession to get into it, from all different walks of life, from all different circumstances. So this program really aims at trying to do that kinds of work in the community,” he said.
According to the program’s website, the goals of the program are to: Introduce underrepresented and low-income high school and undergraduate interns to careers in health professions; Provide opportunities for interns to develop and foster professional and community leadership skills in a supportive environment; Help interns to obtain practical job skills and experiences that will help them to successfully pursue employment in the health professions; and Encourage interns that experience socioeconomic challenges as barriers to career success to pursue higher education and career development.
Silveira hopes to expand the program a little bit including doing more outreach to high schools, talk to students and counselors about the program for next year.