The program will offer a path to career opportunity.
Isaiah Gonzalez graduated from Kensington Health Sciences Academy last year, and had been working in a sneaker store and as a bellman and airport shuttle driver for a hotel.
Then, he learned from a few of his former school administrators about Bridge to Employment, a program offered by JEVS Human Services.
JEVS partnered with Einstein Healthcare Network to offer Gonzalez and 17 other recent high school graduates a path to financial stability, career opportunity and personal fulfillment in the healthcare field.
The students recently completed a two-month educational and skills training phase at Orleans Technical College, 2770 Red Lion Road, and are in the middle of a month-long hands-on externship experience at Einstein.
The best part of the program, according to Gonzalez, came when he heard from Alia Sutton-Bey, a JEVS youth services coordinator.
“We’re going to get you a job,” he recalls her saying.
Gonzalez and the others, all of whom are graduates of Kensington Health Sciences Academy or YouthBuild, will work as patient services representatives for Einstein’s 140 outpatient practices.
“This is more like a career you can build on,” Gonzalez said, comparing it to his former jobs. “It’s a bigger opportunity.”
JEVS and Einstein have placed an emphasis on empowering students with customized training, giving them the specific skills, experience, knowledge and patient empathy that is preparing them for employment in the Einstein network.
“We’re bridging that gap between high school to the work world,” Sutton-Bey said. “They’re getting hands-on training at Einstein and have guaranteed employment at the end of the program. Einstein is a great partner.”
Dr. Steven Sivak, an internist chief medical officer for Einstein, said he welcomes eager, highly capable employees who are specially trained in the Einstein culture and methods and ready to step into hard-to-fill positions. These services reps are often the first and last people a patient will see.
“These folks are the face of the practice,” he said. “This program really appealed to us. It’s a win-win. They are trained on our systems. The investment will pay dividends.”
Bridge to Employment is funded by Einstein and the Lenfest Foundation.
JEVS will evaluate the pilot session at the end of the program. If successful, the agency will look to continue the program with Einstein and, possibly, expand it with other partners.
Beth Lacher, manager of youth and gateway programs at JEVS, described the students as bright and motivated, adding that she was happy to see the expressions of the students when they received their Einstein IDs.
“There was sheer joy on their faces. They were so proud of themselves, as they should be,” she said. “The recruitment process was very intense. They’re guaranteed full-time employment. They understand what an opportunity this is.”
For now, Sivak is pleased that Einstein is creating positive futures for young men and women.
“We saw an opportunity to train people who are motivated. It’s really exciting,” he said.
In the classroom, the students learned professional development and customer service, Microsoft Office essentials, ethics and HIPAA regulations, medical terminology and patient-centered care.
During the externship, students are receiving hands-on practice in the healthcare field and learning “The Einstein Way,” which is “More than Medicine.” They get paid $9 an hour, then will earn $15 an hour when they are hired permanently.
Patient services reps professionally greet patients, complete the check-in and check-out processes, schedule appointments, verify insurance and referrals, collect payments, organize charts, answer phones and relay messages, order supplies, scan documents for patients’ electronic charts and receive and sort correspondence.
Gonzalez, 20, is serving his externship at an Einstein practice at 7131–35 Frankford Ave. While his two older brothers have run afoul of the law, he plans to show his parents and older sister he is planning a bright future for himself.
“It makes me not want to make the same mistakes, to make my parents proud. I feel more like a man able to support my family,” he said. “It’s been a blessing to be a part of this program. I’m ready and prepared to start working for Einstein. We’ll be dealing with real people. I’m looking forward to it. I feel great.” ••