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Health Care New Castle County News

ChristianaCare launches internship program with Chase grant

Katie Tabeling
ChristianaCare Newark Campus, April 2023 | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

ChristianaCare has launched a new program to inspire teens to explore other careers, namely through an internship with food and nutrition. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

WILMINGTON — ChristianaCare has received a $100,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase to launch a new training program for Delaware teens that culminates in a nine-month paid internship in the health care system’s food and nutrition department.

The pilot program called Health Impacts is focused on teenagers between ages 16 and 18 from low-to-moderate-income homes in the Wilmington area. Participants should expect to learn about career opportunities in the health care sector, with a focus on the nutrition division.

“The community view of ChristianaCare is white coats and scrubs, but there’s so many people that make up the fabric of the health care system,” ChristianaCare Community Health Education and Education Manager Kamela Smith said. “It’s important for us to treat our neighbors with dignity, and to work with our youth can help us develop more homegrown talent. We want to break down barriers and expose them to a new opportunity.”

ChristianaCare is partnering with Network Connect, a nonprofit that focuses on workforce development for youth in high needs areas, to identify potential applicants. In addition, Smith said some colleagues are taking tours of local high schools and talking with students on career interests and informational interviews.

“Recruitment right now is actually exceeding our expectations, because we were earmarking for about 20 [teens] but we have more interest now,” Smith said. “It’s a good problem to have, and we don’t want to turn them away. And if they don’t work it out in this program, we can point them to a different program.”

Network Connects will train the participants in a six-week program about soft skills and ethics in the workplace. ChristianaCare employees will also offer training on what it means to work at the health care system.

Then participants are assigned a workforce development practitioner during their nine-month internship to serve as their coach. Those coaches will help identify places where the training can be used in day-to-day practices. Teens will also receive work-based learning assignments to develop skills like interviewing, building relationships and a strong work ethic.

“The goal is to offer a possible transition into a full-time position,” Smith added. “Our food and nutrition program is filled with exceptional caregivers that are excellent models for these students. And this could also be a pathway: a student in this internship could be looking to be a nutritionist or dietician. So many possibilities can be born from this pathway.”

Health Impacts is the latest addition to ChristianaCare’s suite of workforce development programs geared for Delaware’s workforce. The health care system offers Delaware Health Career Collaborative, a free two-week summer program for rising 10th, 11th and 12th grade students to experience what it would look like to work in neurology, cardiology, oncology and other fields. Spun out of that was the Nursing Career Collaborative, where high school students interested in nursing can get a more hands-on experience.

JPMorgan Chase’s support of Health Impacts is part of a $30 billion Racial Equity Commitment by the global financial services provider to help close the racial wealth gap and advance economic inclusion among communities that are underserved in the country. 

“As one of Delaware’s largest employers, we are incredibly focused on creating a more equitable and inclusive economy for more residents across the region,”  JPMorgan Chase Vice President–Program Officer Jac Rivers said in a statement. “Building a skilled workforce and ensuring that all people, regardless of background, have access to the support they need is critical to these efforts. Together with a dynamic community partner like ChristianaCare, and the launch of [Health Impacts] we can truly help unlock the opportunity for more Delaware residents to access meaningful jobs and lasting economic growth.”

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