Interns with the Kaiser Permanente’s Mid-Atlantic States Youth Internship Program recently closed the summer with a celebration at the Center for Total Health. While not all could attend, there were 221 interns in this year’s program.Under the leadership of Tanya Edelin, Director of Reporting and Compliance in Community Health Benefits, the program entered its third year, expanding into Northern Virginia in collaboration with Urban Alliance for the first time. Uyen Truong and Adrinece Beard, interns at the Center for Total Health, followed up with Janny Ukaegbu, Internship Program Coordinator, after the celebration to learn more about the six-week internship.
Uyen Truong: What is the main purpose of this internship program?
Janny Ukaegbu: The point of our internship program is to ensure that our interns are gaining exposure, education, and experience. For Kaiser Permanente, we want to attract as much millennial talent as possible, and we are also trying to brand Kaiser Permanente as the best place to work and the best place for health care.
KP was ranked No. 1 on Indeed’s list of The Best Healthcare Companies to Work for in 2018, based on employee experience of health care companies. Read about it here.
Uyen: What was your favorite memory of the program?
Janny: I definitely want to say that my favorite memory was intern orientation. I got to, for the first time, facilitate the whole session. I could tell from their level of engagement that they were very enthusiastic about the opportunity, and I could also tell that there were some areas of opportunity for us, as Kaiser Permanente, to reach into struggling neighborhoods and communities, especially in D.C.
Ukaegbu shared stories of how gun violence and health conditions affected family members of the interns, forcing some of them to withdraw from the program.
“It kind of gave me that firsthand view of what can we do as an organization to make sure that we are covering a lot of communities that a lot of other organizations probably overlook,” she said.
Uyen: What is the main thing you hope the interns take away from this whole experience?
Janny Ukaegbu: The one biggest thing I would hope is just being open to learning.
Being a millennial herself, she said, “I know there’s a bad connotation with or attached to millennials and Gen Y, primarily because most of the older generations tend to think either we know it all or we’re not well prepared to be in the work place.”
However, despite this, she hoped the interns accept failure as a learning experience.
Adrinece Beard: What about the program improved from previous years to now?
Janny Ukaegbu: I think one of the main things we wanted to focus on was building a career pipeline. In previous years, we would onboard interns, train them, and send them right out, but there were no entry level positions when they were ready to be hired, or additional opportunities if they did want to come back for a second year of interning.
Ukaegbu closed with her thoughts on the impact the program will have on Kaiser Permanente. She believes that once the Baby Boomer generation leaves the workforce, a scarce number of people will be left to take on new initiatives.
“I think this program is preparing Kaiser Permanente for that shift so that we aren’t left at a deficit in the future,” she said.
At KP, we are serious about our internship and residency programs because many of our amazing people have come to Kaiser Permanente through them — even our CEO.
Our long history of providing meaningful starts to new careers for thousands of employees and physicians is what makes being ranked number 1 on Indeed’s “15 Top Rated Workplaces for Internships” list so rewarding.
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