Local high school graduates will earn bachelor’s degrees tuition-free while working full-time
PITTSBURGH (July 21, 2021) — Highmark Health today announced a new talent pipeline program which aims to create a positive economic impact by making education and employment more accessible to diverse communities. The program, "Straight to Business," will launch with a group of 10 high school graduates who will be gainfully employed at Highmark Health while obtaining bachelor's degrees, tuition-free.
In partnership with Gallup, Purdue University Global, and local educational partners, this is a unique program that will nurture young talent and build a future of diverse leadership at Highmark Health. The students accepted to the program will begin onboarding with a 9-week immersion experience at Highmark Health this summer. Their first semester at Purdue Global will begin in the fall of 2021, where they will be earning degrees in health administration or business.
"With Straight to Business, Highmark Health is investing in its community and developing future leaders, with no student debt upon graduation. This sets them on a path to a bright future as dynamic leaders that reflect the diversity of Highmark Health's customers, members and patients," said Larry Kleinman, EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer, Highmark Health. "Straight to Business is one of many steps Highmark Health is taking to level the playing field and develop talent at all skill levels."
In the Pittsburgh region, there are significant challenges for diverse students to access affordable education, higher than normal rates of unemployment for diverse youth, and substantial underrepresentation of minority groups among professionals who work in the health care field. As a Gallup Change and Transformation Award winner for two consecutive years, Highmark Health is proud to be a leader in addressing these issues with two nationally recognized organizations.
"Highmark Health is a very bold American corporate citizen," said Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO, Gallup. "Today marks the first day in the history of America that a US company has hired a cohort of promising future diverse leaders straight from high school—straight to business including a fully paid college degree on the job. This fixes old broken hiring systems through early identification of high-potential leaders and accelerated development."
Highmark Health is dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition process for the students as they learn the ins and outs of the working world. As part of the program, students will receive a dedicated Program Manager to guide them through benefits, finances, transportation, and other needs. In addition, they will receive personal laptops for their studies at Purdue Global.
"Our partnership with Gallup and the Straight to Business initiative is important to Purdue Global, and we are excited to now join forces with Highmark Health," said Jeffrey Buck, Purdue Global vice president and dean of the School of Business & Information Technology. "This collaboration draws on the distinctive strengths and core values shared by the respective organizations. Most importantly, it provides a real benefit to young people by reimagining the traditional pathway for accessing the benefits that result from work experience and post-secondary education."
Highmark Health partnered with community organizations such as Imani Christian Academy, Crossroads Foundation, Fund for Advancement of Minorities through Education (FAME), Urban Pathways Charter School, Negro Emergency Educational Drive (NEED), Westinghouse High School, Nazareth Prep, City Charter High School, Pittsburgh Promise, and the Neighborhood Academy to identify Associates for the inaugural Straight to Business cohort.
Highmark Health, a Pittsburgh, PA-based enterprise that employs 37,000 people who serve millions of Americans across the country, is the parent company of Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network, and HM Health Solutions. Highmark Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates provide health insurance to more than 6 million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware and New York as well as dental insurance, and related health products through a national network of diversified businesses. Allegheny Health Network is an integrated delivery network comprised of thirteen hospitals, more than 2,500 affiliated physicians, ambulatory surgery centers, an employed physician organization, home and community-based health services, a research institute, a group purchasing organization, and health and wellness pavilions in western Pennsylvania. HM Health Solutions is focused on meeting the information technology platform and other business needs of the Highmark Health enterprise as well as unaffiliated health insurance plans by providing proven business processes, expert knowledge, and integrated cloud-based platforms. To learn more, visit www.highmarkhealth.org.
Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world.
Purdue University Global delivers personalized online education tailored to the unique needs of adults who have work or life experience beyond the classroom, enabling them to develop essential academic and professional skills with the support and flexibility they need to achieve their career goals. It offers personalized paths for students to earn an associate, bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college credits and other considerations no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University's flagship institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates regional campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest Indiana, as well as serving science, engineering and technology students at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus. For more information, visit purdueglobal.edu.