Empowering Tomorrow's Healthcare Heroes Today Healthcare Workforce Development Program

The Healthcare Workforce Development Program, established in 2006 through a $1 million grant from Bank of America, tackles the challenges of low educational attainment, limited English-language proficiency and high unemployment in the primarily Hispanic-Latino communities of East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights and Montebello.

The program offers high school and college students, ages 15 to 25, hands-on hospital work experiences and workforce skills such as resume building, interview preparation and financial literacy. It also creates a rich pipeline of diverse healthcare professionals to begin their careers at Adventist Health White Memorial.

With Bank of America’s consistent support, now totaling more than $2 million, and additional assistance from Banc of California, City National Bank, Union Bank, Mechanics Bank, BMO and Wells Fargo, the program has aided over 2,000 young people. Consequently, 80% of the program participants have obtained jobs in healthcare.

Karen Melendez Story

Karen Melendez, 24, a Healthcare Workforce Development Program Volunteer since August 2022 and a senior at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), dreams of becoming a forensic pathologist.

Karen strides purposefully onto the surgical floor, where she receives mentorship and education learning about surgery.

Karen strides purposefully onto the surgical floor, where she receives mentorship and education learning about surgery.

Anticipating her future, Melendez decided to get her phlebotomy license in June, hoping to secure a job after she graduates from CSUN in spring 2024 and gain a year of practical experience before starting medical school in 2025. The phlebotomy course, with a fee of $2,000, was more than Melendez could afford, forcing her to take out a loan. This move, while strategic, meant that once her loan payments began in a few short months, she would be forced to give up her volunteer work for a paying job, which would hurt her medical school application.

Knowing her situation, Healthcare Workforce Development Program Manager Alicia Román encouraged Melendez to apply to the new paid stipend internship funded by Bank of America. Melendez was selected as an intern, and she could now offset her loan costs with the stipend, keeping her medical career dream alive.



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