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Innovative Partnership Creates Jobs, Transforms Lives

Kaiser Permanente collaborates with Goodwill Southern California to provide good-paying jobs for people with barriers to employment.

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For Tatiana Martin, a single parent of 2 young children, a lack of work experience and child care challenges hindered her ability to succeed in the work world. However, through an innovative partnership with Goodwill Southern California and Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Martin received free workshop training on how to improve her resume writing, interview attire, and interviewing skills. This helped her recently apply for and obtain a good-paying job with benefits as a housekeeping attendant at the Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center, setting her life on a new path.

“Sometimes you have to struggle to learn how to move forward,” Martin said. “I’ve always wanted to work at Kaiser Permanente. I was given the opportunity to obtain employment with a super organization and to be surrounded by great people. With the great health care my children and I receive, I could not be more thankful. My financial stability has a jump-start from here.”

The collaboration is part of Kaiser Permanente Southern California's High Impact Hiring program to attract and retain excellent workers while expanding opportunities for people who experience barriers to employment in under-resourced communities the organization serves. Such barriers include little-to-no work history, a physical disability, lack of housing or transportation, expensive child care, or a criminal history.  

By partnering with job training and workforce placement nonprofit organizations such as Goodwill, Kaiser Permanente Southern California is working to improve the upstream economic conditions that impact health. Creating jobs can lead to better economic security so individuals and families can meet their basic needs for health and well-being – from accessing quality health care and receiving an education, to buying nutritious food.

Filling a community need

In January 2018, Goodwill began helping Kaiser Permanente Southern California match work-ready individuals for entry-level positions at the Fontana, Ontario, and Riverside medical centers. These positions in environmental services (housekeeping), the appointment center, and food and nutrition services often have varied schedules. As part of the Goodwill partnership, the Riverside Medical Center recently added the licensed vocational nurse role to this workforce pipeline. These jobs, some of which exceeded a 50% turnover rate, are critical to delivering safe, quality care and ensuring hospital operational efficiency.

“Our High Impact Hiring program connects a business need for a highly reliable workforce with a community need for good-paying jobs. We are trying to improve health and equity in our communities through the transformational power of work.” 

 -- John Yamamoto, vice president, Community Health and Government Relations, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals

Impressive results

The partnership is showing remarkable results, filling 93 positions to date with about a 90% retention rate. Jessica Rodriguez, regional director of workforce development at Goodwill, said preparing job candidates calls for a comprehensive approach.  

“We work closely with individuals with multiple barriers on the front end, offering employment readiness workshops and soft-skills training to help them apply for the jobs and retain the positions,” Rodriguez said. “We link them to services they may need such as housing or transportation. We also try to match the qualities and skills Kaiser Permanente is looking for.”

Patrick McClenahan

The partnership’s success has inspired other Kaiser Permanente medical centers to pursue similar high impact hiring collaborations with community-based organizations like Goodwill. Patrick McClenahan, president and chief executive officer of Goodwill Southern California, looks forward to seeing the relationship with Kaiser Permanente Southern California continue to grow.

“Kaiser Permanente’s High Impact Hiring program is a great example of how a mission-driven organization can truly step up and improve lives,” McClenahan said. “I challenge other employers to follow their lead and join us in making good jobs available to those who need a hand, and an opportunity." 


New Approach to Boost Jobs Attracts Local Employers’ Interest

Kaiser Permanente Southern California leaders recently publicly shared the organization’s high impact hiring strategy and the Goodwill Southern California partnership as examples of a scalable approach businesses can do to help individuals gain employment or return to work. 

John Yamamoto, vice president, Community Health and Government Relations, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, participated in a panel during Goodwill’s “Tapping the Talents of Unique Populations” forum in Los Angeles. Jennifer Marquez, talent acquisition manager, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, served as a panelist at Goodwill’s similar forum in Riverside.

At the LA event, Goodwill’s Chief Executive Officer Patrick McClenahan, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and a broad coalition of nonprofit organizations and public agencies announced the “Everyone Works” Campaign – a collective commitment to provide employment to 15,000 people experiencing homelessness in the LA region by 2022.

“We applaud Goodwill Southern California and the coalition of nonprofit organizations for challenging public and private sector employers to transform communities by connecting their workforce pipeline programs with organizations preparing people for work,” Yamamoto said. “Our experience shows that a win-win-win for our business, our employees, and the community is possible.”

Jennifer Marquez (3rd from left)

“We want to contribute to the movement,” Marquez said. “After the forum, I had a line of employers waiting to talk with me about how we set up our partnership with Goodwill at Riverside Medical Center. I would never have dreamed a year ago when we started partnering with Goodwill that it would develop into such a dynamic opportunity to improve the lives of people in the communities we serve.”