April 29, 2019

Innovative partnership creates jobs, transforms lives

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

Free job training at Goodwill Southern California helped Tatiana Martin gain a new career at Kaiser Permanente and hope for the future.

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 to improve her resume writing, interview attire, and interviewing skills. This helped her 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 was given the opportunity to obtain employment with a super organization. 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 initiative 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 to buying nutritious food.

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 are critical to delivering safe, quality care and ensuring hospital operational efficiency. These jobs, some of which exceeded a 50% turnover rate, typically have varied schedules.

“Our High Impact Hiring program connects a business need for a highly reliable workforce with a community need for good-paying jobs,” said John Yamamoto, vice president, Community Health, Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “We are trying to improve health and equity in our communities through the transformational power of work.” 

John Yamamoto at Goodwill Southern California forum.
John Yamamoto, left, discusses Kaiser Permanente’s High Impact Hiring initiative at Goodwill Southern California’s “Tapping the Talents of Unique Populations” forum in Los Angeles in February 2019.

The partnership is showing remarkable results, filling 90 positions to date with an approximately 90% retention rate.

“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 and retain the positions,” said Jessica Rodriguez, regional director of workforce development at Goodwill. “We link them to services they may need such as housing or transportation. We try to match the skills Kaiser Permanente is looking for.”

Other Kaiser Permanente Southern California medical centers are now pursuing similar high impact hiring collaborations with community-based organizations like Goodwill.

“Kaiser Permanente’s High Impact Hiring program is a great example of how a mission-driven organization can truly step up and improve lives,” said Patrick McClenahan, president and chief executive officer of Goodwill Southern California. “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.”