May 20, 2019

More than $20 million in grants for healthier communities

Kaiser Permanente pledges grants to support education, training, and job readiness for young people from underrepresented and low-income communities.

Participants in a Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County on-the-job training program take a break.

In South King County, Washington, there are over 20,000 16- to 24-year-olds who are not in school or working, and they face multiple barriers to finishing school or getting a job. Over the next 2 years, a Kaiser Permanente grant establishing a pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship program through the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County will help teens and young adults to get help in overcoming those barriers.

“This program will connect young people to basic needs such as stable housing, transportation, and child care,” said Dot Fallihee, interim CEO of the WDC. “We’ll provide targeted training with placements into apprenticeships in manufacturing and health care, which will offer opportunities to improve their wages, stability, and overall health.”

The grant supporting the workforce program is one of 16 investments totaling more than $20 million that Kaiser Permanente will award to community-based and national charitable organizations in the coming months. These investments reflect the understanding that better health outcomes begin where health starts — in communities where people live, work, learn, and play.

Big-picture view of community health

“As a mission-based nonprofit organization, we have the responsibility to look at the big picture when it comes to community health,” said Cynthia Telles, PhD, Community Health Committee chair for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals Boards of Directors. “We know that education, training, and good jobs are important to the health of our communities.”

The Kaiser Permanente grants include funding for:

  • Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, which will work with a consortium of education, business, and community organizations to create a pathway to apprenticeship and multi-trade apprenticeship programs. Homeless youth, young parents, and youth who have been in foster care or juvenile justice systems will receive high priority for this program.
  • Oakland Unified School District and its Thriving Students Initiative, which will expand the district’s Community Schools model, sustain the nationally recognized African American Male Achievement program, strengthen school-based health centers, and help address the recent increase in student homelessness.
  • Community Health Councils, which will implement a Youth of Color Workforce Development Pipeline program to help low-income high school students in South Los Angeles prepare for jobs in local community health centers.

Improving conditions for health in our communities

“We are excited to help young people in our communities who have faced great obstacles to finishing school and finding stable work,” said Bechara Choucair, MD, Kaiser Permanente chief community health officer. “These grants will help them further their education and improve their economic situation, and ultimately their health.”

Quarterly grants such as these are part of the contributions that Kaiser Permanente makes each year to improve community health. Kaiser Permanente focuses on serving those most in need, collaborating to improve the conditions for health and equity in the communities we serve, and applying technology to create community-based solutions. Kaiser Permanente also serves the community through a range of programs including: Medicaid, charitable health coverage, medical financial assistance, and medical research. In 2018, Kaiser Permanente contributed nearly $2.8 billion to improve health and wellness in communities across the country.