Bridging the gap between education and health care in Maryland

Externship program helps fuel new careers

Jessica Galeano is a 16-year veteran science teacher at Loch Raven High School in Baltimore County, Maryland. She normally spends her summers planning for the year ahead, but this year she engaged in a four-week externship program with UnitedHealthcare, learning about careers and opportunities available to their students in the health care industry.

“As an educator, I’m someone who naturally loves to expand my knowledge and grow,” Jessica said. “I was surprised by the vast number of career opportunities companies like UnitedHealthcare offer.”

As part of a collaboration with the Maryland Chamber Foundation, UnitedHealthcare was paired with Jessica and another standout educator, Marcene Trump, from Liberty High School in Carroll County, to provide an immersive experience that helps teachers prepare tomorrow’s workforce — and bridges the gap between business and education.

“Both of our teacher externs came out of the gate eager to learn. I’m confident that this summer’s experience with Jessica and Marcene will resonate in their classrooms this school year and beyond,” said Marissa Nettlebladt, director of account management for key accounts at UnitedHealthcare, who supported the externs.

Jessica said identifying a career path with opportunities for growth is something her students are interested in but may not know where to start.

“Many of my students want to pursue careers that allow them to help people but aren’t necessarily interested in direct patient contact. This experience gave me a window into the other paths my students can take,” Jessica said.

A dynamic industry like health care calls for leaders who can pull from their diverse experiences, think critically and tackle the task of creating widespread access to quality care. The skills required to meet this challenge are often built in the classroom, and programs like the Maryland Chamber Foundation’s Teacher Externship Program bring genuine industry experience directly to the learning environment.

“Workforce initiatives like the Teacher Externship program help Maryland companies develop diverse talent pipelines while encouraging students to discover new and innovative careers they may have never been exposed to,” said Whitney Harmel, with the Maryland Chamber Foundation. “We are grateful for companies like UnitedHealthcare who stepped up to help teachers gain valuable technical and career knowledge they can pass on to their students.”

Joe Ochipinti, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of the Mid-Atlantic added, “We are hopeful that the connections made and lessons learned will inform promising discussion, lesson plans and more — all with the goal of empowering Maryland students to achieve bright futures.”

UnitedHealthcare of the Mid-Atlantic looks forward to hosting three teacher externs in summer 2022.

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