STEM and Career Works programs provide exposure to careers in healthcare and the sciences
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (Dec. 5, 2021) — Highmark Wholecare is providing families with scholarships to Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania (BGCWPA). Scholarship winners must be current members of Gateway Health, which is now known as Highmark Wholecare, to be eligible. In September, BGCWPA launched Fall programming and expects to serve thousands of youth this year across the region through a variety of offerings.
Highmark Wholecare serves people who qualify for Medicaid and are current members eligible to access BGCWPA programs with funding support from Child Care Works. Now, Highmark Wholecare is making it even more affordable for its members to participate in BGCWPA’s high quality programs by covering a portion of the program fees so that youth enrolled in the Highmark Wholecare Medicaid plan are better able to participate in BGCWPA offerings that include science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and career development through the BGCWPA Career Works program.
BGCWPA programs are designed to engage youth in safe, high-quality environments that include Clubhouse-based programs, school-based programs and online offerings with a “cradle to career” concept that welcomes children as young as three into preschool programs and youth in their early 20s into career-development and training programs.
“Through partnerships with community-minded organizations like Highmark Wholecare, Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania is making high-quality programming accessible to more youth in our region,” said BGCWPA President and CEO Dr. Lisa Abel-Palmieri. “Together, we are inviting youth to explore new possibilities such as careers in STEM. This is just one way that their potential can be activated and advanced.”
After school programs offer a daily rotation of activities beyond sports and recreation programming, such as exposure to the arts through painting and cooking classes and STEM projects that introduce new technology and fields of science that some students may not have access to in the school classroom.
“Our valuable partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania provides Highmark Wholecare youth with immense opportunities to explore STEM-related careers and hands-on exploration in the workforce through the Career Works program,” said Regina Vercilla, Vice President of Clinical Strategy and Innovation for Highmark Wholecare. “Our focus of collaborating with community organizations and programming that builds self-esteem and supports members to self-reliance are key to long term opportunities. We believe these programs drive to those goals by establishing pathways for our eligible youth to thrive in educational and career related settings.”
BGCWPA Career Works programming is a Workforce Development Academy, a full-service program that takes teens and young adults on a formalized journey from filling in academic gaps, career exploration and soft skills training to relevant occupational skill building, work experience and a formalized plan for their future. Career Works aims to provide both introduction to new possibilities to youth preparing to enter the workforce and the practical steps to get there.
Families can visit the BGCWPA website at bgcwpa.org to learn about specific programs throughout the region.