Anaheim Union’s corporate- mentoring program launched January 14, matching 45 students with Kaiser Permanente professionals who will provide them with hands-on experience and career guidance.
The P21 Community Mentoring Program is the outgrowth of a partnership among the District, the city of Anaheim, business, community, and government leaders. It took hold last spring when some 200 AUHSD students presented more than 5,000 petitions to the Anaheim City Council urging officials to participate.
The mentoring initiative followed Anaheim’s designation as the nation’s first Partnership for 21s’ Century Skills, or P21, city. The Partnership for 21s’ Century Skills was founded as a coalition bringing together the business community, education leaders and policymakers to help students prepare for 21s’ Century careers.
Student participants selected for the experience are sophomores from Magnolia, Western, and Savanna high schools who currently participate in CSUF’s GEAR UP college-prep program. Many are considered at risk because they come from disadvantaged backgrounds, yet they exhibit leadership potential and a drive to better themselves.
Welcoming the participants to the mentoring program were Kaiser Permanente Executive Director Mark Costa, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, AUHSD Superintendent Michael B. Matsuda, and Darren Bush, associate vice president for student affairs at CSU Fullerton. Keynote speeches about career opportunities in the medical industry were delivered by a Kaiser Permanente physician, Dr. Crispina Chong-Han, and a critical care nurse, Nick Bahner. After pairing up, mentors and mentees will engage in ice-breaking and team-building activities, and take a tour of the facility. Mentors also come from fields such as nutrition and healthcare IT.
“We are thrilled that Kaiser Permanente is taking the lead in rolling out our mentoring program,” Superintendent Matsuda said. “It will be an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.”
The superintendent also praised Mayor Tom Tait and Council Member Jordan Brandman—a former AUHSD trustee—for recognizing that a well-trained workforce is key to a robust future. The mayor and the council member were part of the task force that laid the groundwork for the program.
“They know that the future economic abilities of the city of Anaheim only go as far as students’ ability to succeed in college, careers, and life,” Matsuda said.
Added Mayor Tait, “I applaud Kaiser Permanente for their leadership in helping Anaheim students excel through the opportunity to be mentored by business professionals from their own community. The relationship that mentoring fosters can change the direction of a student’s life and help that student grow, not only as a student, but as a citizen of their community.”
Council Member Brandman also stated: “The City of Anaheim and Anaheim Union High School District appreciate Kaiser Permanente’s partnership on this innovative P21 Mentoring Program. We all understand that helping our students thrive in their career and college readiness through informative interaction with working professionals is paramount in building a highly-skilled 21st century workforce.”