- El Monte Union High School District
El Monte Union Celebrates First Cohort of Graduates in City of Hope Pathway Program
El Monte Union celebrates first cohort of graduates in collaborative City of Hope High School Career Pathway Pilot Program during a commencement ceremony on May 17. The program aims to provide hands-on experience and inspire the next generation to explore healthcare careers.
El Monte Union High School District (EMUHSD) celebrated its first cohort of graduates from the EMUHSD/City of Hope High School Career Pathway Pilot Program, which provides students the opportunity to explore healthcare careers at one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the United States.
The 23 students who completed the pilot program, which aims to provide hands-on experience and inspire the next generation to explore healthcare careers, were recognized at a commencement ceremony on May 17.
"We are so pleased to partner with City of Hope High School Career Pathway Program as this provides our students with authentic workplace experiences that will shape their future career aspirations,” EMUHSD Director of Curriculum and Instruction Kirk McGinnis said. “Our students are trained, mentored, and supported by a team of professionals and are building valuable lifelong career skills."
In August 2022, City of Hope and EMUHSD partnered to create the nine-month, student-focused program. Students volunteer twice a week at either City of Hope’s Helford Hospital in Duarte or a research facility on its Rivergrade campus in Irwindale.
The program strives to give students a well-rounded experience and has volunteers rotate every 10 weeks between three departments: patient activities, patient access and infection prevention.
El Monte Union graduate shares a few words on her experience within the collaborative City of Hope High School Career Pathway Pilot Program during a commencement ceremony on May 17.
Miley Valdibia, a junior at Arroyo High School and graduate of the pilot program, said one of the best aspects of the program is connecting with a community of like-minded peers. She aspires to become a neurosurgeon and views this program as one of her first steps toward that goal.
“I thought this would be a great opportunity to get little bits of information and see what City of Hope is like as a high school student,” Valdibia said. “This is such a rare chance to get to work at such a prestigious cancer center. I had to join as soon as I could.”
Students interact with patients, help design and vet new patient activities, assist in developing a new staff training curriculum, conduct hand hygiene observations and observe procedures like bone marrow transplants.
“City of Hope is proud to provide EMUSHD students with a peek into healthcare careers. Students also develop mentor relationships with professionals in inpatient and outpatient settings, public health, rehab services, recreational therapy, customer service, information technology and front-of-house staff,” said Sarai M. Mark, a program manager with City of Hope volunteer services in the supportive care medicine department. “This program has special importance as I am a graduate of El Monte Union High School District. I have seen firsthand the advantage that providing options to students at a young age brings to their lives. I look forward to seeing the college and professional opportunities these young leaders will pursue because of this incredible partnership.”
The City of Hope High School Career Pathway Program will continue to provide the educational opportunity to students. Recruitment for the 2023-2024 school year has already begun.
“El Monte Union students are gaining priceless experience and getting a head start on their careers through this one-of-a-kind program, which adds to our District’s stellar career technical education pathway offerings,” Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga said. “We cannot thank City of Hope enough for investing in our students and helping shape and develop the next generation of healthcare professionals here in El Monte.”