Diamond Oliver, 16, has plans to become a pharmacy tech and saw the Johns Hopkins Summer Jobs Program as a good way to get real-world experience. Seventeen-year-old Mahogany Smith desires a career in photography, and was excited to work a second year in the school of medicine’s Art as Applied to Medicine Department. Oliver and Smith were among more than 480 Baltimore City young people who completed an 8-week paid internship at locations on Johns Hopkins campuses.
A closing ceremony held Aug. 16 in Turner Auditorium on the East Baltimore medical campus celebrated the interns’ participation in the annual program. In her remarks, Yariela Kerr-Donovan, senior director of strategic workforce planning and development, who oversees the program, shared that the internship program began in 1994 with 25 participants, and has grown to 484 students graduating Johns Hopkins' biggest cohort ever.
Baltimore City high school students age 15 to 22 were hired to work 30 hours a week to do a variety of duties depending on the department with which they work. Some transported patients and worked with patients, others did administrative work, and some worked in labs. In addition to learning job skills, students attended “Professional Friday” educational seminars on topics such as workplace culture and etiquette, financial literacy and job readiness. For some students it was their first professional work experience.
A series of speakers congratulated the interns for completing the program. Kevin Sowers spoke about the importance of partnerships in helping you achieve your dreams. “Programs like this are important because they help us find rising stars and partner with the people already in their lives who know just how far these students can go with the right resources, encouragement, and opportunities,” he told the audience of 700 students, family members and staff.
Johns Hopkins Hospital President Redonda Miller told the group that there are important lessons learned from every job. Her early jobs included spraying perfume on customers to cutting grass for neighbors to transporting patients. It was her position as an orderly that she said "informed my work as a physician not too many years later. It taught me the value of kindness in every job and that no job is small. Every job in health care is critical to the care of the patient."
Daniel Ennis, senior vice president for finance and administration for The Johns Hopkins University, said that in looking for the best people to compete with the best, “You are the talent we’re trying to cultivate.”
Other speakers included David McGlone, deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, and Jason Perkins Cohen, director of the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development.
After the program ended, students picked up their final paycheck, a backpack and certificate of completion before joining their family members and mentored at a reception.
Here’s what some interns and their parents had to say:
Jordan Grant, 16, applied her graphic design skills to create PowerPoint presentations for her internship with JPIEGO. An 11th grader at Baltimore City College, Grant was announced as the first student recipient of the MLK Community Service Award for her work with BMore Live, a community collective to promote positive youth engagement. The organization was founded after a large gathering involving some unruly juveniles at Harborplace on Memorial Day weekend led to arrests.
“We do things to stop the violence in the city,” Grant said of BMore Live. As a youth leader, she organizes activities to keep young people busy every Friday and Saturday between 3 and 11 p.m.
Her mom, Robin Price, a surgical technician in Weinberg, said, “I thought it was a good opportunity for Jordan to get exposure and be surrounded by people who work in a lot of different roles. It gives her a better sense of what jobs or careers are out there for her because she is so young."
Price said she enjoyed seeing her daughter bask in the moment of receiving the community service award. “I was proud, so excited. She works hard to keep kids out of trouble.”
Diamond Oliver graduated from Patterson High School and worked in Pharmacy, Critical Care and Surgery. She assisted with filling orders, restocking and delivering prescriptions to patients.
“I really thought it was a great program,” said Oliver. “This was a new experience for me based on what they had me do.” She also benefited from the professional development classes. “I learned how to communicate better and take care of my money better. I got to meet new people and have new connections.” She wants to work at Hopkins one day.
Her mother, LaShanda Green, said, “It meant everything for Diamond to have this job. It represents responsibility. I’m proud that she wants to work and not just sit around. She wants a career out of this.”
Mahogany Smith is a 17-year-old student at Baltimore Design School who wants to be a photographer. As part of her internship with the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine, she filed artwork and scanned images into the computer using Photoshop and Excel. "I enjoyed it."
Departments also benefited from the experience. Wanda Moss, a project analyst in the Facilities Department, referred to intern Bryce Jones as a “rock star.” Moss said, “Bryce mastered every challenge and assignment given him from conducting inventory audits on materials to replacing batteries used on equipment in patient care areas. He has even worked with our carpenters on a special renovation project in the Weinberg Building helping to install cabinets and flooring. Facilities hired 88 interns this year.