Kaiser Permanente is helping Valley high school students

FRESNO, Calif.

Tweety Yang, 17, hopes to one day, work side-by-side with medical professionals, as a career. But for now, the Clovis East High School graduate is getting some good practice as an intern at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Northeast Fresno. She's one of 10 interns accepted into the hospital's summer program that offers hands-on experience to high school juniors and seniors. She hopes the internship will give her a head start when she begins the nursing program at Fresno State in the fall.

Tweety Yang explained, "Just being around the hospital and just getting the feel of it and it'll help me for nursing too."

Alongside Tweety, 18-year-old Fresno High grad Aaron Kinsfather is also learning new skills. He's headed to UCLA for college. Tweety and Aaron discovered they knew each other back in the 5th grade and now years later, they're in the same internship program.

Aaron said, "I want to learn how to work with people because that's important no matter what I do."

Kaiser reaches out to Valley high schools in an application process in March. Students must write an essay, create a resume and be interviewed for only a handful of spots every summer. The students work 40 hours a week and are paid $8.24 an hour. And just like the real world, the competition to get in, is tough.

Corbin Bennett, Pharm.D. Clinical Operations Manager said, "It gives them the opportunity to be exposed to the health care field and this year we had 10 interns with over 150 applicants."

Kaiser's pharmacy department has been involved in the summer youth employment program for nearly a decade and has seen many students go onto more education and careers. Hospital staff - say one of the biggest benefits is when students come back to the Valley and use those skills to serve their hometown.

Bennett added, "It's imperative that somebody I hire actually has roots, either they grew up in this area or they married someone from this area because we have shown we have been able to retain those people."

Aaron and Tweety are looking forward to a summer of learning that could lead to a career.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.