About the Mentorship & Workforce Development Program


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Our director, Maria Rivera, with one of the program's first cohorts of students.

Spearheaded in 2001 by Maria Rivera and Lurie Children's department of Human Resources, the Mentorship & Workforce Development program began with the launch of  "Discovering Healthcare Careers," a 6-week paid clinical summer internship for Hispanic/Latinx and African American/Black high school students who are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare. Intended to be a workforce pipeline to benefit underserved youth and their communities in Chicago, the Mentorship & Workforce Development is now housed within the Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities.

Since its start, Mentorship & Workforce Development has expanded from one program to eleven and is still growing, serving students from elementary school to post-graduates. By design, students are not required to be top academic performers in order to be accepted. We provide stipends for transportations and materials with the goal of helping remove barriers that may impede success. Our programs also provide mental health and wellness components. 

Through Mentorship & Workforce Development, more than 1,400 alumni have received leadership development, real-world healthcare industry exposure, training workshops, networking opportunities and potential for future healthcare employment. Of those, Lurie Children's has employed over 100 graduates, hiring 30 in 2022 alone, with many more working at other healthcare institutions.