March 31, 2017
A couple of years ago, Bishop Dwane Brock, a UPMC Hamot board member, approached UPMC Hamot leadership with an idea. He was concerned about the childhood poverty and rising rates of violence in Erie and wanted to create a program that would successfully give Erie’s young people greater stability and opportunity.
Together, they created the Eagle's Nest Leadership Corporation, which provides entry-level opportunities at UPMC Hamot to young adults living in Erie’s inner city. This program has been supported by significant grants from Hamot Health Foundation and The Erie Community Foundation, and since its inception two years ago, many Eagle’s Nest graduates working at UPMC Hamot have already been promoted, and a handful are pursuing higher education in fields like nursing and forensic science.
Youth who participate in this program start with coaching designed to help them get ahead in the professional world instead of just getting by. The program focuses on professionalism, workplace expectations, and personal finances. Ashley Boyd, a patient care technician who went through the Eagle’s Nest program less than two years ago, said that the program not only gave her the skills she needed to succeed at work, but it also showed her how to open her first bank account and budget her money. Her previous jobs provided lower pay with no annual benefits or paid time off. But after working at UPMC Hamot for almost two years, receiving a promotion, and earning three raises, Ashley purchased her first car last month and is able to provide stability for herself and her two young children.
More than 70 young people have already gone through the Eagle’s Nest program, and UPMC Hamot is seeing a lot of positive changes as a result. The diversity at UPMC Hamot increased by 60 percent after just one year, and UPMC Hamot’s vacancy rate and turnover rate is significantly lower than other UPMC hospitals. The program offers a more efficient approach to recruitment, and it boasts a one-year retention rate that is 20 percent higher than the hospital’s normal rate.