Every Monday morning, 14-year-old Litzy Garcia puts on her professional attire and boards a school van bound for the UnitedHealthcare’s Health Plan of Nevada offices in Las Vegas, where she works as an intern in the credentialing department.
Here, she has the chance to work with her Health Plan of Nevada mentors, Jerico Aganon and Michael Swift, learning how to archive, create member files and develop important skills needed for her future career.
Litzy is a student at Cristo Rey St. Viator Las Vegas College Preparatory Academy, a new private school in southern Nevada that opened its doors last September. Unlike a typical private school, Cristo Rey tuition is primarily offset through a work-study program, where students work for participating businesses in the community to learn necessary job skills and gain valuable work experience and exposure before college.
UnitedHealthcare is one of 25 local corporations and nonprofits participating in the Cristo Rey work-study program. With a donation to the school to help fund tuition for four students, UnitedHealthcare is helping to ensure local students in the community are gaining useful tools that could benefit their future.
“When we think of our role in terms of social responsibility for our local community, the Cristo Rey partnership made a lot of sense for UnitedHealthcare,” said Don Giancursio, CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s Nevada, Utah and Idaho operations. “It allows us to impact a team of young women and men that in the future will be valuable contributors to society and our local workforce. The lessons they learn; accountability, commitments and results, will be critical in dealing with their personal and professional lives.”
While gaining insight into the industry and learning what it takes to work at a national organization, Litzy is also learning to balance school, homework and extracurricular activities, like playing club volleyball and practicing the violin.
“It’s fun working here,” she said. “I’m learning a lot about the atmosphere of an office and how to be professional, but I’ve learned it’s also a comfortable environment where people here are really nice and are always welcoming to questions.”
Not only are Litzy and her other classmates learning a great deal during their time at UnitedHealthcare, the mentors and other staff members have also gained insight from having young students as fellow colleagues.
“When they talked to me about the program I couldn’t imagine someone that young coming to work, but all of the students have been wonderful and have been very willing to learn,” said Tricia Schares, dental and credentialing manager for Health Plan of Nevada. “It’s been great to learn from them, just as much as they learn from us.”
Currently, the Cristo Rey students are learning how to put together a full credentialing profile from start to finish. With the help of their UnitedHealthcare mentors, their blossoming communication skills, initiative and insight are a winning combination for future success.