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A Better Career Starts Here

Cultivating Our Communities

Northwestern Medicine is working to improve communities in inspiring and innovative ways. For example, the Human Resources Department and a network of community organizations are collaborating to pool resources and create career programs.

Angelica Cervantes, a patient escort at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, found her job through the Northwestern Medicine Work-Based Learning Program, a pilot program at Northwestern Medicine. The program, offered in collaboration with the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, helps candidates who might not possess all of the minimum requirements for a particular job at Northwestern Medicine receive on-the-job training.

"I had been looking for a job, and someone sent me information about Northwestern Medicine," says Cervantes. "I inquired about the opportunity, received a response, and the next thing I knew I was meeting with a representative to discuss the requirements of the job and what additional skills I needed and could obtain through the program. It all happened so fast."

The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, also known as The Partnership, operates the largest publicly funded workforce development system in the nation. Serving Chicago and Cook County, The Partnership provides services through a network of more than 90 agencies to help people find training and career opportunities. Cervantes was referred to the Northwestern Medicine Work-Based Learning Program through The Partnership. Throughout the program, The Partnership provided her with career counseling, resume writing help, mock interviews and additional support while she was training.

"This opportunity came at the perfect time," says Cervantes. "As I was going through the screening process for the job, I was a full-time student and unemployed. As soon as I graduated, I accepted the offer to work full time at Northwestern Medicine."

"I love my job!" Cervantes says. "When I first meet a patient, I introduce myself and try to make them feel comfortable. If they have any questions, I try to answer them to the best of my ability. A lot of times, patients are scared."

"I also speak Spanish, and there have been times when patients don't understand English," she continues. "I assist the nurses by translating. Patients feel comfortable when they have someone who understands them."

Northwestern Medicine Recruitment and Community Services Manager Brian Stewart organized the pilot program. "The Work Based Learning Program is an essential component to Northwestern Medicine's community engagement efforts," Stewart says. "It allows us to meet community members where they are to offer them opportunities that may improve their quality of living. Making access to our resources and opportunities even more equitable is an endless focus of Northwestern Medicine. We are fortunate to have community partners like The Partnership that have complementary resources and initiatives."

Cervantes says she enjoys working in health care. "Being here gives me the opportunity to interact with diverse patients, meet people from different departments and network," she says.

Christopher Garcia, manager of the Patient Escort Department at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, says he's excited to have Cervantes on his team. "Her performance is fantastic," he explains. "We keep track of productivity, and she's consistently at the top level. She's gone above and beyond as far as helping patients, and has been recognized for doing such a good job. She was really the trailblazer for the program, and I appreciate having her. I look forward to seeing her growth."

Teamwork is a vital part of the Northwestern Medicine culture, and there is always encouragement for professional development and career growth. Cervantes encourages anyone who hesitates to apply because of lack of skills or knowledge to go for it. "If you go for something, be all in," she says. "Don't be discouraged if you don't know something. It will take time. We all work together here, and there is always someone to help you."

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