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The HOPE (Health Occupation and Profession Education) Program

About the HOPE Program

The HOPE Program (Health Occupation and Profession Education) — formerly the Youth Employment in Summer (YES) Program — began in 1999 as an initiative through Legacy Health’s Community Health Fund. The purpose of the program was, and continues to be, to provide work experiences to underserved students of color through paid summer internships in the health care profession. 


At its inception, the primary goal of the program was simply to increase the number of students of color graduating from high school and also completing a post-secondary education program.  At that time, only 67 percent of Hispanics and 86 percent of African-Americans in the Portland metro area graduated from high school or earned a GED, as compared to 91 percent of non-Hispanic White


The program’s secondary goal was to increase the number of Hispanic and African-American students entering health care careers, as the health care profession would benefit from greater cultural diversity to help better reflect the community that Legacy serves.


Over the next few years, the program expanded to include all of the Legacy medical campuses. Then, in 2006, the program became a work-force development initiative through Legacy’s Human Resources Department.  Today, the primary goal of the program is to increase the number of students underserved students of color entering health care careers, and promote greater diversity in the health care profession as a whole.


Legacy hospitals have a long history of commitment and involvement with both high schools and clinical professional schools in its service areas. The HOPE Program expands Legacy’s commitment to educational partnerships and the communities it serves by developing positive workplace learning opportunities between employees and students considering entering the health care profession.


How the Program Works

Potential program participants are referred to Legacy’s Diversity and Community Engagement department through Legacy’s partner organizations and schools.  The referring partner will assist with selecting students and have the students submit their candidates’ names to the Diversity and Community engagement program manager, or one of the Public Relations and Community Relations Consultants.  Student selection is based on need, aptitude, initiative, and a desire to succeed in a health care environment.  An interest in health care is required.


At a minimum, students entering the program must be set to graduate from high school or have received their high school diploma.  A General Education Degree (GED) can also be substituted for a high school degree.


Students chosen for the program are employed through summer internships on a full-time, 40 hour work week basis for a total of ten weeks. The total number of payable hours for each summer employment opportunity is a maximum of 400 hours.  Occasionally, students are not able to complete their 400 hours within a ten-week period; on those occasions, the length of the internship may be extended until the 400 hours are completed.


Students may be placed in both clinical and non-clinical departments. Participating departments are those in which a post-secondary education is required in order to expose students to professions that require a post-secondary degree. Students will meet weekly with their mentor or workshops to ensure the needs of the student and the department are being met.


At the successful conclusion of the summer internship, students going into post-secondary education programs qualify for college tuition assistance for the college of their choice. College Freshman and Sophomores receive up to $3,000 in annual scholarship funds, while college Juniors and Seniors qualify for up to $6,000 in annual scholarship assistance. All scholarships are contingent upon successful completion of the summer internship, enrolling with at least a 75 percent full-time college level credit load, and maintaining a post-secondary education G.P.A. of 2.5 or higher.


Students who perform well during the summer internship and maintain the educational requirements during the school year are eligible to return to the program for the following year. The goal of the program is to assist students in achieving as many years of schooling as possible toward the health care career of their choice.


Getting Started

Once a student has agreed to participate in the HOPE program, they will complete a job application through Human Resources, as well as a criminal background check, health assessment and drug screening test.  Additionally, as part of the hiring process, all students accepted into the program must be able to demonstrate through appropriate documentation that they are authorized to work in the United States.

Documentation which is acceptable for authorization purposes includes:

  • Social Security Card
  • U.S. Birth Certificate
  • Passport (in lieu of a U.S. birth certificate)

If a student is not a U.S. Citizen, they would need to provide documentation that clearly demonstrates that they are a permanent resident or authorized to work in the United States until a stated time.