Inclusive economic growth is critical to both individual and community health. When there is a lack of economic opportunity in communities, the prospects for upward social mobility are diminished, often resulting in poorer health and higher mortality rates for people living in those communities. By contrast, economic growth and opportunity provides individuals with jobs, income, a sense of purpose, and opportunities to improve their economic circumstances overtime.
As a large, influential institution in our communities, Kaiser Permanente recognizes that the way we do business can support economic opportunity in local communities by being intentional about how we hire, purchase, build our facilities and partner with communities.
Here are some ways that we’re helping revitalize and grow our communities by strengthening economic opportunity:
Providing good jobs to individuals facing barriers to employment through high-impact hiring and workforce pipeline efforts.
Pursuing a social impact investment strategy to support impact investments aimed at addressing key social issues that have a significant impact on health.
Purchasing goods and services from local minority- and women-owned businesses, and encourage good employment practices by our vendor partners.
Building new facilities with an emphasis on positive local community impact, including local construction hiring, local and diverse purchasing, healthy and sustainable design features, neighborhood revitalization and deep community engagement.
Partnering with community organizations to grow local business capacity, increase access to good jobs and support stable, quality, affordable housing
Impact investing is a form of values-based investment that’s used to deliver positive, measurable social and environmental benefit. At Kaiser Permanente, we’re actively pursuing a values and mission-driven approach to our operations and investments in order to improve health. That’s why we’re making investments in areas such as affordable housing, community social services and inclusive small-business financing to contribute to economic health and well-being in communities where we operate.
As a first step in this approach, we created the Thriving Communities Fund to address housing stability and homelessness, among other community needs.
(See also Housing Security.)
Workforce Development and Health Care Career Scholarships
Evidence shows that educational attainment often leads to better health and career outcomes: better jobs, higher income earnings and improved access to resources that reinforce health.
Kaiser Permanente is helping to improve community health by increasing access to educational and career learning opportunities through scholarships and investments in workforce development. In many of our communities, we offer free resume and interview workshops, paid internships and volunteering opportunities focused on developing the capabilities and unleashing the value of our diverse communities.
We also believe in developing a more culturally responsive health care workforce that mirrors the communities it serves. We start building that pipeline of talented and diverse health care professionals early with programs that introduce underrepresented grade school and high school students to careers in health care. And our health care career scholarships provide financial assistance to empower community members to pursue careers in health care.
(See also Safety-Net Partnerships, Support for Health Professions.)