• From Classroom to Cancer Center

    Dana-Farber is taking an active role in grooming its future employees by creating a pipeline from the halls of area schools to its offices, clinics, and research bays.

    Through a half dozen workforce development programs, the Institute is exposing high school and college students to careers in health care and letting them know they may have a job opportunity waiting for them here.

    "Dana-Farber has shaped me into the woman I am today," says Icandace Woods, a former high school intern who is now a practice coordinator in Adult Ambulatory Services.

    "Working as an intern not only offered me the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, but also helped me decide which career path could potentially be a great fit. Dana-Farber has provided me with the confidence to believe in myself and to block out the negative stigmas out there."

    Woods is one of many examples of how Dana-Farber is training area youth for careers in cancer care. She worked here in the areas of Medical Oncology, Human Resources, the Women’s Cancers Program, and with pediatric patients in the Jimmy Fund Clinic during her four years at Fenway High School – one of the Institute’s three partnering high schools.

    (The others are the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science and Madison Park Technical Vocational High School.)

    And, after graduating from Lesley University in 2008, she acquired a full-time job here.

    "By successfully securing students with great potential, we are contributing to a more prepared, engaged, and diverse workforce," says Candace Burns Johnson, director of Workforce Development. "For many, the experience here has expanded their understanding of an office environment, cancer, and health care careers."

    Opportunities for students available through Dana-Farber and its affiliates include:

    • School Partnership: An after-school internship program for Dana-Farber's partnering high school students
    • Summer Jobs Program: A seven-week summer work program primarily for students from Dana-Farber's partnering high schools and the community-based organization Sociedad Latina
    • Gateway to the Longwood Medical and Academic Area: Provides science experience and internship placement at Longwood area hospitals, colleges, and cultural institutions for John D. O’Bryant school students
    • Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences
    • (CURE): A summer program run by the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) that places high school and college students in research environments
    • Four Directions Summer Research Program: An eight-week experience offered by DF/HCC for undergraduate students committed to improving the health of Native American communities
    • Summer on the Edge: An initiative giving six to 10 Boston-based college students an opportunity to gain research experience in a laboratory over the summer
    • Job Shadow Day: An opportunity for area youth to experience a day in the life of Dana-Farber researchers, caregivers, and other support staff.
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