BOSTON -- A recent after-work event to celebrate the work of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center staff participating in classes and other activities to further their careers was a welcome break for busy students. But for some the celebration was brief - they were gearing up for class at 6 p.m. that very night.
It was typical of the juggling of school, work, family and more that marks the lives of the 350 BIDMC and New England Baptist Hospital staff members participating in the Employee Career Initiative (ECI).
ECI participants joined BIDMC staff, volunteer tutors and representatives of outside partners like the Boston Foundation and Bunker Hill Community College to recognize the hard work of students and the beginning of the fall semester.
It also marked the nearing of the ECI's three-year anniversary. The program offers career counseling, placement testing, on-site pre-college and college level classes, and information about a wide range of educational opportunities, including English for speakers of other languages, GED and pipeline programs in several health care careers at BIDMC.
"The program continues to grow," noted ECI Manager Mark Estrada. "We have a record number of staff in classes this semester and we have tested more than 200 people, as well as counseling many more."
Several students shared their experiences so far. "There are many benefits," noted Forkpah Karpeh, a Phlebotomy staff member who is taking English and science in preparation for the medical lab technician program. "Number one, I've made many new friends and number two, I've opened up my mind to science."
Student and Medical Assistant Kelly Ann Matthias-Desouza noted that her goal to become a nurse is not easy with full-time work and family. "But I am ready to give it my all - and I don't regret that!"
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and consistently ranks among the top four in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit