As an Entrepreneur/ Global Business, Finance Tech Literacy and Business Professional Economics teacher at Edgewood High School in Harford County, Maryland, I have my students focused on their big picture goals. That is why I was so thrilled to be part of the Maryland Chamber Foundation Teacher Externship program in the summer of 2022. Opportunities such as this are essential because it allows me as the teacher to know what current employers are looking for in future employees and to expand my students’ opportunities.
During my eight weeks with UnitedHealthcare, I focused on learning about the many different roles and job positions at the company so I could better help my students in their future career paths. Meeting people from different departments with different experience levels helped me understand why they choose to work at UnitedHealthcare. I now know if I have a student who likes math but does not want an accounting degree, I can suggest getting a finance or actuarial science degree to become an analyst or consultant for a firm. There are so many options out there!
Everyone that I talked to, from the CEO to the college intern, was very engaged. Every last person gave me their contact information and said they would be willing to speak to my classes to share their advice or help with mock interviews. This culture of giving was not something I expected to encounter but was pleasantly surprised that I did.
Going to the United Health innovation lab in Washington D.C. helped me realize how much they do to make the world a better place. They do much more than just provide health insurance to customers. The data they collect with the technology helps doctors and patients in real time.
In addition to learning about job opportunities, I learned that hard skills get you hired but soft (relational) skills get you promoted and help accelerate your career. This has allowed me to plan new lessons to help students improve, learn or know what soft skills they need to work on. For example, suppose I am going to teach communication and emotional intelligence. In that case, I will come up with different case studies where the students will role-play and make decisions based on their roles.
I gained so much critical knowledge from my time at UnitedHealthcare, I can’t wait to get back into the classroom and share it with my students. Although I benefitted greatly, I can see how this experience was also important to UnitedHealthcare and its employees. Working with teachers can allow them to come up with a plan to address racial and social disparities in health care, promote health and increase medical knowledge. It’s a win-win for Maryland.