The old saying "knowledge is power" couldn’t be more true. Education gives young adults the skills they need to enter our nation’s workforce. Positive role models and mentorship programs strengthen their motivation to succeed. For people in situations where opportunity is slim and academic, career, or life advancement seems like a distant dream, a little guidance can make a huge difference.
Best of the Batch Foundation
If you live in southwestern Pennsylvania, you’ve probably heard of Charlie Batch even if you’re not a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. The former Steelers quarterback was a star on the field, but he is building an even bigger legacy off the field with his Best of the Batch Foundation. Using sports as an incentive, the Foundation instills the importance of a solid education and teaches kids how to confidently serve as leaders in their communities.
You may have also seen Charlie a few years ago on UPMC Health Plan's television commercials when he served as spokesman for UPMC Health Plan's Marketplace plans.
UPMC Health Plan is pleased to support several Best of the Batch programs:
- Batch-A-Toys – An annual holiday toy drive that collects new, unwrapped toys for local kids in need. UPMC Health Plan’s office building in downtown Pittsburgh serves as a central location for toy drop-off. In 2017, 5,000 toys were collected and about 80 employees from UPMC joined volunteers from other organizations to help Best of the Batch wrap these gifts.
- Batchpacks for Kids – A back-to-school initiative that fills backpacks with school supplies and distributes them to hundreds of local children.
- Project C.H.U.C.K. – An intramural basketball league for boys and girls serves as a lesson in teamwork and sportsmanship.
- In the Pocket – An annual event gathering celebrity sports figures to play rounds of pool, ping pong, and poker to raise money for Best of the Batch.
Best of the Batch expanded in 2018 with a new 15,000 square foot Clubhouse that will serve as a community center and allow even more families to take advantage of key educational resources. The new facility will have K-12 classrooms, a STEAM lab, café, dance studio, and a full-sized gym with a walk-around track. Services will include alternative education programs that occur during school hours, and after-school continuing education programs. Elements of the construction of this building are being funded by UPMC Health Plan.
Trade Institute of Pittsburgh
UPMC Health Plan supports the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh’s (TIP) mission to improve the lives of men and women with significant barriers to employment through lifelong skill building and job opportunities. TIP’s vision is to impact and improve systemic discrimination and lack of options through strong skills training, mainstream employment, and entrepreneurship. During a 10-week core masonry training program, students learn the fundamentals of masonry, construction labor skills, and a strong work ethic. Life skills classes, computer literacy classes, and one-on-one counseling provide additional support to help individuals access and develop their talents. The outcome is employable, confident young men and women who are able to immediately utilize their construction training, and who have the ability to advocate for others making similar life decisions. TIP’s model is working: over 90 percent of its graduates are being hired by an increasing host of contractors and construction companies, and the program is realizing better than a 3.4 percent recidivism rate compared to the state rate of 22.5 percent.
Johnstown Area Regional Industries
UPMC Health Plan has been in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, for more than a decade, so it’s no surprise that we work with Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI) to bolster the economic climate of this region. JARI connects businesses to state and federal government, commercial lending, equity investing, and real estate resources. It provides professional consulting services to businesses and entrepreneurs on employment procedures, how to find investors, site selection for new buildings, assistance with writing business plans, and more. Several UPMC Health Plan employees in Johnstown serve on JARI’s board of directors and help develop local talent.