"It was definitely beneficial to the community. It still is. And I think it always will be."
After graduating from Slippery Rock University, Neesha was looking for the right profession to fit her goals. Born and raised in Erie, she knew UPMC Hamot and hoped to work there.
Thats when Neesha learned about the Eagle's Nest Leadership Corporation. The program, launched in 2015, helps individuals from inner-city Erie earn entry-level jobs at UPMC Hamot through job training and internships.
"I've always wanted to work at Hamot, so it was immediate, like, 'That sounds like a good opportunity for me,'" Neesha says. "It opened a lot of doors for me."
Neesha was part of the first cohort of Eagle's Nest students. Students also learned needed job skills for working in any business setting, including hospitals.
"I would say that it definitely helped a lot of people that didn't have any experience in the field or any experience at all," Neesha says. "It gave them more confidence to do their job."
After completing the program, Neesha started at UPMC Hamot in the risk management department. She worked in that position for a few years before moving to patient relations.
Neesha, who has a young daughter, recently received a promotion to patient services representative at UPMC Hamot.
"I chose the career path where I can move up in my field," she says. "It was definitely because of my daughter and based on me wanting to have a career where I grow."
Since the creation of Eagle's Nest, hundreds of students have gone through the program. Many took jobs at UPMC Hamot, received promotions, and earned advanced degrees.
Neesha herself is pursuing a master's degree in business administration and hopes to continue to advance in her career. She says she wants to provide a good example for her daughter to follow in the future.
To this day, Neesha says many people ask her how they can get involved with Eagle's Nest. She's referred many people to the program over the years and sees many of her fellow graduates at the hospital.
“It helped a lot of people get jobs that they weren't able to get before they were introduced to the Eagles Nest program," she says. "So, it was definitely beneficial to the community. It still is, and I think it always will be."
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