UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital student visit

Students from the Oakland Unified School District visit the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital construction site.

Photo by Emiliano Sanchez

When UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland (Calif.) decided to partner with the local school district and other organizations to launch a training program for high school students interested in learning about a construction career, the hospital had no idea what to expect.

Considering that the hospital had started a 10-year, $500 million master plan to expand and modernize its campus, supporting a construction pre-apprenticeship training program made perfect sense.

The hospital’s massive project offered a robust, real-world site for the 10 students in the pilot program to learn what’s involved in health care construction.

“The students could visit the 89,000-square-foot outpatient center under construction here on campus rather than reading about it in a classroom setting,” says Doug Nelson, the hospital's vice president of development, construction and real estate services.

Besides visiting the construction site, the curriculum consisted of sessions with members of HDR, the master plan architect; JLL, the construction managers; Turner Construction Co., the general contractor; and other project stakeholders, Nelson says.

Partnering with Oakland Unified School District was a way for the hospital to give back to the community it already serves and give a diverse group of students a chance to explore a potentially fulfilling and financially rewarding

“We understand the importance of workforce development and see this program as an opportunity to provide a career pathway for our community’s youth,” says Barbara Staggers, M.D., executive director of the hospital’s Center for Community Health and Engagement.

With the success of the pilot program, the hospital plans to expand it in the spring with more classes for more students, Nelson says. “Ideally, we'll continue this program throughout the duration of our facility master plan."