UnitedHealth Group and its companies Optum and UnitedHealthcare open their doors to offer additional internships in 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic caused many companies to cancel their summer internship programs. According to a study done by Glassdoor, there was a 52% drop in internship opportunities between March and April 2020. These cancelations left students across the country without opportunities to develop their skills in a professional setting.
“When we saw how COVID-19 was changing the course of summer internship programs across the country, we wanted to help those students negatively impacted. Therefore, we worked with INROADS and our other partners in order to better serve underrepresented communities and help build a diverse workforce of healthcare professionals,” said Rick Target, Vice President, Talent at Optum.
In mid-March, Optum, a UnitedHealth Group company, had already completed its summer internship recruiting. All of the UnitedHealth Group internship positions eventually moved to a virtual environment due to COVID-19. Optum leaders determined they could take on additional summer interns to fill this staggering need. The company established the Optum 100 program through which they added 100 additional summer interns. Optum hosted 550 interns total for the summer, part of a total 900 interns across UnitedHealth Group.
One of those students, Camille Olga a junior from Georgia State University, had a hard time finding an internship due to the pandemic, and the fact that many corporations canceled internship programs for the summer.
“I was still searching for a virtual internship,” said Camille Olga, INROADS Optum intern. “When I thought it was impossible, my regional INROADS director reached out to me about interning with Optum. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Olga, a computer information systems major, received an internship working full-time within Optum’s Technology Development Program (TDP). She is a second-year INROADS intern.
For more than 20 years, INROADS, a nonprofit that delivers innovative programs and creative solutions that identify, accelerate and elevate the development of underrepresented talent throughout their careers, has partnered with UnitedHealth Group to provide internships to underserved youth. When the opportunity opened up to serve more students, Optum looked to its valued partnership with INROADS to complete the task.
“Through our collaboration with UnitedHealth Group, we have been able to work together to provide opportunities for underserved students as we envision a brighter, more diverse future for the health care industry,” said Forest Harper, Jr., CEO and President at INROADS. “We are thrilled that our students were able to gain the invaluable experience of working alongside UnitedHealth Group this summer though the OPTUM 100 program.”
UnitedHealth Group’s continued partnership with INROADS helps produce a more diverse decision-making culture within the company and the health care industry. This collaboration has given students from across the country with varying backgrounds the opportunity to intern in departments across the UnitedHealth Group enterprise, including finance, sales, marketing, technology and human resources.
Olga is currently interviewing for another internship at Optum for the summer of 2021. “I’m grateful for this opportunity that INROADS and Optum has given me to become a better professional and individual. The entire Optum internship experience was amazing, from the personal and professional development to the amazing people that I had the chance to work with,” said Olga.