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Press Release

Independence Blue Cross Welcomes 45 High School Summer Interns

Students gain work experience through six-week paid WorkReady Philadelphia program

Philadelphia, PA - July 9, 2009 - The textbooks are closed and the school year is officially over, but the learning continues for 45 area high school students who began six-week paid summer internships this week at Independence Blue Cross (IBC). The interns are participating through a special WorkReady Philadelphia program, which began in 2003 and received a big boost in 2006 when the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce joined in the effort to recruit employers.

The program is managed by the Philadelphia Youth Network with additional employer recruitment support from Mayor Nutter's office, the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Philadelphia Academies, Inc.  This summer there are 1,000 interns working at 120 regional organizations.

In addition to their internships at IBC, the students will benefit from offsite professional development - including resume writing and interview skills - offered through the Philadelphia Youth Network. Most of the students attend Philadelphia public schools and range from 11th graders to incoming college freshmen.

"IBC is pleased to offer high school students real-world corporate experience," said John Clayton, who coordinates IBC's internship program as the company's workforce development manager. "For many students, figuring out what they want to do when they graduate is a daunting task. A summer internship can open their eyes to many different opportunities and stress the importance of staying in school so they can seize those opportunities when the time comes."

IBC has participated in the internship program since its inception, employing approximately 45-50 students each year, among the most of any employer in the region.

"I am privileged to work with such pleasant and highly knowledgeable people here at IBC," said Gianna Graham, a senior at Parkway West High School in Philadelphia. "My team teaches me different skills, which will help me become a better intern and eventually a better professional."

Derrick Reed, a Philadelphia High School of Engineering and Science graduate, spent two summers at IBC through the WorkReady program. He's back at IBC this summer working in human resources through the company's college internship program. "I learned to think more broadly about where I am headed in life through my internships," said Reed, who will be a sophomore at Morehouse College this fall and hopes to pursue a career in politics. "I took advantage of all the program had to offer and learned so much about working in a large company, from how to network with professionals, to fine-tuning my interview skills. I'll keep in touch with the people I met here for the rest of my life."

Since 2003, IBC has invested in the futures of more than 500 high school, college, and nursing students through internship, co-ops, and mentoring programs.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. 

About WorkReady Philadelphia

WorkReady Philadelphia is the City's system of programs designed to prepare 14 to 21 year old youth to become a highly skilled 21st century workforce for the City and region. The Philadelphia Youth Network manages WorkReady on behalf of the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board and its Council for College and Career Success.   WorkReady was created to coordinate the City's existing youth employment programs, and seeks to expand the number of high-quality experiences available for Philadelphia young people. Hundreds of employers, youth-serving organizations, public agencies, foundations and individuals participate in and support WorkReady through a variety of programs that will serve more than 8,800 youths this summer, an overall increase from last year.