Posted On: July 16, 2019
By Annie Donnell
Thursday was full of tours, presentations, mentoring opportunities, and endless possibilities at both Centene and Bi-State Development. In the morning, DREAM BIG students visited Centene. Students were excited to learn more about a healthcare company that has a purpose to transform the health of the community one person at a time. The students were provided an overview of Centene and welcomed students to the headquarters. Centene has over 48,000 employees and serves around 14 million members. Alishea Johnson, Manager of Diversity and Inclusion, presented on the company to further explain what Centene does. She explained job opportunities available which include marketing, communications, operations, HR, clinical roles, attorneys, positions in policy, and member connections representatives. Students learned since the company is fast-growing, employees can stay in the same company while having different careers throughout their time working at Centene. Alishea advised, “Follow your passion, and the rest will come.”
Afterward, students toured Centene. They explored Brandon Morris’s office in Human Resources. Brandon is a Centene employee with a mobility disability. They saw the accommodations he uses to complete his work which include a dictation software on his computer, as well as a mouthpiece that allows him to press on the keys of the keyboard without having to use his hands. He stressed the importance of never giving up, the key to a successful career is through networking, and the importance of putting your foot in the door. Also, students excitedly walked through the gym, the pharmacy, and the clinic all available for employees and interns to utilize when necessary.
Students participated in a one-on-one mentoring session. Two students sat at tables, and one mentor went to each table and talked to each student for ten minutes. Five rotations occurred, and students gained more knowledge about Centene through smaller conversations to practice networking to figure out other careers at Centene. Students also asked questions to find out more about their specific jobs, and how they came to work at Centene. Students heard great advice from mentors regarding the next steps after high school and beyond.
Monique Thomas presented on the internship program at Centene. She serves as the Emerging Talent Program Manager at Centene. Students learned about what internships are and what they look like at Centene. Centene has a program called Centene Summer Intern Experience. Lots of internship positions are available in different areas such as IT, law, and member exchange positions. Students participated in an interactive activity to see if students could decode myths about internships. Takeaways when applying for an internship included: have a resume and figure out where you want to be.
To continue the day, students made their way to the Metrolink station and had an opportunity to ride the train downtown to the 8th and Pine station to commute to Bi-State Development Agency. For the majority of students, this was the first time they experienced Metrolink. After navigating Metro transit, participants learned about career opportunities at Bi-State. Taulby Roach, President and Cheif Executive Officer, stopped by to meet everyone. Students then created posts about their experiences on the Metro train and these posts were posted on Metro’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. Students had a task on the train to take as many pictures as possible. For each post, they used the pictures to help enhance each social media post. This was an interactive activity students enjoyed to understand what it is like generating posts for social media as a career.
Morine spoke about her career at Bi-State and her position in Marketing in the Consumer Engagement Department. She said, “You want to find a career that allows you to be yourself. When you are comfortable you will do your best work. Find a job that will allow you to be you. You have a lot to offer to the world. Get as much education as you can, because it creates opportunities.” Part of her job focuses on transit amenities to enhance the overall rider experience. To understand her job further, students played an allocation game to figure out what items and services they wish to spend money on for what students want to see while using the Metro transit system. By allocating dollar amounts to certain items or services for ridership, students could see what this team does to ensure a positive rider experience for all and what types of items or services customers ask for. This game helped put into perspective what this department worked through on a typical day.
Next, students learned about the Transit app, which is a tool to help plan routes, as well as other features that alert people to their bus arrival.
Josh explained, “Riding the Metrolink was the highlight of my day. Seeing people with different disabilities than me all navigating has opened my eyes to others.”
Sean highlighted, “There are a lot more options for people with disabilities or people who need assistance when finding careers.”
To conclude Bi-State’s afternoon, Jessica Mefford-Miller, Executive Director for Bi-State Development Agency, spoke to students. She told students Metro is working on a “rider-centric revolution” to meet the needs of all regardless of ability and income. Students absorbed great information at both Centene and Bi-State and opened doors to new career ideas.