What is Straight to Business?
STB builds young talent to create a future of diverse leaders at Highmark Health. In this 4-year program, gain exposure to various roles in our organization while earning your bachelor's--tuition-free. From a dedicated Program Manager to mentorship to professional coaching, your success is ensured.
How do I apply?
Be 18 years or older by the start of the program, graduating in spring 2022, and participate in a club or activity outside the classroom. Provide a transcript, write an essay, and pass the background check, & drug test. You'll also need sponsorship from one of our participating organizations.
Which organizations offer sponsorships?
Must be affiliated with: Imani Christian Academy, Crossroads Foundation, FAME, Urban Pathways Charter School, NEED, Westinghouse High School, Nazareth Prep, City Charter High School, Pittsburgh Promise, Neighborhood Academy, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Gwen's Girls, Breakthrough Pgh, or ULYP Pgh.
Will I receive a real college degree? How?
You'll graduate with a bachelor's degree. Start with a 4-week summer orientation in Aug. 2022, we'll enroll you in Purdue Global Online, & you'll complete two courses every 10 weeks while being a paid, full-time employee with benefits. And, you'll have guidance from a collegiate counselor, too.
Will I have a choice of majors?
So. Many. Choices. Business, Accounting, Finance, Communication, Criminal Justice, Education, Health Sciences, Human Services, IT, Legal Studies, Psychology, Public Policy, and a couple more. You do you, and what you want to do.
STB instead of the traditional path? Why should I?
In the same time as it would take you to earn a college degree at a university, with STB you'll not only graduate college with a bachelor's degree, but you'll have real-world work experience and be debt free. Be ahead of your peers professionally, financially, and positioned for future success.
Private Lunch with the Big Boss
STB Associates at a private lunch with Highmark Health President and CEO David Holmberg
Two STB Associates at a community event with their member engagement team
Pirates Game with the ECRP
The whole Early Career Rotation Programs group
A group of STB Associates during the ECRP social outing to the Pirates game
Get to the Point
A couple of STB Associates during a group walk to the Point
“With Straight to Business, Highmark Health is investing in its community and developing future leaders, with no student debt upon graduation. This sets them on a path to a bright future as dynamic leaders that reflect the diversity of Highmark Health's customers, members and patients.”
“Today marks the first day in the history of America that a US company has hired a cohort of promising future diverse leaders straight from high school—straight to business...This fixes old broken hiring systems through early identification of high-potential leaders and accelerated development.”
“This collaboration draws on the distinctive strengths and core values shared by the respective organizations. Most importantly, it provides a real benefit to young people by reimagining the traditional pathway for accessing the benefits that result from work experience and post-secondary education.”
Straight to Business Program FAQs
The minimum requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent (GED), and participation in one or more club, volunteer effort, or activity outside of the classroom. There is no GPA requirement. In addition, all program associates must be 18 years of age at the start of the program and legally authorized to work for any US employer without requiring sponsorship.
STB is focused on providing opportunities for diverse youth in the Pittsburgh region. We have partnerships with several organizations in the area and students must first be affiliated with one of those organizations. Interested students must be sponsored by one of those participating community programs and apply via their sponsoring program.
To be considered for the 2022 program, the deadline to apply is 2/28/22.
To apply, you must be affiliated with: Imani Christian Academy, Crossroads Foundation, FAME, Urban Pathways Charter School, NEED, Westinghouse High School, Nazareth Prep, City Charter High School, Pittsburgh Promise, Neighborhood Academy, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Gwen's Girls, Breakthrough Pittsburgh, or ULYP Pgh.
Interview day will take place on Saturday, March 5, 2022. Specific time and location will be communicated at a later date.
A 30-35 minute web-based assessment will be used to help us learn more about you and the strengths you would use to be successful in our program.
The program starts in August 2022.
In addition to full-time employment, program associates will receive a debt-free college degree, opportunities for ongoing professional learning and development, and regular coaching and mentoring.
The program is four years in length and consists of four, 1-year rotational assignments.
Work location(s) will be determined by rotational assignment, which last for a full year. During the year one rotational assignment, Program Associates should expect to report into a physical work location.
Program Associates will be a part of a larger group of early career rotational associates that receive additional opportunities to learn and grow throughout the program experience. These opportunities include networking events, special learning programs, and access to ongoing mentoring or coaching.
A Highmark Health issued laptop will be issued to all program associates to use for completing work assignments and accessing company systems. A second laptop will be issued to all program associates for use in completing school assignments.
Program associates will have access to all textbooks, required readings, supplementary articles, and content; the cost of these materials are included in the tuition (paid by Highmark Health).
Program associates will be expected to work 40 hours per week throughout the program. Paid time away from work may be provided intermittently for academic requirements and/or meetings.
Upon successful conclusion of the program requirements and achievement of an academic degree from Purdue Global, Highmark Health will work with each program associate to place them in a full-time role within the organization.
The Purdue Global model encourages continuous student enrollment over the entire year. Over the course of a year, student workload is divided into five, 10-week terms. During each 10-week term, students take two courses (typically five quarter credit hours each). That translates into one hour of in-class instruction and 10-plus hours of self-paced work and study time per week.
Approximately 3.5 - 4 years at a two course per term pace.
There are several degree tracks program associates may choose: Business; Communication; Criminal Justice; Health Sciences; Human Services; Information Technology Legal Studies; Professional Studies; Psychology; Public Policy.
Program associates are expected to choose a degree path at initial enrollment. The first year of the curriculum is primarily focused on imparting students with critical mindsets and foundational thinking needed for a career in business. This includes developing individual strengths and fostering leadership skills. Program associates may request to change their program of study (between most programs) by working with their Student Advisor. After the first year, it becomes more difficult to change programs.
Purdue Global offers a productive and exciting way to learn—online. Purdue Global focuses on adding a human touch to online college learning. Purdue Global’ s web-based academic programs allow you to study on your unique schedule. Program associates are encouraged to take advantage of live instruction. There is a live seminar each week per class. The seminar is recorded in the event of any work conflicts. It is recommended that program associates meet with their assigned mentor weekly.
Each program associate will have a dedicated academic advisor that they can work with for academic assistance.
Highmark Health Invests in Pittsburgh's Young Talent with 'Straight to Business' Program, New Pittsburgh Courier
Highmark Pioneers Program to Bring High School Graduates Through College to Work with Jobs, Pittsburgh Business Times
If you are a member of one of the listed partnering organizations, please contact your advisor or counselor for next steps.
Partnering Organizations: Imani Christian Academy, Crossroads Foundation, FAME, Urban Pathways Charter School, NEED, Westinghouse High School, Nazareth Prep, City Charter High School, Pittsburgh Promise, Neighborhood Academy, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Gwen's Girls, Breakthrough Pittsburgh, or ULYP Pgh.