Partners took a chance on him and Year Up alumnus, Christo Joassaint, proved it was the right call.
"My internship placement hangs on my wall, and I look at it every single day as a reminder of the incredible opportunity that I was fortunate to take advantage of at Partners HealthCare," said Year Up alumnus Christo Joassaint. "I never dreamed that my reality today was ever in the cards for me."
A new country, a new language, and his first encounter with snow didn't stop Christo from reaching his full potential, and his internship memento is a constant reminder of his journey to a role in Boston's premier health care industry.
Christo started at Partners HealthCare as a Year Up intern and now proudly works there full-time as an associate testing coordinator writing test scripts, creating job aids to help new employees, and testing Epic— the electronic health record system that Partners uses across all of its hospitals. As a leading nonprofit health care system, Partners includes two of the nation's most renowned hospitals, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, in addition to Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, and numerous others.
"It means a lot to me that Partners HealthCare and Year Up provided me with this amazing opportunity," said Christo. "Partners took a chance on me, and I think that I have proven that it was a good chance since they hired me when my internship was completed. I am so grateful that Partners and my managers have been extremely supportive every step of the way."
Christo's path to a professional career at Partners was shaped by his personal journey. After his mother passed away while giving birth to his brother, Christo and his father, two brothers, and sister moved from Haiti to the U.S., where they first landed in a small apartment in Brockton, Mass.
"Moving to America wasn't easy," Christo said. "I was leaving my country behind with all my friends, my family, and my culture, in search of an opportunity to attain the American Dream. It honestly took me a few years to get adjusted to not being in my home country."
As his family moved 10 times over the next 13 years, Christo's father was an anchor—caring for four children, working two jobs, and even pastoring a church. Christo had his sights set on college, but due to financial reasons, was unable to attend without a full scholarship. Instead, he sought out employment and began working at a Dunkin' Donuts in Boston. It was here that a coworker told him about Year Up, and he applied the next day.
"Going into Year Up, I wasn't sure what to expect," Christo said. "What I didn't know was that this would be the place that would change my life forever."
At Year Up, Christo specialized in quality assurance and learned in-demand technical skills like coding and application testing, as well as valuable professional skills like email etiquette and how to give a strong handshake. The training, along with Year Up's high expectations and high support model, set up Christo for success at his Partners internship, where he had the opportunity to work on several different projects and impress his managers.
"I arrived at Partners HealthCare eager to contribute and learn, and feeling confident that Year Up had given the necessary tools to get started," Christo said. "I was able to make positive contributions to my team, which resulted in me receiving an offer for a full-time position to remain on after my internship, which I gladly accepted."
"Working for Partners HealthCare has been an amazing experience," he continued. "We are one of the leading health care organizations in the country, and being able to contribute to our success and accomplishments is a great sense of pride for me."
Another sense of pride for Christo has been the opportunity to pursue the higher education goals that he had to put on hold. He is currently working toward his degree at Bunker Hill Community College and was recently accepted to Northeastern University, where he plans to continue studying computer information systems.
Between working full-time at Partners HealthCare— which has hosted more than 230 Year Up interns and hired more than 175 graduates since 2001— and meeting the incoming interns each program cycle, Christo says that he is honored to serve as a role model. He tells young adults considering applying to Year Up: "If you feel like you are ready for a challenging yet empowering year, then yes, this is the program for you."