Skip to the content

Reading Hospital – Tower Health’s High School Internship Program Recognized for Workforce Innovation

Reading Hospital – Tower Health’s High School Internship Program Recognized for Workforce Innovation

by Reading Hospital – Tower Health

Pictured above from left to right: P. Sue Perrotty, Tower Health president and CEO; Courtney Powers, Director, Community Wellness; Michelle Beltran Del Rio, Pathways Program Coordinator Desha Dickson, Tower Health Vice President, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Community Wellness; Chelsea Dziamba,Supervisor, Community Engagement; and Michelle Trupp, Reading Hospital Chief Operating Officer.

Reading Hospital – Tower Health received a prestigious award for its High School Internship Program, which helps to address gaps in career exploration opportunities through hands-on experiences. The program was one of three organizations statewide to receive the Workforce Innovators Award from The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) through its 2024 Achievement Awards.

“We are proud of our Internship Program and are extremely pleased with the results we’ve seen,” said Desha Dickson, Tower Health’s Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Community Wellness. “Of our graduates, more than 30 percent have remained engaged with the hospital through job shadowing, our college internship programs, or employment.”

The Reading Hospital High School Internship Program began in 2014 with six students from Reading High School. Now in its 10th year, the program has expanded to include school districts in Berks County and is currently hosting 29 high school seniors. In total, the program has hosted 117 students from 14 local school districts.

The Internship Program provides an opportunity to enhance students’ academic, professional, and personal development. Through hands-on experiences, students apply and develop their knowledge and skills in real-life situations. The goal is to help to positively influence future educational and career goals, leading students to confirm their desire to work in healthcare and serve as a pipeline for encouraging and supporting students to pursue careers in healthcare.

The Achievement Awards, started in 1978, recognizes hospitals and health systems that are taking innovative approaches to strengthening the safety and quality of care, enhancing operations and patients’ experience, and partnering with their communities to address public health needs. Reading Hospital competed against organizations of a similar size for the Workforce Innovators Award, which celebrates hospitals engaging the health care workforce through projects developed to attract, develop, and retain the best workforce. Entries were scored on specific criteria including results, adaptability, and how the goal of advancing health equity was embedded in the initiative. In total, 13 organizations out of 93 entries were selected for this year’s Achievement Awards.

“We are proud to announce the winners of HAP’s 2024 Achievement Awards, showcasing innovative, patient-centered projects that are making a difference in Pennsylvania,” HAP President and CEO Nicole Stallings said. “Strong health systems make strong communities and hospitals are central to our shared mission for a healthy Pennsylvania.”

Additional information about the awards program and detailed descriptions of the winning projects are available online.

Reading Hospital is the flagship, Magnet Recognized, acute care hospital of Tower Health. Located in West Reading, Reading Hospital is a 697-bed hospital that is home to many top-tier specialty care centers, including Reading HealthPlex, McGlinn Cancer Institute, Miller Regional Heart Center, Emergency Department, Level I Trauma Center, and Beginnings Maternity Center, which houses the region’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). With more than 1,000 physicians, specialists, and advanced practice providers across 49 locations, Reading Hospital has been recognized for its quality outcomes and clinical expertise across services lines. It is listed as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for three consecutive years. For more information, visit