The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation is doubling down on its commitment to supporting healthcare opportunities for young people, through Cedars-Sinai’s Youth Employment and Development (YED) Health Careers Academy. The foundation has pledged an additional $7.5 million to endow the program, which was created following the 1992 Los Angeles civil unrest, to offer local high school students from under-represented neighborhoods hands-on training and mentoring in the medical field.
“Young people with great potential and ambition can see a clear path forward to possible careers, where options may have once been limited, because of the generosity of The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation,” said Arthur J. Ochoa, JD, senior vice president of Advancement and chief advancement officer for Cedars-Sinai. “Cedars-Sinai is honored and so thankful to continue this transformative partnership.”
The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation is a longtime supporter of Cedars-Sinai, committing $30 million to establish The Chuck Lorre School of Allied Health at Cedars-Sinai in 2024. Support from the foundation, led by President and Chief Giving Officer Trisha Cardoso, has powered YED since 2014. The two-year YED program allows students from Fairfax High School to earn 10 high school credits as well as a paycheck, with many graduates going on to become Cedars-Sinai employees.
“It has been inspiring to meet so many of the current and past YED students and learn about their personal journeys,” said Lorre, who established his foundation in 2013 to expand his philanthropic projects. “The YED program is key to igniting students’ passions for the medical field and for providing a clear avenue to these careers. It just made sense to ensure that a program of this caliber would be able to provide these same opportunities for generations of students to come.”
There are currently 50 students in the YED program and 1,400 YED alumni. Lorre and his foundation team recently met with Timothy Islam and Gloria Arrenquin, two of the program’s success stories. Islam joined the YED program in 2014, shadowing specialists in the Spine Center and the Department of Neurosurgery. The program was instrumental in his decision to pursue a career in medicine. After graduating from UCLA in 2020, with a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and a minor in Biomedical Research, Islam was hired by Cedars-Sinai as a research associate.
He says the program changed the trajectory of his life. “Working in the YED program helped me pay for school supplies, exams and applications in high school, and helped offset some of the cost of living and tuition at UCLA,” Islam shared. “Most importantly, though, it provided me opportunities to explore different career paths at a young age.”
Arrenquin trained under the Teen Line program as a YED student. She was hired by Cedars-Sinai in 2008 and worked her way up to research operations manager for Biomedical Sciences. “Before YED, working in healthcare didn’t feel possible, but thanks to the program, I found my calling and am thankful every day for having that opportunity as a teenager,” shared Arrenquin. “I hope Mr. Lorre knows the incredible impact his generosity and vision have had on my life and livelihood.”
That impact is growing. Each student who passes through the YED program, with support from The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation, amplifies the program’s mission to improve college access and success for Los Angeles youth, and ensure career readiness for the next great medical minds to enter the healthcare field.
Read more from the Cedars-Sinai Blog: YED Program Adapts and Continues to Help Students