Highmark Supports Holy Family Academy

Highmark Supports Holy Family Academy

PITTSBURGH (Mar 16) – Today, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield presented $50,000 to Holy Family Academy to support the Academy’s Internship Program. Neil Parham, Director of Community Affairs at Highmark, presented the check at the monthly school-wide assembly to Lisa Abel-Palmieri, PhD, Head of School & Chief Learning Officer at Holy Family Academy.

Highmark HFA Presentation“We are pleased to support this outstanding program that is helping students build the skills they need to succeed in the future,” said Neil Parham, Director of Community Affairs, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. “These kinds of programs are vital for improving quality of life and strengthening our communities.”

A key component of the Holy Family Academy academic model is the corporate Internship Program. The model is new to Pittsburgh, but is inspired by established programs in many other U.S. cities, such as Boston, Cleveland, Memphis, Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles.

From freshman through senior year, Holy Family Academy students intern one day each week at some of the Pittsburgh region’s premier employers, completing tasks and projects typical of entry-level positions. The professional setting provides the students with experiences that reinforce the soft skills introduced in the classroom, including communicating effectively, delivering quality work, timeliness, collaboration, and decision-making.

The Academy and its staff have developed and implemented the Internship Program, partnering with more than 60 organizations which currently host all 120 Holy Family Academy students. In doing so, the school has created approaches that help its 21st century students build a holistic set of competencies needed to prepare for a complex, global society.

Highmark has supported Holy Family Academy’s corporate Internship Program since its inception, hosting three students the first year, four students last school year, and four students again this school year. The four students currently interning at Highmark are interning in the community affairs and claims departments, and the fitness center. Since 2011, Highmark has provided $450,000 in funding to support Holy Family Academy’s mission to help students build the skills necessary to succeed in college and the workplace.


About Holy Family Academy: Holy Family Academy is an affordable, innovative, independent, Catholic high school in Pittsburgh, providing students of all faiths college and career readiness, as well as a core focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Full-time work study jobs one day a week at more than 60 businesses throughout the greater Pittsburgh region provide hands-on learning and real-world experience. Field-based learning takes place one day at week too at education partner sites (Manchester Craftsman’s Guild, Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh’s Energy Innovation Center and The Citizen Science Lab/Duquesne University). The Academy currently has 120 students in grades 9 to 11, with a cohort moving to 12th grade in 2017. An athletic program, as well as 13 clubs, round out the experience. The students learn for the future with bold expectations that connect the whole child – self, work, community, health, and spirit. Visit www.hfa-pgh.org for more information.