A Closer Look: The Generation Work Partnership in Philadelphia

Posted February 1, 2019
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Young person learning job skills

Photo credit: Jason C. Miczek for the Casey Foundation

As part of its Gen­er­a­tion Work™ ini­tia­tive, the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion is invest­ing in five part­ner­ships — in Cleve­land, Hart­ford, Indi­anapo­lis, Philadel­phia and Seat­tle — to explore new ways of help­ing young peo­ple gain the knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence need­ed to secure jobs that pay fam­i­ly-sus­tain­ing wages.

The post below is part of a series exam­in­ing the unique chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties at each site. The series will explore how each part­ner­ship is work­ing to posi­tion young peo­ple — espe­cial­ly youth and young adults of col­or and those from low-income com­mu­ni­ties — for work­place success.

This entry focus­es on Casey’s part­ner­ship in Philadel­phia, which seeks to expand job oppor­tu­ni­ties for the city’s 18- to 29-year-olds.

The Chal­lenges in Philadelphia

Philadel­phia is America’s poor­est large city, with a pover­ty rate of near­ly 26%. Employ­ment growth in the area has been slow­er than the nation as a whole, and—over the decades—many jobs have left the city for the sub­urbs. While medi­an wages among white Philadel­phi­ans have risen over the past sev­er­al years, the city’s edu­ca­tion and train­ing sys­tems have strug­gled to con­nect low-income res­i­dents of col­or — espe­cial­ly young peo­ple — to well-pay­ing jobs in the region­al labor market.

Despite the wide-rang­ing needs of its young res­i­dents, Philadelphia’s youth- and young-adult-serv­ing orga­ni­za­tions often lack the resources to pro­vide com­pre­hen­sive edu­ca­tion and train­ing. They also strug­gle to offer wrap­around ser­vices — such as trans­porta­tion, child care sub­si­dies and men­tal health sup­port — that are essen­tial to help­ing young peo­ple from low-income com­mu­ni­ties suc­ceed in the work­place and in life.

The Partnership’s Approach

The Gen­er­a­tion Work part­ner­ship in Philadel­phia aims to devel­op a coor­di­nat­ed and acces­si­ble work­force sys­tem — one that helps more young peo­ple of col­or and those from low-income com­mu­ni­ties secure jobs that pay fam­i­ly-sus­tain­ing wages and offer career advance­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties in high-growth sec­tors, such as health care and technology.

The part­ners are work­ing with local pol­i­cy­mak­ers and ser­vice providers to share lessons, strength­en refer­ral rela­tion­ships, improve data acces­si­bil­i­ty, devel­op and pro­mote racial-equi­ty prac­tices and com­bine proven youth-devel­op­ment lessons with work­force and edu­ca­tion strate­gies. The part­ner­ship is also engag­ing addi­tion­al fun­ders to sup­port this effort.

Key Part­ners

  • The Dis­trict 1199C Train­ing & Upgrad­ing Fund col­lab­o­rates with a net­work of near­ly 100 employ­ers — includ­ing hos­pi­tals, nurs­ing homes and ear­ly child­hood cen­ters — to pro­vide young peo­ple with train­ing and edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties, career coach­ing and wrap­around ser­vices that give them the oppor­tu­ni­ty to gain cre­den­tials need­ed for careers in health care and human services.
  • Youth­Build Philadel­phia Char­ter School helps young peo­ple ages 1820 earn a high school diplo­ma while gain­ing work-based learn­ing expe­ri­ences in key indus­tries — such as child care, health care and con­struc­tion — in a sup­port­ive and com­mu­ni­ty-ori­ent­ed environment.
  • The Job Oppor­tu­ni­ty Invest­ment Net­work (JOIN) is a coali­tion of work­force-devel­op­ment fun­ders that seeks to increase equi­table access to fam­i­ly-sus­tain­ing jobs and careers for peo­ple in the Greater Philadel­phia area.
  • The Philadel­phia Youth Net­work coor­di­nates and sup­ports numer­ous orga­ni­za­tions that help young peo­ple ages 1224 from low-income fam­i­lies gain the skills and expe­ri­ences they need to suc­ceed in well-pay­ing careers in the local labor market.

Mea­sur­ing Success

The Gen­er­a­tion Work part­ners define suc­cess as pro­vid­ing youth and young adults with the sup­port and guid­ance they need to real­ize their goals and attain the skills nec­es­sary to suc­ceed in the work­place, putting them on a path to well-pay­ing careers in grow­ing industries.

Read More About the Gen­er­a­tion Work Part­ner­ship in Philadelphia

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