Pilot programs will better connect Philadelphia youth and young adults to opportunities in skilled trades and Information Technology careers
Philadelphia— Philadelphia Works, the Workforce Development Board for the City of Philadelphia, today announced it has awarded contracts to two organizations that will pilot new Pre-Apprenticeship programs to serve Opportunity Youth in Philadelphia. JEVS Human Services and the Urban Affairs Coalition/YOACAP will each receive approximately $300,000 in funds to support the startup of new programs in both IT and construction trades that will serve youth and young adults ages 16-24 years old.
“These new programs will serve a total of 75 opportunity youth over two years, connecting these young people to lucrative careers with local employers,” said H. Patrick Clancy, President and CEO of Philadelphia Works. “This innovative approach will engage youth at an extremely important crossroads as they transition into the workforce. By exposing them to viable career pathways at younger ages, we will ultimately create a workforce that is better prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”
The two organizations receiving contracts are JEVS Human Services and the Urban Affairs Coalition/YOACAP. JEVS will launch a new Information Technology Pre-Apprenticeship that will ultimately lead graduates into an IT Generalist Apprenticeship. The IT Generalist Apprenticeship will lead to employment in the IT sector, as well as careers within government, nonprofits, and educational institutions.
“Greater Philadelphia’s tech workforce is large and growing, but it is constrained by an undersupply of qualified candidates and a lack of diversity,” said Jay Spector, JEVS President and CEO. “This disconnect is especially wide for young people, women and people of color in Philadelphia. Through this contract and our collaboration with local employers we will strengthen the skills on-ramp for a diverse talent pool to lead to great opportunities in the IT Sector.”
The Urban Affairs Coalition/YOACAP will create a building and finishing trades Pre-Apprenticeship in partnership with the Finishing Trades Institute of the Mid-Atlantic Region (FTI). The Pre-Apprenticeship will serve as a pipeline to prepare young people to enter into FTI’s established apprenticeship programs for commercial painters, drywall finishers, glaziers and other building trades.
Woody Beale, YOACAP Executive Director believes that the building trades offer significant employment and training opportunities. “I was a carpenter apprentice and went through their 4-year program. The building trades offer in-depth training, great pay and benefits for individuals who enjoy working with their hands.”
Through these new pilot programs, Philadelphia Works seeks to create and strengthen relationships between WIOA youth providers, Pre-Apprenticeship programming, and Registered Apprenticeship programs. The programs will also streamline and diversify youth work experiences in order to better integrate year-round youth programming that connects with employers and the adult workforce. These goals align with one of the key recommendations in the citywide workforce development strategy: increase apprenticeships and other industry driven work-based learning opportunities to close the skills gap and support career advancement to middle-skill jobs.
“This is yet another example of our continued engagement of businesses, unions and non-profits to generate real opportunities for our youth,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Construction and IT are two industries that are challenged in the area diversity, and this program will directly address that issue while giving young people a career pathway leading to a job with family-sustaining wages.”
The new programs will launch in July with an inaugural class of young adults recruited from a number of Opportunity Youth service providers, including Congreso de Latinos Unidos, District 1199c Training and Upgrading Fund, Temple University Center for Social Policy and Community Development, and YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School.
About Philadelphia Works
Philadelphia Works is the city’s Workforce Development Board, investing in solutions and services to grow Philadelphia’s economy by connecting employers to workforce talent and career seekers to jobs. We influence the public policies that support economic growth, and optimize funding and resources to invest in regional solutions to build a skilled and thriving workforce. For more information about our dedicated board members and staff, workforce research, labor market data, services and initiatives, and to view success stories, please visit https://www.philaworks.org.