PHILADELPHIA – On behalf of Private Employers, David Donald of People Share was asked to speak to Congressional staff members involved in the authorization and appropriation of the public workforce system today visited Philadelphia to see how the federal investment in the local workforce system is being implemented.
Philadelphia, where the unemployment rate has topped 11 percent in recent months, joins the State of Michigan as the second in a series of site visits focused on adult workforce development activities. The effort is funded by a grant from the Joyce Foundation to the Workforce and Education Policy Group, the DC arm of Boston-based Jobs for the Future.
Organized by the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board (WIB) in partnership with Mayor Michael A. Nutter, 16 Congressional staffers heard from system leaders and partners, and got a first-hand look at model job training programs and services offered at CareerLink Centers to help recently laid-off workers and adults looking to advance their careers.
“The City of Philadelphia is honored to have been selected for this visit,” said Mayor Michael Nutter. “The federal funding we receive to help increase economic opportunities for all Philadelphians and to provide the workforce necessary for our businesses to thrive has great impact, and we’re proud to have a locally-driven system in place that uses that funding strategically and effectively.”
The focus of the visit was for Congressional staff to learn how federal workforce initiatives are being utilized by the City of Philadelphia, and to examine innovative initiatives seeded with federal workforce funding.
“Philadelphia has a unique set of human capital challenges,” observed Sallie A. Glickman, CEO of the Philadelphia WIB. “Given this context, having a comprehensive system that is able to partner and adapt to tackle issues such as adult literacy and college degree completion is critical.”
The Philadelphia WIB provides the city with strategic and policy guidance to guarantee that opportunities exist for all Philadelphians to become productive members of the workforce and helps ensure that Philadelphia’s businesses will have the human resources necessary to flourish in an evolving economy.
In addition to meeting with key decisions-makers, including well over 50 employees, and hearing the perspectives of major system partners, the day included a tour of the District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund; information on the region’s industry-driven sector partnerships, which align federal workforce funds with significant state and local investments; an introduction to the local PA CareerLink system, which serves as a “one-stop” network for individuals seeking employment or career advancement; and a presentation focusing on adult literacy and higher education linkages to the public workforce system and successful program models. Workforce investment boards are authorized in federal law.
Henry Nicholas, President of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, AFSCME, and Chair of the District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund, participated in a portion of the day. “For thirty-five years, our labor management partnership, the District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund, has focused on job creation and career advancement strategies that benefit employers and workers. We are pleased to host the US Congressional delegation and hope their experience in Philadelphia will inform much-needed workforce legislation that supports long term strategies to help alleviate the skyrocketing unemployment across the United States.”
About the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board
Founded in 1999, the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board is a volunteer commission appointed by the Mayor of Philadelphia with the legislated responsibility to govern the public workforce system in the city, including the CareerLinkCenters. The organization that supports the commission provides expertise in all facets of workforce development, and works to align the skills of the region’s labor force to meet the needs of industry, ultimately supporting the region’s growth and prosperity. The organization’s vision is a thriving and inclusive regional economy and its mission is to advocate and advance a demand-driven opportunity agenda that effectively prepares Philadelphians to compete in the economic mainstream.