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LISC supported University City job training program getting results

November 7, 2013

Over the last three years, University City District has worked to develop a strong job training program that would connect residents of West Philadelphia with opportunities in their own neighborhood. A recent article in the Philadelphia Daily News and on highlights the results of UCD’s programs so far.

West Philadelphia residents overall struggle with high unemployment and low educational attainment, despite the fact that they live in the back yard of major anchor institutions like University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia that together house tens of thousands of jobs. LISC supported UCD’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative and helped UCD create a Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) that would combine job training and placement with support accessing public benefits and financial counseling. UCD is also a partner in LISC’s Sustainable Communities Initiative in West Philadelphia.

University City job training program getting results

by Solomon Leach posted October 29, 2013 on

After several months of sending out resumes and applying for jobs, all Joyce Bacon wanted was an interview – a chance to meet with an employer face-to-face to talk about her skills. Little did Bacon know that chance would come at a world-renowned medical institution, and one not far from her home – Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In April, she was hired as a patient sitter, and recently promoted to in-patient clerk.

Bacon, 36, is among dozens of West Philadelphia residents who have gotten opportunities through the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, a job-training program created by the University City District (UCD) in 2010 to connect people with in-demand jobs at some of the area’s largest institutions. Of the 95 people who have completed the program, 80 have been hired by employers who partner with the program, officials said.

Joyce Bacon stands in the lobby of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she’s been promoted to an in-patient clerk. The West Philly Skills Initiative was crucial in her getting hired at the hospital. (Photo by David Maialetti)

“What they did for me was just help push out the confidence that was already within me,” said Bacon, who has a background as a corrections officer and a schoolteacher. “The skills that I learned there will help me with future endeavors as well.”

Not only are graduates of the program getting hired, but they’re sticking around, often in positions that normally have a high turnover, officials claim. According to UCD, employers said the retention rate after six months is 92 percent.

Read the Philadelphia Daily News original article

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