Organizations receive grants to develop regional workforce

Monday, February 16, 2015

Oringinally published by The Philadelphia Tribune:

After a highly competitive application process, the Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN) has identified four organizations to receive $50,000 in planning grants through the Win-Win Challenge.

To increase the number of Greater Philadelphians earning a family-sustaining wage, the JOIN Win-Win Challenge supports the development of creative new workforce partnerships in the region.

“We are committed to fueling programs that foster collaboration and develop our talent in the Philadelphia region,” said Jennie Sparandara, director of JOIN.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to experiment with fresh ideas that could potentially jumpstart our economy, benefiting both our regional businesses and workforce. JOIN’s goal is to build more industry-led partnerships so that more Philadelphians can acquire the skills they need to achieve and maintain financial stability.”

JOIN is a United Way-led public private partnership of philanthropy, government, community organizations and local employers.

The Win-Win Challenge provides a unique opportunity for funders, training and development experts, policymakers and employers to explore innovative approaches to connecting Greater Philadelphians with work, and to learn from the challenges and successes experienced by each of the grantees as they launch new job training projects.

The four winning organizations include South Kensington Community Partners, Community College of Philadelphia, University City District and the Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC).

The South Kensington Community Partners initiative “South Kensington Works” will connect local low-skilled employees from small- to medium-sized food service and production businesses with training services and city-level support.

The Community College of Philadelphia initiative ““Advanced Manufacturing: Strategic Engagement for Targeted Training” will work with manufacturing employers to build affordable educational pathways for career advancement at the college.

The “University City District Landscaping Trades Social Enterprise” initiative will develop fee-for-service horticulture contracts with partners in University City and increase advancement and permanent placement for unemployed West Philadelphians.

The PHMC initiative “Building the Early Childhood Education Workforce in the Philadelphia Region” will build a training system along early childhood education career pathways, and improve quality of care for childcare providers.

Selected partners will also receive peer support and technical assistance, access to the National Fund for Workforce Solutions annual meeting, programmatic evaluation and case studies, one-on-one support from JOIN staff and consultants and opportunities to share learnings and results with media and policy, program, and philanthropic leaders. Win-Win Challenge partners will also be expected to report their outcomes on a regular basis.

Following the completion of the one-year planning phase beginning this month, JOIN anticipates awarding up to two two-year implementation grants of up to $300,000 each, to the partnerships that demonstrate the greatest potential for innovative program delivery.

“At United Way, we believe that our region’s future is tied directly to the strength of our workforce, and that everyone deserves to be able to provide for themselves and their families,” says Kevin Dow, senior vice president of impact and innovation at United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ), the managing partner of JOIN and chair of the JOIN Investors Committee.

“These projects will open doors to a brighter future for many of our community members looking to begin a stable career path. We congratulate the winning organizations and look forward to the workforce development solutions that emerge from their creativity and collaboration.”

Tribune Staff Report

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