UC REVIEW • Citizens Bank Announces $125K Contribution To Support Expansion Of The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Originally published by University City Review


Citizens Bank Announces $125K Contribution To Support Expansion Of The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative

November 20, 2019


Citizens Bank has announced a $125,000 investment in University City District’s nationally recognized job training program, the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI), to support its expansion efforts. After having worked exclusively with University City employers and West Philadelphia residents, the organization will extend its reach to employers across the region.

Citizens Bank Mid-Atlantic President Daniel K. Fitzpatrick presented Craig Carnaroli, University City District Board President and Penn Executive Vice President with the ceremonial big check on behalf of the Citizens Charitable Foundation, and they unveiled details about the partnership. This was followed by a roundtable discussion, where WPSI program participants asked Fitzpatrick and Carnaroli their career questions.

“Citizens Bank is committed to increasing workforce development opportunities in the Greater Philadelphia region and few organizations have the track record of the team at the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative,” said Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, President of Citizens Bank, Mid-Atlantic Region. “We are proud to support the organization as it takes its efforts to the next level, providing more opportunities for unemployed Philadelphians to get the training and support needed to succeed in the workforce.”

“The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative succeeds in changing lives and transforming workplaces because of partnerships – with employers, with neighborhood groups and with the philanthropic community,” said Matt Bergheiser, President, University City District. “The enduring partnership of Citizens Bank, along with its unwavering belief in Philadelphia’s workforce, has had an indelible impact on our work.”

Through its employer partnerships and soft skills curriculum, the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative prepares and connects unemployed and under-employed Philadelphians to life-changing work while helping employers find and retain the talent they need. Thanks to the support of the Citizens Charitable Foundation, WPSI plans to serve more employers and jobseekers by extending its reach to employer partners across the region, targeting positions that have strong starting wages and robust career paths.

“We are lucky enough to work side-by-side with program graduates as they connect to, and excel in, their chosen careers,” said Sarah Steltz, Vice President for Workforce Innovation, University City District. “Employers throughout the city have noticed the talent coming through our program, and we’re thrilled to be able to expand our reach because of Citizens’ commitment.”

Early partners in WPSI’s broadened approach include SEPTA, which worked with the organization to recruit bus operators at a starting salary of $37,000, and the Philadelphia Fire Department, which is working with the Skills Initiative to recruit emergency medical technicians (EMTs) at a starting salary of $44,000.

Citizens Bank’s investment in WPSI is one of the largest the bank has made in Philadelphia. Since 2012, it has contributed more than $450,000 to the program. This represents the long term commitment the bank has made to give back to the communities it serves through the Citizens Helping Citizens initiative. Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthening Communities is one component of this program which is focused on giving back by investing in resources that create solutions to the toughest challenges in our neighborhoods: economic development, job training, small business development, affordable housing, and neighborhood revitalization.

About Citizens Charitable Foundation

The Citizens Charitable Foundation is a philanthropic organization funded by Citizens Financial Group, Inc. The Foundation’s mission is centered in the belief that citizenship is at the heart of Citizens’ identity, and when people and communities reach their potential, we all thrive. The Citizens Charitable Foundation currently focuses its giving in three key areas: helping people to manage their money, engaging with partners in the fight against hunger, and strengthening our communities. By investing in these important issues, the Citizens Charitable Foundation strives to improve the lives of our fellow citizens through building partnerships with public, private, and community interests to develop neighborhoods, transform lives, and stimulate economic renewal.

About University City District and the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative

University City District (UCD) works to change places and change lives. UCD promotes a world-class, vibrant University City through major investments in public space development, public maintenance and public safety, by connecting entrepreneurs and residents to economic opportunity, and through the creation and management of destination events. The mission of the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative is to connect West Philadelphia employers seeking talent to West Philadelphians seeking opportunity to build local workforce capacity and to support people in realizing their full economic potential. For more information: https://www.universitycity.org/wpsi.

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