University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative Awarded 2nd Substantial Grant From Pew Charitable Trusts

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The University City District (UCD) has been awarded an $180,000 grant from Pew Charitable Trusts for continued support of the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative. The University City District was one of 45 Philadelphia-area organizations to receive money from the Pew Fund for Health and Human Services, the primary vehicle through which The Pew Charitable Trusts supports the efforts of health and social service organizations in the Philadelphia region. The money will allow the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative to continue and improve its service of providing training and employment to low-income individuals in the district.  


About the grant, UCD Executive Director Matt Bergheiser says, “The Skills Initiative represents a pioneering approach to workforce development.  It is employer-driven, place-based and directed by an organization with nontraditional human service roots.  We’re deeply grateful that Pew has given us fuel to continue to innovate, and to fulfill our broader organizational mission of changing places and changing lives in West Philadelphia.”


This is the second grant the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative has received from Pew. The first, awarded in 2011, helped launch the program on its way to connecting West Philadelphia employers seeking talent to West Philadelphians seeking opportunity. Since its inception in 2011, WPSI has partnered with many of the key businesses in University City, including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, and worked to connect them to West Philadelphians in need of employment. WPSI also works with West Philadelphia high school students in an effort to prepare them through work experiences with increasing responsibilities and learning experiences focused on college and career advancement.


WPSI's mission 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. By working within an employer-driven, jobs-first model, we create programming that effectively connects people to work.