$5 million grant to expand job-training programs for unemployed West Philadelphians

February 20, 2018

The University City District (UCD), the University City Science Center and Drexel University have been awarded a $5 million grant from the Lenfest Foundation to expand programs that train and place unemployed West Philadelphia residents in jobs, including UCD’s nationally-acclaimed job training program, the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative.

The program will connect nearly 600 previously unemployed residents to careers over three years and will reportedly result in over $16 million in wages generated in the community. More than 200 adults and high school students in West Philadelphia will also attain credentials, certifications, and exposure to STEM careers, setting them on meaningful pathways to employment.

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative has served over 800 jobseekers and generated $15.4 million in wages for previously unemployed local residents. Lenfest’s support will enable UCD to build new training programs with the Science Center and Drexel University, along with other employers in University City.

The grant will allow the Science Center to expand its nationally recognized FirstHand program to guide more local high-school students towards STEM-related careers, while working with the Skills Initiative to train and place local residents into the science and technology companies that are proliferating across University City.

Drexel will expand its long-standing commitment to the Skills Initiative to train residents for specific jobs across the University while enhancing its adult education programming and credentialing at the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.

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