Skills Initiative Update

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative is being carried out by University City District and places young adults in the SCI-West target area on a career path by providing apprenticeship positions in area medical institutions and tuition-free courses at Community College of Philadelphia.

The first cohort of students in the Penn Medicine Apprenticeship program are currently working part-time and attending classes part-time, allowing them the freedom to commit equally to the apprenticeship and coursework, without the burden of extra work. LISC funds pay the students as if they were full-time employees. This unlocks employer-funded tuition benefits that allow them to attend classes at no expense to themselves.

Additionally, SCI West is using this pilot program as the centerpiece of a new Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) in West Philadelphia, slated to open before spring 2012. The Opportunity Center will be a physical space that links West Philadelphia residents directly to local employers, and to the practical training around job skills, financial education, and benefits access they need to thrive. Through the FOC, participants in the pilot program will be able to receive one-on-one financial coaching, training around accessing benefits, and other extra supports.

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