Workforce Recovery Strategies Committee Aims to Address Pandemic Employment Challenges Through Collaboration

It’s a common refrain: Preparing Philadelphians for the workforce of the future will require collaboration.

A City of philadelphia-A group of government workers, community stakeholders and business leaders aims to keep this priority in mind while addressing the racial and economic inequalities that have been highlighted in the international scale in summer 2020.

This group, called Paths of reform, transformation and reconciliation, had met every two weeks to address these issues exacerbated by the pandemic. When we showed up in June – a year later – we heard member speakers say that the events of the past year had changed “everyone”. According to its own report, the city described the changes it was making to its police service, how it had approached economic recovery and assistance, and how it would work on community reform, including racial and social issues.

Another change spurred by a year of meetings has been the formation of the Workforce Recovery Strategies Committee. Philadelphia Works President and CEO Patrick clancy said in June that its other 13 partner organizations had realized that instead of leading parallel efforts to increase access to workforce development and training programs, they should work together. Philadelphia Works formed the committee earlier this year with the goal of aligning and coordinating city, state, and federal resources to invest in a shared workforce strategy.

“We realized that we shouldn’t be duplicating efforts, but maximizing them,” Clancy said. “The results will be better if we work together on these initiatives. “

So how are you? It’s too early to say what the results will be, but this month Clancy shared a few more details about the workforce committee’s plans, including partner organizations. Along with Philadelphia Works – a quasi-public, non-profit organization serving employers and connecting job seekers with employment and training opportunities – here are the organizations involved:

  • City of philadelphia, including representatives from six municipal departments and bodies such as the Commerce Department and Mayor’s Office of Education
  • Philadelphia Youth Network
  • Urban Affairs Coalition
  • United Way
  • Philadelphia Community College
  • Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation
  • Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
  • Philadelphia Housing Authority
  • Philadelphia School District
  • Philadelphia OIC
  • Philadelphia Urban League
  • Office of the president of the municipal council
  • Greater Philadelphia Philanthropy Network

In their virtual meetings, Clancy said, the partners assessed the funding to which existing programs might be eligible and how current workforce programs may intersect. They also identify where the city lacks certain training programs or where new opportunities will soon arise.

The recent $ 1 billion in infrastructure, for example, offers multiple opportunities for future programming to ensure that Philadelphians are trained for jobs in energy, roads or travel. Much of the infrastructure work will be union work, Clancy said, and they are talking with local officials about preparing for that work and creating a vital jobs – that is, jobs that offer long-term opportunities, a high rate of pay, benefits and opportunities for growth.

Another element of the current landscape is the anti-violence work underway in the city, Clancy said. The partners aim to raise funds for workforce development linked to youth programs to create opportunities for young people who will remain focused on career potential, although he did not specify how much. .

One of the main goals of this collaboration, he said, is “to make sure that we don’t miss out on large groups of individuals who, for other reasons, don’t have enough points of contact. connection with jobs ”.

A direct result of this collaboration was the work of Philadelphia Works which grew the Women in non-traditional careers program that trains and connects women to high-demand business programs. It is also rolling out 10 new training programs in IT and healthcare, after seeing that these industries were in high demand for new workers.

The conversation about workforce development and working amid the pandemic has been convoluted, said Clancy – and as the head of an organization with a goal of employing people in stable jobs, It has been difficult to watch unemployment soar and people being made redundant in the midst of a pandemic. As vaccines have spread, there has been some economic recovery, but people always quit their jobs at extremely high rates.

In August, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a slight drop in national unemployment. Sectors such as professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, private education and manufacturing experienced greater growth, while retail jobs continued to experience declines in the number of workers.

Clancy said his organization was surveying clients on what might be keeping them from working. While unemployment assistance has been cited, working conditions and safety with the Delta variant, access to childcare and work culture are high on most people’s lists, a- he declared.

In other words, it’s not just that people don’t want to go back to work. Instead, restaurant or retail jobs, where traditionally turnover is very high and workers have direct contact and exposure to the public, are not considered “valid” for pay and employees. unpredictable schedules that are often associated with it.

“There is a feeling that people are tired of the way this has been,” Clancy said.

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