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Philadelphia’s Promising Pivot: New Youth Workforce Initiative Aims to Streamline Career Development

By Maryann Pugh

PHILADELPHIA, PA — In a significant move towards fostering youth career development, the City of Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia, and Philadelphia Works have announced their collaboration on a city-wide initiative dubbed “Career Connected Learning PHL” (C2L-PHL). This program aims to integrate and streamline work-based learning activities, providing a host of opportunities for young Philadelphians to kickstart their careers.

Set to launch this summer, C2L-PHL plans to place 8,000 young people, aged 12 to 24, in summer employment. The initiative also seeks to broaden opportunities for year-round work-based learning activities to an additional 2,000 young individuals.

This new initiative represents a significant advancement for Philadelphia’s youth workforce system. It reinforces the city’s commitment to offering high-quality, career-connected learning activities for its younger population.

C2L-PHL succeeds the WorkReady program, which, over the past decade, has provided thousands of Philadelphia youth with paid work experiences during the summer and school year.

Vanessa Garrett Harley, Director of the Office of Children and Families, sees the potential in C2L-PHL. “It will offer many of our young people their first experience in the workforce and will help them discover the many pathways they can take to build life-sustaining and thriving careers,” she said.

Jermaine Dawson, Ed.D., deputy superintendent of academic services for the School District of Philadelphia, underscored the importance of the initiative. “Providing our students with opportunities to gain valuable skills that prepare them to realize any future they desire is critical,” Dawson said. “This partnership signifies an important investment in our youth.”

H. Patrick Clancy, president and CEO at Philadelphia Works, echoed these sentiments, highlighting the importance of open communication, stakeholder involvement, and shared vision. “This collaboration signifies a turning point towards establishing a more streamlined, impactful, and equitable youth workforce system for the future of Philadelphia,” Clancy said.

JEVS Human Services (JEVS) has been selected to serve as the fiscal and contracting intermediary for C2L-PHL, supporting program operations, employer engagement, program oversight, and fiscal management.

The importance of this initiative cannot be overstated. By providing young Philadelphians with work experience and career-connected learning opportunities, C2L-PHL is investing in the city’s future workforce. This could result in a more skilled, diverse, and economically vibrant city.

Furthermore, by establishing a more streamlined and efficient system for youth workforce development, C2L-PHL could potentially serve as a model for other cities grappling with similar issues. This initiative shows how collaboration between key stakeholders can lead to innovative solutions that benefit an entire community.

In essence, C2L-PHL is about more than just summer jobs. It’s about empowering Philadelphia’s youth, strengthening the local economy, and shaping the future of the City of Brotherly Love.

C2L-PHL enrollment opens in Spring 2024. Youth and their caregivers should periodically check the website at phila.gov/c2lphl for updated information about the program.

For the latest news on everything happening in Chester County and the surrounding area, be sure to follow MyChesCo on Google News.

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About Career Connected Learning PHL (C2L-PHL):
C2L-PHL is a city-wide collaboration for work-based learning and career exploration opportunities serving Philadelphia’s youth ages 12-24. From career awareness to job experience, these activities connect the reality of work to the learning environment. C2L-PHL is Philly’s version of career connected learning, a proven, nationwide model. Led by the City of Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia, and Philadelphia Works, our approach has three goals for youth:

1. Access, experience, and explore different career paths and fields
2. Work on the tools and skills needed to explore, set, and achieve career goals
3. Identify and utilize strengths and passions to inform career decisions

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