Solomon presents $2.8 million for workforce development

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 26 – State Rep. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., this week presented a portion of $2.8 million in funding to the Urban Affairs Coalition as part of the PA Schools-to-Work program. 

The money is part of a program that Solomon worked to create through legislation (H.B. 796) in a previous session. A companion bill was also introduced in the Senate.

“I was humbled and thrilled to work in a bipartisan effort to develop the language ultimately used in this program,” Solomon said. “This establishes a program providing incentives to schools and local businesses to collaborate on work-based learning opportunities, apprenticeships, and jobs for high school students during the school year, the summer and after graduation, and will ultimately create local career pathways in our communities throughout Pennsylvania.”

Schools-to-Work grants are awarded and funded competitively in increments up to $250,000 for classroom training, workplace visits, internships, apprenticeships, mentorships, employment opportunities, job shadowing or externships. Applicant proposals must focus on building programs that will fill current and anticipated labor market needs in a given geographic area.

“Jobs, jobs, jobs are how we alleviate poverty and address racism,” said Sharmain Matlock Turner, president and CEO of the Urban Affairs Coalition. “The Urban Affairs Coalition was founded 55 years ago to eliminate poverty, discrimination, and civic unrest, and to secure human and civil rights. The Urban Affairs Coalition YOACAP’s project builds pre-apprenticeship programs providing 9th to 12th grade students at Mastery Charter Schools the opportunity to gain the skills, knowledge, experience, and connections they need for a successful career in the building trades. The program is designed to specifically address the many barriers that youth face with a culturally competent and highly tailored approach that offers participants a full suite of wrap-around supportive services.”

“Pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs are key in providing living wages for the next generation,” said Sheila D. Ireland, deputy secretary of workforce development at Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor & Industry. “The exposure and experience gained through these programs enable participants to qualify for high-paying positions that pay upwards of $70,000 a year.”

“The work the Urban Affairs Coalition and PWI does is about bringing hope and opportunities to communities in an equitable way,” said H. Patrick Clancy, president and CEO of Philadelphia Works, Inc. “Of the $2.8 million, $1.2 million went to the City of Philadelphia, which is a great start while encouraging the need for more funding.”

Other grant recipients in the Philadelphia area are: Communities in Schools of Philadelphia, Community College of Philadelphia, District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund, Big Picture Philadelphia and First Builders Inc.

The Schools-to-Work grants are funded by federal reemployment funds, which are used to support programs and services that assist individuals with becoming employed or improving their employment, such as job search and placement services, educational enhancement, job training and job readiness and workplace skills training.