On Friday, April 15, Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) joined officials from PIDC, the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, and Philly Shipyard, Inc. to celebrate the latest graduates of the Navy Yard Skills Initiative and announce over half a million dollars in new federal funding to support the workforce program. Scanlon secured $525,000 for PIDC’s Navy Yard Skills Initiative in the Fiscal Year 2022 federal government funding package passed by Congress in March. It is one of 10 Community Project Funding awards in Scanlon’s district.
Thanks to the Community Project Funding secured by Congresswoman Scanlon, the Navy Yard Skills Initiative will be able to run for another full year. Since the program’s initial recruitment in February 2021, the program has graduated four cohorts of trainees — totaling 53 people — with 98% of graduates receiving full-time job offers after completing their training.
“The Navy Yard is home to the most exciting emerging center of economic activity in Philadelphia, with employers spanning industries from shipbuilding, to baking, to life sciences — and everything in between,” said Rep. Scanlon. “Like many businesses across the country, these employers are in need of skilled workers, and the Navy Yard Skills Initiative is helping to make those connections. The ‘earn while you learn’ model used by this program invests in unemployed and underemployed Philadelphians so that they can embark on long-term career paths rather than signing up for quick, minimum-wage work. I am thrilled to have secured funding to support another year of this incredible program, and to know that the Navy Yard Skills Initiative will continue to connect residents and employers with good jobs in PA-05 for years to come.”
“We are extremely grateful for Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon’s support in our Navy Yard Skills Initiative place-based workforce development program,” said Kate McNamara, PIDC’s Senior Vice President, Navy Yard. “This investment will go a long way, allowing Philadelphia residents to secure life-changing careers while providing Navy Yard businesses with the highly-skilled talent they need. We look forward to applying this investment to many more training programs over the next year.”
All 16 trainees who graduated on Friday have been offered full-time, union apprentice positions with Philly Shipyard, Inc. These positions start at $17.13 per hour, and include incremental pay increases over the three-year apprenticeship and 22 college credits in technical studies at Delaware County Community College.
“We have now completed two successful workforce training initiatives through the joint partnership with PIDC and WPSI,” said Mike Giantomaso, Vice President of Human Resources at Philly Shipyard. “These programs have been a great boost to our overall hiring efforts as we have had a lot of room to expand with the major contract award in April 2020 to build the National Security Multi-Mission Vessels (NSMVs) for U.S. DOT Maritime Administration (MARAD). I’m definitely looking forward to future workforce partnerships and want to thank everyone involved including our own district’s U.S. Representative Mary Gay Scanlon.”
Navy Yard Skills Initiative launched in 2020 in partnership with University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, connecting its first cohort of trainees to full-time, quality-wage careers with Four Seasons Total Landscaping through the Grounds Maintenance Laborer Program in March 2021. The second and fourth cohorts, which graduated in August 2021 and April 2022 respectively, were both paired with Philly Shipyard, Inc. for the Shipyard Laborer Program and Shipyard Apprentice Program. The third program partnered with Tasty Baking Company, maker of iconic Tastykakes, for the Production Associate Program in January 2022.
By creating unique, customized three-week training programs, Navy Yard Skills Initiative builds on the model developed by the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative to connect unemployed and underemployed Philadelphia residents to permanent employment with Navy Yard employers. West Philadelphia Skills Initiative’s existing program is a nationally-recognized model, where 95% of participants are connected to employment upon successful completion of the program.
“We are very excited by the ongoing success of the partnership with PIDC and the Navy Yard,” said Cait Garozzo, Managing Director of the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative. “Working with the Navy Yard has allowed us to connect with and serve employers and jobseekers outside our typical coverage area in West Philadelphia, and we’re incredibly grateful to Congresswoman Scanlon’s support of the program to build on the first year of impact.”
Navy Yard Skills Initiative is open to current Philadelphia residents with a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent credential. Participants receive a $150 weekly stipend while enrolled in the program and a guaranteed interview with the partner employer upon graduation. Applications for the next cohort will open on May 3 and again partner with Tasty Baking Company for the Production Associate Program launching in June.
The Fiscal Year 2022 spending bill provides $1.5 trillion in discretionary resources, including nearly $8.5 million in Community Project Funding secured by Scanlon for organizations in PA-05. Additional information on the Community Project Funding awards in Scanlon’s district is available here.
The Community Project Funding application process for Fiscal Year 2023 is now open. Requests from organizations in Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District are due to Scanlon’s office by April 22. Learn more.
Photos from the Navy Yard Skills Initiative graduation ceremony held on Friday, April 15 are available for media use here. Please credit Ben Bowens Photography.