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Navy Yard Skills Initiative Connected More Than 60 Philadelphians to Jobs in 2022

Since its inception in August 2020, more than 120 Philadelphians have participated in 8 cohorts of PIDC’s Navy Yard Skills Initiative (NYSI) training programs, but 2022 was by far the most successful year of NYSI in connecting Philadelphians to meaningful employment in growing industries within the Navy Yard.

NYSI training programs are designed for individuals who have been disconnected from the workforce or who have limited professional experience to strengthen the skills and abilities that employers need. Through a partnership with University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI), NYSI recruits for a collaborative professional development program to train Philadelphia residents for permanent, full-time, quality-wage careers.

2022 by the Numbers

  • Cohorts: 6
  • Participants served: 93
  • Graduates connected with full-time quality jobs: 62 + 13 participants in the externship at Iovance Biotherapeutics for the Biomedical Technician Training Program (January 2023 – March 2023)
  • Placement rate for graduates: 88% of those who graduated from programs, including the 13 Iovance externships, were placed in full-time positions. This placement rate will increase after Jefferson graduates are hired.
  • Average starting wage: $17.37/hour
Date Employer Position Starting Wage Participants Served Participants Graduated Job Offers
Jan-22 Tastykake Production Associate $17.17 16 12 12
Mar-22 Philly Shipyard Inc. Apprentice $17.13 17 16 15
Jun-22 Tastykake Production Associate $14.65 16 12 12
Sep-22 Iovance Biotherapeutics Aseptic Manufacturing Technician $23.00 17 13 current participants 13 offered externship opportunities
Sep-22 Philly Shipyard Inc. Apprentice $17.13 9 6 6
Oct-22 Jefferson Health Patient Registrar $15.15 18 16 9 (job placement + interviewing in-progress)

Biomedical Technician Training Program: Aseptic Manufacturing Technician

In August, five organizations partnered to design a new biotech training program to connect Philadelphians with quality jobs in the region’s rapidly growing life sciences sector.

The Wistar Institute, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, Iovance Biotherapeutics, PIDC, and The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia collaborated to create a new workforce development training model to connect biotech jobs with a wider range of Philadelphians, including residents from disadvantaged communities. In a field that often requires PhDs or master’s degrees for most roles, the program – “Biomedical Technician Training Program: Aseptic Manufacturing” – creates opportunities for Philadelphians with at least a high school equivalency. The initiative is one way the region is working together to meet the talent needs in its rapidly growing cell and gene therapy sector.

Read more about the 22-week program here.

2022 BioBuzz Workforce Champion of the Year Award

In December, the Biomedical Technician Training Program was awarded Workforce Champion of the Year in the 3rd Annual 2022 BioBuzz Awards. The Workforce Champion Award recognizes the program or organization that has made a measurable contribution to enhancing the biotech workforce within the region.

You can read more about the award here and watch the acceptance video below.

NYSI participants in the Biomedical Technician Training Program: Aseptic Manufacturing Technician cohort.

NYSI participants in the Biomedical Technician Training Program: Aseptic Manufacturing Technician cohort.

NYSI participants are briefed in a Philly Shipyard, Inc. cohort.

NYSI participants are briefed in a Philly Shipyard, Inc. cohort.

Graduates of the NYSI Tastkake cohort pose for a picture.

Graduates of the NYSI Tastkake cohort pose for a picture.

Participants of the NYSI Jefferson Health cohort attend a training session.

Participants of the NYSI Jefferson Health cohort attend a training session.

Graduates of a NYSI Philly Shipyard, Inc. cohort pose with Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon as she awards a $525,000 check to the NYSI.

Graduates of a NYSI Philly Shipyard, Inc. cohort pose with Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon as she awards a $525,000 check to the NYSI.

 

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Rhoads Industries Receives Funding to Bolster PA’s Manufacturing Industry

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Governor Tom Wolf made an announcement December 30, 2022, that Rhoads Industries, Inc. (Rhoads) is set to receive $400,000 in funding to help strengthen its workforce development program and meet the production needs it has at the Navy Yard.

Founded in 1896, Rhoads has grown from a small fabrication shop to a leader in industrial fabrication, installation, maintenance services and facilities for commercial and government customers. Rhoads maintains more than 300,000 square feet of industrial manufacturing facilities at the Navy Yard.

From the official press release:

Governor Tom Wolf announced $400,000 in funding for Rhoads Industries to bolster a program that brings awareness to careers and opportunities within the state’s manufacturing industry and supports companies in identifying and training a skilled workforce through targeted programs and service.

“It’s crucial that we make strong investments in programs like this one that bolster Pennsylvania’s manufacturing industry and help ensure its strong and vibrant future,” said Gov. Wolf. “This program through Rhoads Industries will help grow the workforce in the area and maintain a strong pipeline of skilled manufacturers for many years to come.”

Rhoads Industries was awarded $400,000 through Pennsylvania’s Manufacturing Training-to-Career (MTTC) program to enhance their regional workforce development program in southeastern Pennsylvania. The program, in partnership with the U.S. Navy Shipbuilding Industrial Task Force and the Project Executive Office of the Columbia Class Submarine program, will address pipelines and critical trade skills needed to further advance the U.S. Navy’s priorities of labor force recruitment, development, and retention.

“Rhoads Industries is thrilled to continue advancing and supporting the Navy’s mission of developing workforce growth in our Philadelphia facility,” said Trish Conti, Manager of Workforce Development, Rhoads Industries. “The extension of this program will greatly assist Rhoads and other critical suppliers in the region by accelerating significant trainings, establishing pipelines and creating a mechanism for ramping up the critical manufacturing infrastructure needed for Naval targeted growth”

Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative was launched in October 2017 and since then has funded 87 projects and invested more than $18.4 million through the MTTC program.

Training-to-Career grants support projects that result in short-term work-readiness, job placement, or the advancement of manufacturing. The Manufacturing PA Training-to-Career Grant program works collaboratively with local manufacturers to identify and teach missing essential skills for entry-level applicants seeking manufacturing employment, engage youth or those with barriers to career opportunities in manufacturing, and or advance capacity for local or regional manufacturers.

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Navy Yard Skills Initiative Program Named Workforce Champion

FROM A WISTAR INSTITUTE JOINT RELEASE

BioBuzz Workforce Champion Award goes to Wistar’s New Biomedical Technician Training Program for Adults 

A collaborative program with West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, Iovance Biotherapeutics, and PIDC focuses on training adults for jobs in the specialized life science sector.

 PHILADELPHIA — (DECEMBER 14, 2022) — The Wistar Institute Biomedical Technician Training (BTT) Program was awarded Workforce Champion of the Year in the 3rd Annual 2022 BioBuzz Awards. The program is a collaborative that includes The Wistar Institute, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, Iovance Biotherapeutics, PIDC, and others. The award, based on votes from individuals throughout the community, celebrates the outstanding life science institutes, companies, and people that make up the Philadelphia and BioHealth Capital Regions. The program, modeled on Wistar’s successful BTT Program for community college students, focuses on an underserved adult population – adults with a GED or high school diploma.

“This Program was conceived of—by Philadelphians—and for Philadelphians,” said Kristy Shuda McGuire, Ph.D., Wistar dean of biomedical studies. “What better way to support our growing workforce than with Philadelphia residents trained in sought after, specialized skills. The newest iteration of our BTT Program is focused on meeting demands of local biotechnology companies for a diverse and skilled workforce.”

The more than 400 applicants support the fact that there is a strong interest among Philly’s adult population to explore this career opportunity. From that applicant pool, 18 participants were chosen and are currently learning in Wistar’s Training Lab. West Philadelphia Skills Initiative led recruitment, selection, and professional development programming.

“The development of this unique program required thoughtful collaboration from key partners ranging from University City, to Philadelphia Works, to the Navy Yard, and more,” said Cait Garozzo, executive director of the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative. “We are tremendously pleased for the recognition from BioBuzz for what we feel is a truly innovative workforce program.”

Funding was provided by Philadelphia Works, grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry PAsmart program, GSK, and Justamere Foundation. BTT Program graduates who successfully complete the training qualify for technician positions at Iovance Biotherapeutics. The Program prepares participants for skilled positions that involve maintaining sterile labs, assembling sterile products, stocking supplies, and documenting processes of biomedical manufacturing – a rapidly growing area in Philadelphia.

“Iovance is excited to help introduce a wider, diverse range of Philadelphians to new technical skills and career options in biotech manufacturing,” said Jamie Crawford, vice president of Iovance Cell Therapy Center (iCTC) Manufacturing at Iovance Biotherapeutics. “We hope this new program can serve as a model of inclusivity within the biotech workforce, to fill the growing demand for technicians in the region.”

“This award truly reflects how meaningful, strategic partnerships can support positive change and provide quality opportunities to individuals and communities that previously lacked access,” said Kate McNamara, PIDC’s senior vice president, Navy Yard. “It’s very exciting that the Navy Yard and PIDC are involved in this partnership and are part of workforce solutions for a rapidly growing industry.”

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The Wistar Institute, the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, marshals the talents of an international team of outstanding scientists through a highly enabled culture of biomedical collaboration and innovation, to solve some of the world’s most challenging and important problems in the field of cancer, immunology, and infectious diseases, and produce groundbreaking advances in world health. Consistent with a pioneering legacy of leadership in not-for-profit biomedical research and a track record of life-saving contributions in immunology and cell biology, Wistar scientists pursue novel and courageous research paths to life science discovery, and to accelerate the impact of early-stage discoveries by shortening the path from bench to bedside. wistar.org

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) is one of the nation’s most successful workforce development organizations. For 10 years, WPSI has solidified its role as one of the highest performing workforce intermediaries in the country by building customized talent solutions that bridge the divide between unemployed Philadelphians seeking opportunity and employers seeking talent. WPSI focuses on professional development and career coaching for adults. www.philadelphiaskills.org

Iovance Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: IOVA) aims to be the global leader in innovating, developing and delivering tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapies for patients with cancer. We are pioneering a transformational approach to cure cancer by harnessing the human immune system’s ability to recognize and destroy diverse cancer cells in each patient. Located in Philadelphia, PA, our Iovance Cell Therapy Center (iCTC) is the first centralized and scalable manufacturing facility dedicated to producing TIL therapies for patients with solid tumors. Our lead late-stage TIL product candidate, lifileucel for metastatic melanoma, has the potential to become the first approved one-time cell therapy for a solid tumor cancer. For more information, please visit www.iovance.com

PIDC is Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation. Since acquiring the 1,200-acre site from the federal government in 2000, PIDC has been the master developer and site operator of the Navy Yard. PIDC’s mission—to spur investment, support business growth, and facilitate developments that create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, and drive growth to every corner of Philadelphia—strongly informs its strategy for the Navy Yard, where the focus is on building a cohesive community that fosters employment, innovation, and production. PIDC manages all aspects of the property’s management and development, including master planning, leasing, property management, infrastructure development, utility operation, and structuring development transactions. www.PIDCphila.com www.navyyard.org

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Navy Yard Skills Initiative Begins Recruitment for Patient Registrar at Jefferson Health

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University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) and PIDC’s Navy Yard Skills Initiative (NYSI) are recruiting across Philadelphia for training and job opportunities as a Patient Registrar at Jefferson Health. Full-time positions begin at $15.15/hr.

Register online for a virtual info session to learn more about the program:

September 15 at 1 p.m. or September 22 at 11 a.m. 

Who should apply?

We are looking for customer service professionals who thrive in a fast-paced environment that requires frequent computer use. Commitment to the full training schedule (below) is required:

  • Facilitated group conversations, Mon – Fri, 9 a.m.-12 p.m., October 17 – November 4, 2022
  • Additional one-on-one and small group virtual meetings several times a week between 1-3 p.m.
  • Approximately 2 hours of daily reading and reflection exercises

What is the Patient Registrar Program?

This program is offered by the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) and Navy Yard Skills Initiative (NYSI) to connect participants to the tools and support needed to build a meaningful career at Jefferson Health. Participants must attend in-person sessions at the Navy Yard every weekday between October 17 and November 4 in addition to virtual group meetings and other daily assignments. Graduates will have the opportunity to interview for full-time Patient Registrar positions at Jefferson Health.

In this program, we offer:

  • Cutting-edge job connection strategies resulting in 91% of WPSI graduates finding employment
  • A $150 weekly stipend while in the Patient Registrar Program
  • The opportunity to interview for open, full-time Patient Registrar positions at Jefferson Health starting at $15.15/hr

Are you eligible? 

All applicants must be a resident of Philadelphia; commit to the full training schedule; possess a high school diploma or GED; be unemployed; be tobacco-free; Candidates for the Patient Registrar Program must provide proof of having received the COVID-19 vaccine by October 6, 2022 to be considered.

APPLY HERE! DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, September 30, 2022 at 5 p.m.

09.22 Jefferson Health Patient Registrar Square

Tour of the Philly Shipyard, Inc. facilities in front of the iconic goliath crane [photo by Ben Bowens Photography]

Philly Shipyard Hires 13 PIDC Workforce Development Program Graduates

PIDC and University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative is thrilled to announce that we graduated and placed 14 program participants from our second Navy Yard Workforce Development Initiatives training program today!  These participants completed the three-week Shipyard Laborer Program in partnership with Philly Shipyard Inc. and 13 were extended a job offer for full-time permanent employment in the government and commercial shipbuilding industry starting at $14.00/hour.

Shipyard Laborer Program Graduates

We partnered with Navy Yard company Philly Shipyard, Inc., a leading U.S. shipbuilder presently pursuing a mix of commercial and government work, ranging from shipbuilding to repair and maintenance, who had a large hiring need due to National Security Multi-Mission Vessels (NSMV) contracts. Over 220 applications were submitted, more than 100 applicants were invited to interview, and just 17 people were accepted into the program. With the placement of 14 participants, the job placement rate for this program is 93%!

Classroom session at Penn State at the Navy Yard [photo by Ben Bowens Photography]

The Shipyard Laborer Program is designed to connect participants to the professional and technical training, tools, and supports needed to build a meaningful career at Philly Shipyard. This three-week program included 37+ hours of in-person training and coaching using the classroom space at Penn State at the Navy Yard, 10 hours of safety training to earn an OSHA-10 certification, 4 hours of basic life support and CPR training, and one worksite visit touring the Philly Shipyard campus and meeting with the staff. 

Tour of the Philly Shipyard, Inc. facilities in front of the iconic goliath crane [photo by Ben Bowens Photography]

This program the second of four collaborative professional development training programs managed by West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) and PIDC’s Navy Yard Workforce Development Initiatives (NYWDI) to train Philadelphia residents for permanent, full-time, quality-wage careers at the Navy Yard.We are looking forward to many more successful programs connecting Philadelphians to life changing careers. 

Tour of the Philly Shipyard, Inc. facilities [photo by Ben Bowens Photography]

Small machine operations training at the Navy Yard. Photo by Ben Bowens Photography.

PIDC & WPSI Graduate Nine Workforce Program Participants; All Hired by Four Seasons Total Landscaping

PIDC and University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative is thrilled to share that we graduated and placed 9 program participants from our first Navy Yard Workforce Development Initiatives training program today!   Read more

WPSI has had tremendous success connecting West Philadelphians to landscaping positions through previous partnerships with Brightview Landscaping and in the development of University City District’s own Green City Works social venture landscaping business. Building on this model, WPSI and NYWDI custom designed the Grounds Maintenance Laborer Program for Four Seasons Total Landscaping to connect participants to the technical training, tools, and supports needed to build a meaningful career in landscaping.

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative and PIDC’s Navy Yard Workforce Development Initiatives Launch First Collaborative Professional Development Program with Four Seasons Total Landscaping

Contact:
Jennifer Tran, Director, Navy Yard Marketing & Communications
215-218-2854 or jtran@pidcphila.com

Chris Richman, Director of Marketing and Communications
215-243-0555 or chris@universitycity.org


CLICK TO APPLY TODAY!

Deadline to apply is Friday, February 5, 2021 at 5:00 PM EST


University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) and PIDC’s Navy Yard Workforce Development Initiatives (NYWDI) are launching their first collaborative professional development program to train West and South Philadelphia residents for permanent, full-time, quality-wage careers. Four Seasons Total Landscaping is the first employer partner at the Navy Yard to participate in the program and it will offer opportunities for graduates to interview for laborer positions starting at $14/hour. The partnership is made possible thanks to a $1.5 million investment from JP Morgan Chase Foundation to create a place-based network of employer-driven workforce programs in North, South, and West Philadelphia, building on and expanding the WPSI professional development model. The collaborative aims to replicate key aspects of the Skills Initiative’s nationally recognized talent solutions model, where 95% of participants are connected to employment upon successful completion of the program.

“The Skills Initiative has supported more than a thousand talented West Philadelphians in leaving behind long-term unemployment to secure, life-changing jobs,” said UCD President Matt Bergheiser. “We’ve long aspired to expand this work to other neighborhoods through strong and committed partners. PIDC and Four Seasons Total Landscaping offer a superb opportunity to launch this new workforce collaborative at the Navy Yard.”

In addition to its traditional focus on essential front-line positions with the area’s universities, health systems, and other large employers, WPSI has had tremendous success connecting West Philadelphians to landscaping positions through previous partnerships with Brightview Landscaping and in the development of University City District’s own Green City Works social venture landscaping business. Building on this model, WPSI and NYWDI custom designed the Grounds Maintenance Laborer Program for Four Seasons Total Landscaping to connect participants to the technical training, tools, and supports needed to build a meaningful career in landscaping. Four Seasons Total Landscaping is growing through new contracts with the Philadelphia International Airport and GreenUP (managed by the Philadelphia Water Department), as well as continuing in its role as one of the Navy Yard’s landscaping vendors for the past 20 years.

The Grounds Maintenance Laborer Program will be the first opportunity to utilize the Navy Yard campus for the green industry trades training. The 1,200 campus will provide participants a rich learning environment by combining several green industry job sectors all within one singular location.

“PIDC is grateful for JP Morgan Chase Foundation’s investment and their confidence in us and our partners to create a place-based workforce development program in South Philadelphia at the Navy Yard,” said Anne Bovaird Nevins, President of PIDC. “We are thrilled to collaborate with the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative to engage with Navy Yard businesses, including our longstanding relationship with Four Seasons Total Landscaping. At the completion of the first cohort, PIDC and WPSI will train and connect Philadelphians to quality jobs that offer benefits and sustainable full-time employment, and this is just the first of many to come.”

Founded in 1992, Four Seasons Total Landscaping is a certified women-owned business (WBE) and has grown from a small residential and commercial company to a full-service industrial enterprise. Four Seasons Total Landscaping services the Philadelphia International Airport and the Northeast Philadelphia Airport, handling both interior plant maintenance and exterior grounds maintenance. It has provided two decades of service and maintenance at the Navy Yard, including grass cutting maintenance, site weeding, mulch application, site porting, landscape installs, leaf cleanup, and snow removal.

“Four Seasons Total Landscaping is proud of our long-standing relationship with PIDC and the Navy Yard,” said Marie Siravo, President of Four Seasons Total Landscaping. “We are thrilled to have a role in this exciting program which will bring qualified candidates to join our growing team and set them up for a career in landscaping.”

The Grounds Maintenance Laborer Program is a cohort-based training model that will blend virtual courses and in-person sessions that maintain high standards of safety compliance in the face of COVID-19 to train for two roles: Grounds Maintenance Laborers earning $14/hour, and Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Laborers earning $18.98/hour. During the six-week program, participants will earn an OSHA-10 – General Industry Safety Certification, First Aid/CPR certification, and gain exposure to GSI work, plant beds, and small machinery. This hands-on training will be provided by Four Seasons Total Landscaping in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), who since 2017 has been transitioning the Navy Yard from conventional landscaping operations to a more environmentally conscientious management plan.

Four Seasons Total Landscaping has a multitude of contracts which allow individuals to gain experience in several ways beyond mulching, planting, and clean-up. This includes opportunities to learn cutting maintenance and GSI, as well as herbicide and pesticide state certifications. Laborers working for Four Seasons Total Landscaping can also be promoted into foreperson roles starting at $18/hour. The process from Laborer to Foreperson can take six to 12 months depending on need in the company, but Four Seasons Total Landscaping seeks to train and promote from within, meaning graduates of the job training program will have opportunities to move up in their career.

The program seeks goal-oriented, motivated individuals living in South & West Philadelphia with a desire to obtain full-time permanent employment in the landscaping industry. Successful candidates must thrive in a labor-intensive, fast-paced environment that operates in all weather conditions. A customer-first mindset and attention to detail and safety is a must for this position. Interested applicants can visit https://navyyard.org/workforce/jobs to learn more about the program and submit an application through Friday, February 5th at 5:00 PM.

A.J. Adams, PIDC’s new Program Manager, Navy Yard Workforce Development Initiatives

The Navy Yard Launches its Pilot Workforce Development Program

With a generous $1.5 million grant from the JPMorgan Chase, PIDC is thrilled to officially launch its pilot workforce program in collaboration with University City District (UCD) and the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) and Temple University. Together, we will partner to build a place-based network of employer-driven workforce programs in West, North, and South Philadelphia.

These partners represent communities experiencing significant economic growth – at West and North Philadelphia’s anchor institutions, and at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia. Since WPSI’s inception in 2011, program participants who had previously been unemployed for an average of 53 weeks have gone on to earn more than $30 million in collective wages while increasing employers’ productivity and excellence.

Building on the successful and proven West Philadelphia Skills Initiative model, PIDC at the Navy Yard will engage with our employers to understand their hiring needs, and then work to build talent pipelines in adjacent communities to advance workers into career trajectory jobs while addressing staffing challenges for businesses.

Adrian “A.J.” Adams will lead the Navy Yard’s workforce development initiatives as the Program Manager. He joins the PIDC team with the exciting opportunity to recruit, assess, select, train and place South Philadelphia residents in career-ladder jobs at the Navy Yard that offer stability and opportunities for advancement. Prior to joining PIDC, A.J. worked for the City of Philadelphia, Office of Workforce Development administering the City’s first-ever municipal-focused workforce development program, which was designed to create viable pathways to permanent employment for under/unemployed Philadelphia’s. With seven years of experience supporting adult job seekers, employers, and programs focused on career training, A.J. is an enthusiastic workforce professional dedicated to designing programs to help Philadelphians connect to high-quality employment. When not working A.J enjoys time with his family, being outdoors, and cycling. In August he will compete in his first mountain bike race, traversing 32 miles and over 2,800 ft of elevation in central PA.

A.J. Adams, PIDC’s new Program Manager, Navy Yard Workforce Development Initiatives

JPMorgan Chase’s gift is a major investment in our collaborative work, and we are deeply grateful to them for their support. These funds will allow PIDC to continue to deliver on our commitment of an innovative, inclusive, and welcoming place in Philadelphia for workers to access life-changing career opportunities.