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City Rallies to Support Youth Employment and WorkReady Philadelphia

As Giving Tuesday commences the charitable season, WorkReady begins fundraising for youth employment in 2017.

PHILADELPHIA, PA (Nov. 29, 2016) -- On this Giving Tuesday, Mayor James Kenney along with other city officials, businesses, and organizations rallied support for youth employment, making the plea to help give more young people an opportunity. WorkReady Philadelphia, a citywide campaign managed by the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), connects young people to employment opportunities that create a foundation to meet the challenges of generating a 21st century workforce.

The press conference began with Mayor Kenney reaffirming the City's commitment to its young people with the goal of providing 16,000 employment opportunities by 2020. This past year, 10,650 young people had work experiences provided by WorkReady and other employers and programs across the city.

"Youth employment is critical not only to the success of our youth, but of our city overall." said Mayor Kenney. "I'm proud of the work we did together last year, and I know we can provide even more opportunities in the coming year. In order to reach our goal, we have to work together, public and private sectors, to create more opportunities through WorkReady Philadelphia."

Of the 10 largest U.S. cities, Philadelphia has the highest rate of deep poverty, a crisis that can be alleviated through education and employment. As today's youth are tomorrow's workforce, ensuring that they are trained and prepared to enter the workforce is a critical need.

As Giving Tuesday kicks off the charitable season, PYN is working to secure early commitments from the public and private sectors to fund both WorkReady summer jobs in 2017 as well as year-round opportunities.

Among these year-round opportunities is a new partnership, the Hub at PA CareerLink® West, made possible by the US Department of Labor. The Hub integrates the youth and adult public workforce system, connecting youth and young adults with employment and education opportunities, while providing individualized supports.

"The economic vitality of our future, depends on the choices we make today," said Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of PYN. "On this Giving Tuesday, we are asking our partners, old and new, to give the gift of opportunity. Your investment is a contribution to ensure our young people succeed, our communities thrive, and our opportunities grow beyond summer to all year long."

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About WorkReady:
WorkReady Philadelphia is a cross-sector, city-wide initiative dedicated to improving the economic outcomes of the region's youth by attracting, aligning, and investing resources in coordinated, youth-workforce-development strategies. The WorkReady Philadelphia campaign is a collaborative of organizations and resources; including employers, schools, community-based organizations, advocacy groups, labor unions, and private investors.

About the Philadelphia Youth Network:
The Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) is the managing partner of WorkReady Philadelphia. PYN is an intermediary organization dedicated to connecting systems and leveraging resources. PYN works to equip young people for academic achievement, economic opportunity and personal success. To achieve this mission, we coordinate and support large-scale, cross-sector initiatives while developing targeted programs to expand access to services for underserved youth.

WorkReady takes the streets of Philadelphia on bus tour to showcase youth success

Program supporters are traveling to seven different work sites across the city to see youth demonstrate what they have learned and accomplished throughout the summer.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - On August 10 and August 11, WorkReady Philadelphia is hosting a citywide bus tour showcasing the accomplishments of the youth and young adults who participated in the program this summer. WorkReady supporters, including funders, government officials and other partners on the buses will have the opportunity to see and learn from the youth who participated in the summer program.

"The 2016 WorkReady Celebrations Tour puts a spotlight on our  youth,  who worked hard and accomplished so much during their summer program this year,” said Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), the organization that serves as managing partner of the WorkReady Program. "We are so proud to take our stakeholders all around the city, showing them a glimpse of the WorkReady summer programs success – straight from the youth themselves. This authentic experience allows us to also celebrate with our young people and partners citywide.”

Over the course of the two days, seven different worksites are being visited on the tours, those sites experiences will include:

Wednesday, August 10
United Communities Southeast Philadelphia
Projects and presentations at United Comunities Southeast Philadelphia will include two different components. The music club will be performing pieces inspired from different countries all over the world. There will also be a health and wellness group that will show a video about their urban farming projects.

Asian Americans United
Projects and presentations at Asian Americans United will be focused on a community meeting of people’s thoughts and struggles on voting. The information at this meeting will be based on student interviews with residents in the Chinese community. For the duration of the summer program students focused on 21st century skills by having the opportunity to problem solve and interact with a diverse group of people. Students participated in non-partisan civic engagement opportunities to register citizens to vote, primarily in the Chinese community. Afterwards students worked together and created a presentation centered around their findings.

Temple University – University Community Collaborative (UCC)
At Temple University, University Community Collaborative, the presentations will include a variety of exciting art projects which will feature four main projects:

  1. Reclaiming Ourselves: A photography series where youth will describe a piece of their identities, including bodies, emotions and neighborhoods.
  1. ‘Breakin’ It Down’: A brief history of street art - youth will produce short videos breaking down the local history of street art.
  1. Polarizing the Issue: Spoken word poetry - youth will use their poetry to move an audience on a social issue.
  1. POPPYN News Episode: Guests will watch a short video all planned, shot and produced by youth in the program regarding the issues young people care about in this year's Presidential election.

Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory
The program at the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory provides an engaging experience for youth, focusing on boat building, sail making, sailing and the environment. Youth at this program will showcase actual boats that they have built this summer as well as their skills in rowing. Visitors will also be able to take a ride on one of the boats built by the youth in program, with those same youth acting as rowing instructors.

Thursday, August 11
Caring People Alliance
The closing program will reveal how youth viewed data analysis, conducted experiments, and used a STEM-based approach to summer employment. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four themes, science, technology, engineering and mathematics. During the youth presentation a science fair will take place. Youth will use stations to display how certain substances change the natural behavior of living organisms.

Urban Affairs Coalition, Community College of Philadelphia
The Urban Affairs Coalition is hosting a digital media day. Stations will be set up around the room covering photography, story writing, video testimonials, and social media.

Temple University – Information Technology and Society Research Group (ITSRG)
At Temple University Information Technology and Society Research Group (ITSRG), guests can visit 12 stations where youth will be showcasing their work on the integration of technology as it relates to community need. These stations will include asset mapping, art installations, mobile fitness apps, game apps, and live demos of soundproofing techniques.

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About WorkReady Philadelphia
WorkReady Philadelphia is the city's workforce preparation system for youth and young adults, supported by investments from government, local and national philanthropies and Greater Philadelphia employers.  WorkReady is overseen by the Philadelphia Council for College and Career Success, a committee of the Philadelphia Works board. Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) serves as the managing partner and works with more than 60 organizations to operate WorkReady programs across the city. PYN also partners with the City of Philadelphia, the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Main Line Chamber of Commerce, Philadelphia Academies, Inc., and the School District of Philadelphia, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and The Urban Affairs Coalition to recruit investors to offer opportunities for youth through WorkReady. For more information about WorkReady, go to www.workreadyphila.org.

About the Philadelphia Youth Network
The Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) is an intermediary organization dedicated to equipping young people with the skills necessary to accomplish academic achievement, economic opportunity and personal success. To succeed in this mission, we bring together cross-sector partners from around the city to expand access to services for underserved youth ages 12-25. For more information about PYN, go to www.pyninc.org.

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PHILADELPHIA 2016 HOST COMMITTEE HIGHLIGHTS LOCAL YOUTH ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMS TAKING PLACE DURING THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION

PHILADELPHIA, PA - The Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention today introduced two program partnerships facilitated by the Host Committee that create unique opportunities for local Philadelphia young people to be involved in the activities surrounding the Convention. The Host Committee is partnering with WHYY, KYW Newsradio, the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement, and the Philadelphia School District's education channel (PSTV) to create a Youth News Team. This program is funded jointly by The Philadelphia Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Host Committee is also partnering with the Philadelphia Youth Network and the Committee of Seventy to create a Civic Youth Experience, offering young people an opportunity to be trained as Election Ambassadors and experience the Committee of Seventy's "Voices of Voting" performance, a short play written and directed by award-winning Philadelphia artistic director David Bradley, which will take place during the Convention at Science Leadership Academy.

The Host Committee facilitated these new partnerships and developed the programs with each partner to engage Philadelphia young people as part of its commitment to use the occasion of the Convention as an opportunity to make a lasting, positive impact on the Philadelphia community.

"The Host Committee is committed to having a lasting impact on the Philadelphia community, and providing programs that support the growth and development of our local youth is an important component of that commitment," said former Pennsylvania governor and Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee Chair Ed Rendell. "These programs will provide Philadelphia young people with new skills, knowledge and experiences from the Convention that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. I hope the participants enjoy the projects they are involved in, and I look forward to seeing the great work that comes out of these programs."

"We make Philadelphia a stronger city when we provide opportunities for young people to develop real skills and knowledge that will help them< develop their careers and be active members of their communities," said Mayor Jim Kenney. "These youth engagement programs orchestrated by the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee provide the young residents of our city with a unique opportunity to both get involved during the Convention and take on a leadership role within their community."

Youth News Team
The Youth News Team is a collaborative project that will offer 25 Philadelphia high school and middle school students interested in journalism with an opportunity to cover the Democratic National Convention. In addition to the program's core partners, the Youth News Team will also work with local media partners to provide mentorship and publish the students' original Convention content.

For the high school program, four groups of five students each (20 students total) will participate in a two-week program. It will include a journalism boot camp to learn media and journalism skills and then, during Convention Week, the students will cover Convention activities with the help of trained teachers and participating professional journalists. The students will work together to cover Convention events and activities, produce their own stories, receive hands-on training in journalism, production and convention politics from WHYY and PSTV. They will be guided by the following journalists through mentorship partnerships with their respective media outlets: Jared Brey from Philadelphia Magazine; Kristen Johanson from KYW; Sam Newhouse from Metro; George Spencer from NBC10; and Eric Walter from WHYY. For the middle school program, five middle school students, from different Philadelphia middle schools, will learn how to create media stories in written, audio and video form about their experiences covering the event, and produce a narrative that can be shared by local outlets.

Students in both the middle and high school programs represent a variety of schools across Philadelphia including: Girard Academic Music Program, William Meredith Elementary School, J.R. Masterman Middle School, General George A. McCall Elementary and Middle School, Philadelphia High School for Girls, Franklin Learning Center, Scribe Video Center, and Saul High School. Students' original news stories covering Convention-related activities, various caucus meetings and events will be published and promoted on PSTV, WHYY, KYW, PhillyMag.com, Metro, NBCPhiladelphia.com, and the Host Committee's Facebook and Twitter channels using #DNCYNT.

"Serving on the DNC Youth News Team is a unique opportunity for our students and teachers to see presidential history unfold," said Superintendent William R. Hite. "As they learn the inner workings of international journalism and presidential politics, I am proud they will carry not only the banner of their respective schools, but the well-wishes of peers and colleagues throughout the School District of Philadelphia."

"WHYY is proud to once again be working with talented students from Philadelphia schools," said Craig Santoro, Director of Educational Programs WHYY. "It's very exciting that young people will have a voice at the convention through the Youth News Teams."

This program is funded by The Philadelphia Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with the purpose of fostering young talent and providing a platform that adds the youth perspective and voice to a national dialogue.

Patrick J. Morgan, Knight Foundation Program Director for Philadelphia, said, "The program aims to foster young talent, while inspiring the next generation to get involved in our election process. Through it, we can create a stronger culture of civic engagement in Philadelphia and encourage students to be active participants in shaping their communities."

Pedro A. Ramos, President and CEO of The Philadelphia Foundation, said, "We believe that journalism is vital to a strong community, and that few challenges can be faced without a healthy flow of news and information. This is a remarkable opportunity for Philadelphia's youth — all natives of the digital age — to be uniquely engaged at a time of reflection in politics and journalism. The Philadelphia Foundation is proud to partner with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to teach the importance of news to young people and its power in in shaping our democratic society."

Civic Youth Experience
Facilitated by The Host Committee, the Civic Youth Experience is the product of a new partnership between the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) and Committee of Seventy, designed to create an opportunity for hundreds of local young people to participate in the civic excitement of the Convention by offering them a special screening of the new Voices of Voting performance and providing introductory training as Election Ambassadors. Through this partnership, close to 1,800 youth, including participants of the WorkReady summer program managed by PYN, will be introduced to Election Ambassadors training by Committee of Seventy and experience the organization's "Voices of Voting" educational performance, set to debut during the Convention at Science Leadership Academy. This will be a one-hour customized program, offered as a scheduled field trip by WorkReady employers during the workday. It will allow participating young people to learn the history and value of voting, provide training to help register their neighbors to vote, and enable them to serve as non-partisan volunteers on Election Day.

By fostering a relationship between PYN and the Committee of Seventy, the Host Committee is enabling hundreds of motivated young people to be civically engaged during their summer employment experience. Through this partnership, Philadelphia young people will gain lifelong work skills and the tools to actively participate in the democratic process, all while experiencing a national political convention taking place in their city.

Funding for this partnership was provided through the generosity of a private local source.

"This summer, not only are we connecting Philadelphia's young people to the world of work, we are also making sure they have the opportunities and tools they need to be civically aware, engaged and energized," says Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of PYN. "Our partnership with the DNC Host Committee and the Committee of 70 is helping to maximize the youth experience this summer, and for that we are both excited and grateful."

"The Committee of Seventy is not normally known for commissioning theatrical productions, but we firmly believe in the power of the arts to make relevant the inspiring story of individual courage and sacrifice that secured the right to vote for millions of Americans," said David Thornburgh, CEO of Committee of Seventy. "We're thrilled to work with the Knight Foundation and someone of David Bradley's caliber and reputation to inspire the next generation of voters."

Philadelphia Youth Network is the managing partner of WorkReady, a cross-sector, city-wide initiative dedicated to improving the economic outcomes of the region's youth by attracting, aligning, and investing resources in coordinated, youth-workforce-development strategies. One of the hallmarks of WorkReady Philadelphia is the summer employment program, which combines paid summer employment opportunities with formal and informal educational programs, training, and support in order to increase young people's future employment prospects and academic success. Targeted to middle and high school students but open to the general public, Voices of Voting is a short play commissioned by the Committee of Seventy and written and directed by award-winning Philadelphia artistic director David Bradley ties the personal struggles and political courage of the 1960's campaign to secure the vote to the present-day challenge of engaging young people in our electoral process. Three actors play more than a dozen characters in an event full of audience participation and laced with live music from the award-winning hip-hop/funk/jazz collective Ill Doots. Each performance will be followed by a "talkback" session that challenges audience members to remember the courage of the young men and women of another generation who fought so hard to attain that fundamental right and renew their own commitment to citizenship. Admission is free but reservations are required, for more information, and to reserve tickets, contact: voicesofvoting@seventy.org. In partnership with: Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Philadelphia Youth Network, Urban League of Philadelphia, and the Urban Affairs Coalition.

Committee of Seventy's Election Ambassador introductory training, incorporated into the "Voices of Voting" experience, seeks to educate students about civic engagement and encourage them to continue with the training in the Fall in the run up to the November 2016 election. By demystifying the election process these students are more likely to become voters themselves. Election Ambassadors are trained to become Philadelphia's next generation of civic leaders and perhaps the next generation of "super voters."

The Democratic National Convention will take place July 25-28, 2016 in Philadelphia.

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CITY OF PHILADELPHIA RECEIVES FEDERAL GRANT FOR 250 SUMMER AND YEAR ROUND JOBS FOR YOUTH

Philadelphia – This week, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded the City of Philadelphia a $2 million Summer Jobs and Beyond Grant, which will provide summer and year-round part-time job opportunities for in-school youth as well as year-round employment and work experience for young people who are out of school. The City was selected as one of 11 communities nationwide that will receive a total of $21 million in Summer Jobs and Beyond grants.

Partners in this new initiative include:
  • Philadelphia Works, Inc.
  • Philadelphia Youth Network
  • The School District of Philadelphia Reengagement Center
  • Drexel University
  • Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
  • Mayor's Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity
  • School District of Philadelphia Office of Career and Technical Education

"The City of Philadelphia was thrilled to hear about this federal award to support employment opportunities for young people," said Commerce Director Harold T. Epps. "Employment experiences early on can be a life-changer for young people and will be of tremendous value to the city. Youth employment stimulates our local economy, creates safer communities and can help fill the pipeline of employer demand."

Philadelphia Works, Inc., will administer the grant through PA CareerLink® Philadelphia: Youth & Young Adult Opportunity Hub (YOH/theHub) project. The Hub will target 250 youth ages 14 to 16 in the Philadelphia area.

"A summer job is the one of the most important life experiences a young person can have," said Mark Edwards, President and CEO of Philadelphia Works. "This funding will provide meaningful employment, education and training opportunities for over 200 youth in our city. On behalf of the staff and directors of Philadelphia Works, we thank the US Department of Labor for their tremendous support."

Core community partners include the Philadelphia Youth Network as the summer and year-round operator, Drexel University and the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce as employment partners, the School District of Philadelphia Reengagement Center as the reengagement center, the Mayor's Office of Empowerment and Opportunity as lead Promise Zone partner and the School District of Philadelphia Office of Technical Education as the local education agency.

"We could not be more excited to collaborate with such a committed group of partners to launch this initiative," says Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network. "This project will not only bring together existing community resources to connect youth with summer and year-round employment and education opportunities, but it will also provide them in a centralized location, with the individualized supports youth need to succeed. We are thrilled to be leading the development and coordination of this effort, as well as ensuring connections between our youth and local business community."

In February, the White House launched the Summer Opportunity Project to increase the number of young Americans participating in evidence-based summer opportunity programs, decrease the percentage of youth experiencing violence over the summer, and ensure that young Americans have the support they need to get their first job. This work builds on the President's My Brother's Keeper Task Force recommendation strengthening the case for summer youth employment and launching a cross-sector campaign to reduce summer learning loss and increase the number of job and internship opportunities for all young people.

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About Philadelphia Works
Philadelphia Works is the city's Workforce Development Board, investing in solutions and services to grow Philadelphia's economy by connecting employers to workforce talent and career seekers to jobs. We influence the public policies that support economic growth, and optimize funding and resources to invest in regional solutions to build a skilled and thriving workforce. For more information about our dedicated board members and staff, workforce research, labor market data, services and initiatives, and to view success stories, please visit philaworks.org.

About the Philadelphia Youth Network
The Philadelphia Youth Network is an intermediary organization dedicated to equipping young people with the skills necessary to accomplish academic achievement, economic opportunity and personal success. To succeed in this mission, we bring together cross-sector partners from around the city to expand access to services for underserved youth ages 12-24.

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PHILADELPHIA PRIVATE SECTOR RALLIES AROUND WORKREADY SUMMER JOBS

Today members of the private sector rallied together in support of summer jobs at a press conference co-hosted by Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), managing partner of WorkReady Philadelphia, the city's cross-sector campaign which focuses on creating systemic approaches to addressing the skills gap for Philadelphia's hardest to serve youth.

PYN announced a gap of $5.4 million in funding needed to reach the city's goal of supporting 10,000 summer work experiences, which was the number of opportunities that were provided last summer. Thus far, the investments from the private sector is projected to reach $2 million towards summer jobs, and today was charged with committing an additional $1 million. To reach this goal, PYN President and CEO, Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend cautioned that summer was right around the corner, and time is running out.

"Time is of the essence," said Fulmore-Townsend. "Memorial Day is next week, and then it's only a few short weeks of June until the program begins on July 5. These additional investments are more crucial now than ever before. As the adults in this community it is our job to step up for our young people, and that time is right now."

President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Rob Wonderling, also spoke at the press conference on behalf of the private sector.

"Businesses in Philadelphia have always engaged and acted on hiring young people for summer jobs, and always will," said Wonderling. "Giving our city's youth the chance to develop their skills and abilities in a professional work setting helps create the opportunity for their success in the future. It also helps makes Philadelphia more economically competitive. When our business community invests in our young people by hiring them for summer employment, we are positioning them for brighter futures – and our city and region as well."

Managing Director of the City of Philadelphia under Mayor Jim Kenney, Michael DiBerardinis, said that summer jobs are a priority for the City of Philadelphia, echoing Wonderling's sentiments on the value of public and private partnerships.

"Two months ago Mayor Kenney established a goal of 16,000 jobs by the end of his first term in 2020," said DiBerardinis. "Reaching 10,000 this summer is the first step to achieving his goal, which we know might seem like an uphill battle, but is possible when the public and private sectors come together like we've seen them do in the past."

Investments in summer work experiences can be made online by visiting phillysummerjobs.org/#join.

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Philadelphia Youth Network and Bank of America celebrate partnership through Philadelphia Business Journal's Brotherly Love, Sisterly Affection award

The Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) and Bank of America today accepted the Brotherly Love, Sisterly Affection award through their partnership of PYN's WorkReady Philadelphia summer jobs program. This award celebrates local partnerships between profit and non-profit companies citywide, and is awarded by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

WorkReady Philadelphia is a citywide initiative managed by PYN, focused on improving the economic outcomes of the region's youth by attracting, aligning and investing resources in coordinated, youth-workforce-development programs. These programs are operated year round, but serve the largest number of youth during the summer, which lasts for six weeks in July and August. Financial support for summer programming, specifically youth work experiences, are driven by both the public and private sectors.

"Public and private sector partnerships are so critical to the success of our WorkReady summer program," said Chekemma Fulmore-Towsend, President and CEO of PYN. "We could not do this work without longstanding partners like Bank of America, who for the past several years, has continued to be a major champion towards our mission of creating better outcomes for Philadelphia's youth."

Since WorkReady's inception in 2003, Philadelphia's business community has routinely supported summer programming through the hiring and hosting of youth at their worksites and/or sponsoring youth opportunities at other worksites. These contributions make it possible for youth to participate, which increases the businesses bottom line and supports an ever-growing talent pipeline in Philadelphia.

In the 2014-2015 summer programmatic year, Bank of America became WorkReady's largest employer, supporting 73 intern experiences. Since 2007, Bank of America has supported nearly 300 intern experiences with an investment of nearly $500,000 in the WorkReady program.

"Early employment and development of key workforce skills are critical first steps on the pathway to personal financial security and growth, said Tom Woodward, Philadelphia Market President at Bank of America. "Investing in Philadelphia's young people through PYN's WorkReady program not only improves outcomes for youth; it sets the stage for a more robust local economy that benefits the entire community."

The Philadelphia Youth Network has also partnered with Bank of America on their own Student Leadership Program.

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Philadelphia Youth Network teams with Mayor Kenney to challenge city to support summer jobs

JPMorgan Chase joins citywide effort towards improving outcomes for youth

The Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) today announced that JPMorgan Chase & Co. has awarded them a $150,000 grant to support 2016 WorkReady summer employment programs, making them the largest new investor in WorkReady Philadelphia.

WorkReady Philadelphia is a citywide, cross-sector campaign focused on creating systemic approaches to address the skills gap for vulnerable youth. One of the hallmarks of WorkReady Philadelphia is the summer employment program, which combines paid summer employment opportunities with formal and informal educational programs, training, and support in order to increase young people's future employment prospects and academic success.

"Summer youth employment provides young adults with more than just a paycheck, it provides an economic on-ramp to successful careers and brighter futures," said Peter Scher, Head of Corporate Responsibility, JPMorgan Chase. "We are proud to support PYN and the economic opportunities they are helping create for Philadelphia's next generation."

PYN is rising to Mayor James Kenney's challenge, which he announced earlier this month, to unite business and philanthropic organizations around efforts to increase youth employment throughout Philadelphia.

"In order to strengthen Philadelphia both socially and fiscally, we must have a workforce that is trained and prepared to work in the 21st century," said Mayor Kenney. "We have to work with our businesses to identify the skills, certifications, and training needed to enter the workforce, and prepare our young people to meet those needs."

The WorkReady program serves Philadelphia youth ages 12-24 and runs for six weeks, providing 120 hours of workforce preparation through one of four program models: career exposure, service-learning, work experience, and internships. Each model challenges youth to understand the correlations between variables such as work experience, skill attainment and high school completion and how these variables impact their potential for college and career success. JPMorgan Chase's grant will provide summer jobs for approximately 90 young people in Philadelphia.

"Summer employment programs offer an opportunity for young people to develop valuable skills; gain familiarity with expected workplace behaviors and basic customer service skills and create networks with caring adults who can provide guidance on workplace expectations," said Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO the Philadelphia Youth Network. "We are honored to receive this grant and continue working towards a brighter future for Philadelphia's youth."

Additionally this summer, PYN will work to educate youth participants about democracy and government through a partnership with the Democratic National Convention. With support from JPMorgan Chase, young people in the summer youth employment program, will benefit from opportunities to engage in service projects and to hear from elected and community leaders about the importance of contributing in their community through voting and civic participation.

"The Host Committee is committed to having a lasting impact on Philadelphia and its residents, and the partnership between JPMorgan Chase, Philadelphia Youth Network and Mayor Kenney's administration is the perfect example of how the public and private sectors can come together and support our communities," said former Pennsylvania Governor and Host Committee Chair Ed Rendell. "Summer youth employment programs like WorkReady are critical for Philadelphia's youth, and we are thrilled to be able to play a role in bringing such unique, valuable experiences to them this summer."

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Philadelphia Youth Network teams with Mayor Kenney to challenge city to support summer jobs

Mayor announces goal of 16,000 employment opportunities by 2020

In a press conference today, Mayor James Kenney and other city officials, businesses and philanthropies charged organizations from around Philadelphia to unite in a citywide effort to increase youth employment with a goal of reaching 16,000 summer job opportunities by 2020.

Mayor Kenney supports the city's collective effort of encouraging local businesses to hire young people this summer. Mayor Kenney, in partnership with the Philadelphia Youth Network, managing partner of WorkReady Philadelphia, the city's cross-sector youth development initiative, is encouraging Philadelphia businesses, partners and individuals to join the citywide campaign.

"In order to strengthen Philadelphia both socially and fiscally, we must have a workforce that is trained and prepared to work in the 21st century," said Mayor Kenney. "We have to work with our businesses to identify the skills, certifications, and training needed to enter the workforce, and prepare our young people to meet those needs."

According to American Community Survey youth employment for 16 to 19 year olds in Philadelphia is lagging both state and national averages at 15.6 percent, behind Pennsylvania at 30.3 percent and the national average of 27.6 percent.

Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network, says in order to change the youth employment statistics, employers must see the larger benefits to hiring young people this summer.

"By providing a young person with a summer work opportunity, we are asking the City of Philadelphia to envision and support a prosperous future, which starts with access to opportunity for all of Philadelphia's youth" said Fulmore Townsend. "This is a chance for learning to happen both ways, young people are full of potential, they are creative, they have new insights. There is great value in connecting existing businesses with their future talent, which we have seen grow stronger each year."

Fulmore Townsend recently spoke at the White House, Champions for Change event on the importance of youth employment and how businesses can stay engaged.

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Philadelphia Youth Network convenes executive breakfast to commend local investor support and strategize the future of WorkReady Philadelphia

Public and private sector support yielded more than 10,000 year round and summer opportunities for youth through WorkReady in 2015

Today leaders across Philadelphia's business and philanthropic sectors joined Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) to celebrate the valued investments that contributed to successful summer and year-round work experiences for youth through WorkReady Philadelphia, the city's system for youth workforce preparation. The combined efforts of the private, public and nonprofit sectors yielded high-quality workplace experiences for more than 10,000 young people this year.

Mayor Michael A. Nutter served as the opening speaker for the event, showing support for the summer jobs initiative since his tenure began in 2008. This summer, the City of Philadelphia invested more than $5 million in summer programming, with investments from the Department of Human Services and Parks and Recreation.

"Summer and year-round youth employment offers young Philadelphians the chance to develop personally and professionally, gaining skills, experience and insight into a future career field," said Mayor Nutter. "Over the last eight years, our Administration has made providing youth employment opportunities a main focus, investing dollars, hosting interns and serving as a vocal promoter of WorkReady around the City. But the City is only one of many supporters who make WorkReady a success. Thanks to the generosity of the business and philanthropic community and state and federal partners, WorkReady has helped thousands of young people each year."

Due to the support of several city and state-wide partners, including the City of Philadelphia and the office of Governor Tom Wolf, WorkReady was able to provide 10,818 total year round experiences for youth, with 8,812 youth participating in summer programming alone. These opportunities were created by local business and philanthropic communities within 1,043 worksites across 18 different industries citywide. The number of youth who received opportunities on behalf of WorkReady this year, is greater than the number of opportunities that were available last year. Praising that victory, PYN President and CEO, Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, says the collaboration of the public and private sectors are one of the major reasons behind the triumph.

"To surpass our projections and exceed last years' service levels, it took a citywide effort of our public and private sectors, which makes this system not only successful, but unique," said Fulmore-Townsend. "As a WorkReady collaborative comprised of employers, school district officials, government entities and philanthropic networks, we came together to ensure young people in Philadelphia are prepared to tackle the challenges of a 21st century workforce, which is something is I am proud to continue for years to come.

Also speaking at the executive breakfast was Pennsylvania and Philadelphia President of Bank of America, WorkReady's largest 2015 summer employer, Tom Woodward.

"Early work experiences are the key to a successful future," said Woodward. "If we can work together to teach and mentor the young people in our community, we're not only improving their lives, but strengthening the overall community, as well. It's through programs like this, that we're able to create a pipeline for employment opportunities and help ensure a brighter financial future for our city."

Bank of America supported 73 interns this summer and has invested nearly $500,000 in the program since 2007.

Strategies for continuing these efforts were also charged by Mike DiBerardinis, current Deputy Mayor and Commissioner for Environmental and Community Resources with the City of Philadelphia, and soon to be, Managing Director for Mayor Elect, Jim Kenney.

"High quality early work experience for teens builds a skilled workforce, promotes an engaged citizenry and improves the economic strength of Philadelphia," said DiBerardinis. "WorkReady is really moving the needle on generating more positive and engaging outlets for youth to better themselves; this work will remain a priority for our city."

During the executive breakfast, WorkReady collateral illustrating the realities of youth employment locally and nationally was shared, and can also be found here. To learn more about WorkReady Philadelphia, visit online at www.workready.org.

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About WorkReady Philadelphia
WorkReady Philadelphia is a citywide, cross-sector campaign focused on creating systemic approaches to address the skills gap for vulnerable youth. Our host of employers, schools, community based organizations, advocacy groups, labor unions and private investors work together to produce consistent outcomes which demonstrate programmatic impact.

NEW: 2014-2015 WorkReady Status Report

2014-2015 WorkReady Status Report

NEARLY 400 PHILADELPHIA YOUTH ATTEND 2015 WORKREADY PHILADELPHIA EXPO TO SHOWCASE TALENT

Approximately 400 of Philadelphia's youth gathered at the PA Convention Center to illustrate various projects and portfolios that were created throughout their WorkReady summer programs

Nearly 400 youth gathered at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the 2015 WorkReady Philadelphia Expo on Thursday, August 13. Youth who participated in the six-week internship program showcased their various achievements through a presentation of projects and portfolios, and participated in workshops to further develop skills in networking and job readiness. This year's theme, Connect, Invest, Achieve, encourages participants to explore how all members of the WorkReady community can unite in order to successfully transition city youth into the workforce.

Due to the support of several city and state-wide partners, including the City of Philadelphia and the office of Governor Tom Wolf, WorkReady is slated to provide more than 8,000 work experiences for youth this summer, equal to the same number of opportunities as last summer.

"The WorkReady Philadelphia Expo is an opportunity for young people to present the hard work they've demonstrated all summer long," said Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN). "It is also a time for the entire WorkReady community to celebrate the many achievements that our youth have accomplished throughout the course of their summer and year-round programs."

All youth participants were tasked with the objective to create either a project or portfolio that displays mastery of key 21st century skills, such as flexibility and adaptability; or initiative and self-direction. Youth were selected to participate in the Expo by submitting an application and proposal. A pre-selected committee then evaluated each proposal and determined which projects were presented at the Expo.

The Expo also featured new opportunities this year, including workshops for both young people and participants from the youth-serving organizations who were invited to attend. Young people were also given a chance to have their projects continue past the summer through a "Venture Pathways" challenge, modeled after the popular entrepreneurial television show, "Shark Tank". Job shadowing with some of Philadelphia's executive level professionals were also raffled at the Expo to encourage young peoples' interests in cross-sector industries.

Earlier this year, Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced a goal of reaching 10,000 summer jobs for youth this summer. With WorkReady Philadelphia serving as the driving force behind this goal, the city is on track to reach that achievement, with additional coordination through other youth employment opportunities made possible from other citywide initiatives. The City of Philadelphia is also working closely with the Philadelphia Youth Network (managing partner of WorkReady Philadelphia) to identify new partners who are hiring youth this summer and how they can expand the network of employers to reach 10,000. Data will be collected throughout the summer and final numbers will be released in the fall.

"Over the last seven years, our Administration has worked tirelessly to provide young Philadelphians with employment opportunities that expand their knowledge, skills, on-the-job experience and sense of responsibility. Through WorkReady Philadelphia and our broader summer jobs initiatives, thousands of young people have learned first-hand about the working world and how to succeed in it," said Mayor Nutter. "I want to congratulate all of the young people who participated in summer work experiences, especially the 400 presenters at the WorkReady Expo. They have worked hard and set themselves up for success not only in the classroom, but in their future career."

City of Philadelphia unites to create summer jobs for young people

Today marks the beginning of youth summer work experiences for Philadelphia's WorkReady program, a six-week summer employment program that focuses on career exposure opportunities for young people, ages 12-24. Due to the valued support of several city and state-wide partners, including the Office of Governor Tom Wolf, WorkReady Philadelphia estimated to provide more than 8,000 summer employment opportunities.

Last summer WorkReady provided 8,195 summer experiences for youth, which requires roughly $13 million in funding. President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), managing partner of WorkReady Philadelphia, Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend expressed her gratitude for the public and private partnerships that helped to make a difference this year.

"While each year we've achieved growth over the previous year, the reality is that every summer we start back at square one. Just a few months ago we were projecting a $2.5 million dollar gap in order to match the same number of summer opportunities as last year, and I am happy to report that we met this challenge through the help of our city and statewide partnerships," said Fulmore-Townsend. "That being said, we continue to be proud of this work and in awe of those who have stepped up to the plate. Though we have worked in this industry for many years, new partnerships have provided a fresh and invigorating perspective on the future workforce of Philadelphia."

This year an unprecedented investment was made for summer jobs. Officials from the Wolf administration visited Philadelphia Friday, June 19 to announce a $7.5 million program that is expected to create 3,700 summer jobs statewide. Philadelphia will be receiving more than $4 million in funding, while the remaining funds will be distributed to other local workforce areas across the Commonwealth.

Support for summer jobs is also present at the local level, with Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter showing support for the summer jobs initiative since his tenure began in 2008. This summer, the City of Philadelphia invested more than $5 million in summer programming, with investments from the Department of Human Services and Parks and Recreation.

Each year, Mayor Nutter has launched the city's collective effort of encouraging local businesses to hire young people this summer. In partnership with the Philadelphia Youth Network, Mayor Nutter continues to urge Philadelphia businesses, partners and individuals to join the citywide campaign.

"For the last few years, I have challenged businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals to come together and support WorkReady Philadelphia, which provides invaluable work experience, practical knowledge and leadership skills to young Philadelphians. This investment in the next generation of our workforce is a small one for businesses, but vitally important for the young people who have the opportunity to participate in WorkReady," said Mayor Nutter. "I want to thank those who have stepped up on behalf of Philadelphia's youth, and encourage everyone to continue supporting this critical initiative for both the future of young people and the future of Philadelphia's ever-expanding workforce."

Currently, WorkReady Philadelphia contracts with more than 60 provider organizations that directly manage summer programming for youth through WorkReady's four summer work experiences models. There are also 120 employers that hire and host internships at their own sites, or subsidize internships at other locations across the city.

Bank of America, WorkReady's largest 2015 summer employer, is supporting 73 interns this summer and has invested nearly $500,000 in the program since 2007.

"Supporting young people in our communities is imperative to creating demand-driven employment pipelines," said Tom Woodward, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia market president at Bank of America. "Early employment is a critical stepping stone on the pathway to financial security. The earlier in life that a person develops workforce skills, earns a paycheck and builds professional connections, the higher their life-long earning potential will be."

WorkReady summer and year-round programs will culminate with the WorkReady Expo, an annual event that celebrates the accomplishments of youth and the projects they created during their participation in WorkReady programs. The Expo will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Thursday, August 13. Attendees can register for the Expo online.

Additionally, employers in the city can continue to support WorkReady Philadelphia by letting PYN know if they currently hire high school aged youth at their business/organization during the summer. Providing this information will give businesses the opportunity to be recognized for their investment in the future workforce of Philadelphia. To do so, please contact info@pyninc.org, or provide information online at www.phillysummerjobs.org.

Local and national investors commended for support of nearly 10,000 year-round and summer work experiences through WorkReady Philadelphia

Today, key city leaders congratulated more than 200 investors who supported summer and year-round, educationally-enriched work experiences for Philadelphia's young people through WorkReady Philadelphia, the city's system for youth workforce preparation. The combined efforts of the private, public and nonprofit sectors yielded high-quality workplace experiences for nearly 10,000 young people this past year.

Mayor Michael A. Nutter served as the keynote speaker for the event, and touted city leaders for their participation in fueling WorkReady this year.

"Early last year, WorkReady was projecting the lowest number of summer work experiences for youth since the program began in 2003. We issued a call to action and the businesses, philanthropists and nonprofit community stepped up," said Mayor Nutter. "For summer 2014, we were able to provide nearly 8,200 summer opportunities for young Philadelphians and almost 10,000 opportunities across all WorkReady programs, summer and year-round. I want to thank the many supporters of WorkReady; it is because of your investment in this incredible program that more young Philadelphians are gaining invaluable work skills and experience."

In 2014, WorkReady Philadelphia magnified impact to drive change by placing 9,953 youth in year-round and summer work experiences created by local business and philanthropic communities within 1,111 worksites across 18 different industries city-wide. Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) President and CEO, Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, echoed WorkReady's accomplishments.

"To surpass our bleak projections and exceed last years' service levels, it took the adults in our community to master and leverage the same 21st Century skills we promote in our work-based learning opportunities for young people," said Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of PYN. "Before our young people could experience relationships with adults and peers in the workplace, we, the leaders of systems across sectors, had to master teamwork and collaboration. Uniting in our understanding of the challenge and supporting each other to play critical and distinct roles to create our collective success. I am happy to report we did just that this summer."

This year's awards recognize institutions filled with leadership that reflects the heart of WorkReady's success.

The Connect Award recognized the transformational power of linking youth to systems, services and stakeholders that expanded the window of opportunity for youth as they pursue individual and professional success.

The Invest Award recognized the scalable impact made when time, energy and resources are invested to develop and grow Philadelphia's future workforce and secure economic vitality.

The Achieve Award recognized the inspirational action needed to exemplify the value of youth achievement and accelerate positive results in the broader community.

For a complete list of all WorkReady investors for the 2013-2014 year, visit online. To get connected to WorkReady Philadelphia, contact workready@pyninc.org for more information.

Nearly 400 Philadelphia Youth Attend 2014 WorkReady Philadelphia Expo to Showcase Talent

Nearly 400 youth will gather at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the 2014 WorkReady Philadelphia Expo. Philadelphia youth will showcase their various achievements through a presentation of projects and portfolios on Wednesday, August 6 beginning with a morning reception at 8:30 a.m. Since January, both the private and public sectors united to collectively raise enough funds to support at least 7,600 youth work experiences this year throughout the Philadelphia area.

"The WorkReady Philadlephia Expo is something that we look forward to each year," said Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN). "It is a time for the WorkReady community to celebrate the many achievements that our youth have accomplished throughout the course of their summer and year-round programs."

All youth participants are tasked with the objective to create either a project or portfolio that displays mastery of key 21st century skills. In order to compete at the Expo, youth must submit an application and proposal to present. A pre-selected committee then evaluates each proposal and determines which projects will be presented at the Expo. On the day of the Expo, judges from area businesses throughout Philadelphia assess and present the top three winners in each category, including: multimedia; tri-fold; Hands-on demonstrations or visual art; live performance and portfolio.

In addition to announcing the top three winners in each category, the awards ceremony, hosted by youth participants representing the WorkReady system, will underscore the WorkReady 2014 theme, Connect. Invest. Achieve. This theme encourages programs to explore how all members of the WorkReady community can unite in order to successfully transition city youth into the workforce.

"Being part of the awards ceremony at last year's Expo was such a rewarding experience for me," said Jada-Nicole Goodson an intern who has been connected to WorkReady Philadelphia for the past three years. "I was able to hone my creativity, collaboration and public speaking skills - all of which have translated in to my internship experiences making me more confident as I look toward the future."

"In January 2014, we were anticipating a youth summer jobs crisis with projection indicating the lowest number of summer jobs since WorkReady's inception in 2003. But through the Summer Jobs Challenge, our City pulled together and raised enough funds to support 7,600 summer work experiences this year - the same number as provided last year," said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. "The success of the WorkReady program is a collective effort that depends on the support of businesses and non-profit organizations and the hard work of the young people who participate in the program. I want to congratulate these young people on all of their accomplishments and thank all of the participating businesses and sponsors of the WorkReady Program."

Additionally, employers in the city can continue to support the 2014 Summer Jobs Challenge by letting the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) know if they currently hire high school aged youth at their business or organization during the summer. Providing this information will allow them the opportunity to be recognized them for their investment in the future workforce of Philadelphia. To do so, please contact info@pyninc.org.

Philadelphia Unites to Prevent Summer Jobs Crisis

Thousands of young people will work this summer despite lowest funding projections since WorkReady's inception.

Following a daunting summer jobs crisis, local and national investors united to nearly double available funds, allowing thousands of young people to join the Philadelphia workforce. Today marks the start of WorkReady Philadelphia's summer programming. WorkReady provides employment experiences and career exposure opportunities for young people, ages 12-21 who will work in a variety of settings including corporations, small businesses, nonprofits and government entities.

In January, funding projections indicated Philadelphia was facing a summer jobs crisis, with only enough funding available to serve less than 4,000 young people - the lowest forecasted number since WorkReady's inception in 2003. Mayor Michael A. Nutter and other city officials sprang into action by raising awareness and funds by launching the 2014 Summer Jobs Challenge.

"Since 2008, I have challenged businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals to come together to support WorkReady Philadelphia to provide valuable work experience, practical knowledge and leadership skills for young Philadelphians"" said Mayor Nutter. "For this year I'm happy to report that Philadelphia responded in a major way and far exceeded our projections. I want to thank the many employers, foundations, businesses and individuals who came together in support of Philadelphia's young people."

Since January, both the private and public sectors united to collectively raise enough funds to support at least 7,600 summer work experiences this year, which is the same as the number of experiences offered in 2013.

For a complete list of WorkReady 2014 investors, visit http://www.pyninc.org/investors.

Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), managing partner of WorkReady Philadelphia said, "We know that the work of preparing young people for success is too big of a job for any one person or institution - and I am proud of the tremendous, collective efforts our entire city has made this year on behalf of young people. At a time when opportunities for young people are scarce, it is more important than ever that we are investing in their future and helping to prepare them to be the rightful leaders of tomorrow. I personally thank everyone who invested in WorkReady this year, as we are not only impacting the lives of young people in our City, but also the future economic vitality of our region."

Kayla Gonzales, a 2014 graduate at Academy at Palumbo High School, had an internship last summer through WorkReady with the African American Museum. She reflected on her experience and said, "Since being involved with WorkReady, I've grown personally and professionally by learning how to have a successful job interview, how to properly write a resume, how to dress appropriately for a job and much more. This opportunity provided me with the basics on how to get and maintain a job, and I know the skills I learned with the program will always be a benefit to me."

WorkReady summer and year-round programs will culminate with the WorkReady Expo, an annual event that celebrates the accomplishments of youth and the outstanding projects they created during their participation in WorkReady programs. The Expo will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Wednesday, August 6.

Additionally, employers in the city can continue to support the 2014 Summer Jobs Challenge by letting the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) know if they currently hire high school aged youth at their business/organization during the summer. Providing this information will allow them the opportunity to be recognized them for their investment in the future workforce of Philadelphia. To do so, please contact info@pyninc.org.

Philadelphia Youth Network Hosts Engage 2014: A Conference for Youth Program Staff

The Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) recently hosted its annual conference for youth program staff at WHYY Studios to a sold-out crowd of providers and other youth-serving, nonprofit organizations on Thursday, June 19. Participants attended interactive workshops that shared strategies around youth engagement.

Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of PYN said the conference was designed to give providers' skills and helpful techniques needed to support their work environments, "The goal of Engage 2014 is to ensure our providers feel prepared and are equipped with ideas, resources and strategy around youth-serving programs as we prepare for the official start of our summer programs," she said. "Session topics included media and technology in the classroom, sports-based youth development, social emotional supports for youth and much more to create a well-rounded, interactive discussion."

After the conclusion of the last session, participants were invited to watch highlights of""We Could Be King" Directed by Judd Ehrilch, "We Could Be King" is a documentary that explores the long-standing rivalry between Philadelphia-based high school football teams, Germantown High School and Martin Luther King high school.

This conference served as an informational tool for youth program staff to learn skills and helpful techniques needed to support their work environments.