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Philadelphia, PA — For a growing number of young Philadelphians, the path to employment includes a stop at one of the city's workforce development programs. Last week, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President and CEO Patrick T. Harker toured three local initiatives that provide workers without high school diplomas access to career paths that offer greater economic mobility.
At 11.2 percent, the unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2015 for individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 was more than twice as high as the national unemployment rate. The organizations that Harker toured — YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School , Philadelphia Works , and the District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund — are bridging the gap between education and employment to address the pressing issue of youth unemployment in the regional economy. These workforce development initiatives connect workers to job training and classroom instruction to help them develop the skills to succeed in the workplace. Harker met with leaders from these organizations to discuss how the Philadelphia Fed can strengthen its support of workforce development initiatives in the Third District.
"It is essential that we forge pathways for young people seeking to enter the job market," Harker said. "These tours helped spark new ideas on how the Philadelphia Fed can support organizations that help prepare young people not just for a job, but for a career."
At the YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, a two-year program that offers high school dropouts a second chance to earn their diplomas while developing vital job skills, Harker sat down with current YouthBuild students to talk about their experiences in the program, current career outlooks, and challenges with finding a job. Harker also engaged in a discussion on the partnership between YouthBuild and the Community College of Philadelphia.
Harker toured the Philadelphia Works offices and PA CareerLink Suburban Station Center with President and CEO Mark Edwards. The integrated PA CareerLink centers in Philadelphia provide technical assistance on career guidance, training, and placement services for job seekers.
With representatives from the District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund and Temple University Hospital, Harker discussed current partnerships and integrative curriculum models for workforce training and development. He heard firsthand about the current challenges in the labor market and the potential for future growth. The Training Fund provides access to careers in health care and human services through education, training, and work-based learning.
"It's not only about helping our students learn the skills they need to succeed in the working world," said Cheryl Feldman, the Training Fund's executive director. "We are also addressing a critical issue in the labor market that significantly impacts our local economy."
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia helps formulate and implement monetary policy, supervises banks and bank and savings and loan holding companies, and provides financial services to depository institutions and the federal government. It is one of the 12 regional Reserve Banks that, together with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the Federal Reserve System.