PHA Reforms Job Training Program to Improve Results


Philadelphia, PA – December 3, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — The Philadelphia Housing Authority and Philadelphia Works have signed an agreement introducing a new job training and placement program designed to increase gainful employment among public housing residents.

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The agreement, which was approved by the PHA Board of Commissioners, calls for the agency to invest up to $1 million over a two year period for training and placement for PHA residents. PHA will pay no more than 15 percent of the administrative costs for the program but the bulk of the money spent under the agreement will be for job training. The agreement covers one year beginning this fall, with a one year option beginning in October 2014.

“Previous job training programs at PHA were not outcome-driven nor connected to employer demands and only 22 percent of residents who took part received jobs,” said Kelvin A. Jeremiah, PHA President and CEO. “This new partnership holds the promise of a better return on our investment as we provide job training and skills that meet the needs of local businesses, while at the same time increasing job retention and helping our clients achieve self-sufficiency.”

Philadelphia Works identifies employers’ needs six to eight months out and provides job training to meet those needs. The agency conducts extensive research on the local economy to identify high growth industries. Those employers receive a bridge to the trained workers they need, and subsidized salaries paid to employees for up to six months.

“Both Philadelphia Works and the Philadelphia Housing Authority provide critical services to struggling Philadelphians,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “This partnership will connect PHA residents to the invaluable job training and placement capabilities of Philadelphia Works through its employer needs-based approach – strengthening our city’s workforce and the local economy.”

PHA will invest in job training programs that ensure 75 percent or higher job placement rate, such as medical coding and insurance claims, customer service, inventory management and light truck delivery. The agency will work with Philadelphia Works on the selection of training vendors, costs per participant, and the admission of residents into this pilot program.

“Philadelphia Works is proud to be a part of this important initiative to help Philadelphia’s public housing residents get back to work,” said Mark Edwards, CEO of Philadelphia Works. “We are focused on developing a customized approach for unemployed residents. This partnership with PHA will go a long way toward that goal by creating meaningful opportunities and training for full-time employment in career-track jobs.”

Companies who take part in this program will be obligated under contract to meet minimum job offer requirements. They must employ full time staff, for at least 30 hours a week, and they must retain these new employees at least six months to receive the full subsidy. The agreement also requires companies to pay employees $13 per hour if the job does not provide benefits and $11 per hour if benefits are included.

The job training program is open to PHA residents who have a high school diploma or GED. For residents seeking to acquire a GED, the agency will offer courses in reading, writing and math. Cheyney and Drexel Universities and the Community College of Philadelphia will assist PHA in this effort. The recruitment for the new program will begin in December and residents will begin training in January 2014.


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