Workforce Wednesday: New initiative in Philadelphia provides access to skills training

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While the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the landscape of our workforce and economy, it has also presented an opportune time for reflection and reinvention. We are seeing career seekers embrace new learning opportunities and businesses support innovative training solutions to grow their talent pipeline. In that spirit, Philadelphia Works, Accenture, the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, and Graduate! Philadelphia have collaborated around a new training and employment program called the Philadelphia Skills Forward Initiative.

The goal of the Philadelphia Skills Forward Initiative (Skills Forward) is to support career seekers with a wide range of professional experiences along their career path. The collaboration provides free training and support that empowers job seekers in Philadelphia to prepare for long-term successful careers, while creating a robust talent pipeline for local and regional businesses.

Workforce data shows that the industries in our area that are most impacted by the pandemic (e.g., retail, hospitality, and entertainment) may not see jobs return at pre-pandemic levels. Individuals who were working in those industries have an opportunity to rethink and reimagine their career and future in this moment. Therefore, it is important for individuals to gain new skills and strengthen existing skills now. Workforce development professionals are also seeing significant gaps between the skills that employers require and the skills that individuals have. Skills Forward is seeking to close that gap.

Skills Forward serves everyone. Whether someone is on a path towards college, first-time employment, or a career transition, the program is designed to meet individuals right where they are. The program starts with online trainings designed to help job seekers fine tune their skills through courses in one of three specialized career tracks:

Additionally, once training courses are completed, Skills Forward learners will also be given the opportunity to connect with a mentor to guide them on their professional journey and interview with local companies who have expressed a commitment to Skills Forward participants.

Participants will also have access to services offered by PA CareerLink Philadelphia, including interview preparation, resume building, and referrals to additional vocational skill training programs.

For more information, call 1-833-750-5627 or email [email protected] You can also check out the courses yourself online by registering at Our dedicated staff is excited and ready to help get Philadelphia back to work.

Hillary Shayne is Manager of Training Initiatives, and Tyrone Hampton, Jr. is Manager of Workforce System Initiatives at Philadelphia Works. 

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