Philadelphia Works, Inc., the city’s new workforce development organization, officially made its debut.
The new nonprofit organization represents the merger of the Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation (PWDC) and the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board (WIB).
The merger combines and connects the WIB’s research and data mission of establishing a strategic direction for the city’s public workforce development system with the administrative, fiscal and operational duties of the PWDC.
Mark Edwards, who served as president and CEO of the PWDC, will serve in the same role with Philadelphia Works. Meg Shope Koppel, who had been interim CEO of the PWIB, will be the vice president of research, policy and innovation in the new organization.
“Monday marks an exciting day for the workforce system in Philadelphia. This marks the culmination of two solid years of planning that we’ve been engaged in to reform the workforce system,” says Edwards.
“So now the workforce system is far more focused on the needs of employers. What we want employers to know is that if they have jobs available, they should come to the workforce system to work with us to help fill those jobs.”
Edwards encourages job seekers to utilize the services of Philadelphia Works.
“We are ready to make a connection between them and the jobs that are available through employers,” says Edwards.
“We have a streamlined governing structure, so we’re a lot easier to understand. It’s a lot easier to interact with us than it has been in the past.”
In June 2011, Mayor Michael Nutter announced his intention to reform the workforce development system following a commissioned report from the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW). CSW, in partnership with HR Consultants, recommended a more streamlined system with more transparency and more accountability.
“Philadelphia Works, Inc. represents another step we are taking to reform the workforce development system and create a source of ‘one-stop shopping’ for both employers and individuals looking for employment. The organization will be dedicated to helping Philadelphians get training and find employment,” said Nutter.
To help guide the nonprofit organization, a new slate of board officers has been elected. The mayor appoints the organization’s board which, by law, must have a majority of private sector employers.
Joseph A. Frick, vice chairman and managing partner at Diversified Search will serve as chairperson. David Donald, founder and CEO of PeopleShare, Inc., is the vice chairperson. Elizabeth Riley-Wasserman, senior vice president, human resources and organization development, Mercy Health System, will serve as secretary. Phillip S. Barnett, senior vice president and chief financial officer, PECO, is treasurer.
“We have taken major steps toward making the workforce system more efficient. This merger will enable Philadelphia Works to provide a more strategic approach to what employers and job seekers need,” Frick said in a release.
“We still have a challenging job ahead of us and we look forward to supporting workers and employers alike.”
A new operator, the Public Consulting Group (PCG), with its partner JobWorks, Inc., has been selected as the provider of adult and dislocated services at the five PA CareerLink centers in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Works not only has oversight responsibilities for PCG/JobWorks, but will partner with the provider to streamline employer services. This is the first time, since the implementation of the Workforce Investment Act in 2000, that the provider of workforce services was competitively bid.
Philadelphia Works also continues PWDC’s role of overseeing six EARN Centers, contracted to provide services to those receiving public assistance (TANF).
In total, Philadelphia Works oversees a $50 million budget for these services and attracts funding to innovate and improve the workforce system.
As part of the reorganization, PWDC and the WIB have combined offices and staff. The organization is located in the former PWDC offices at 1617 JFK Blvd.
For information visit www.philaworks.org.