Wells Fargo & Company is hosting a two-day event for mortgage customers facing foreclosure due to financial hardships.
A free home preservation workshop will be held October 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Pennsylvania Convention Center, West Hall “E,” 1101 Arch Street.
During the event, approximately 100 Wells Fargo home retention team members will be available to work with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Wells Fargo Financial and Wachovia Mortgage and Wells Fargo Home Equity customers from Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey.
Borrowers could receive a decision on a workout, loan modification or other options on site or following the event. Options include Wells Fargo’s own loan modification program and the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program.
“Wells Fargo wants to help its customers succeed financially, and keeping them in their homes is a top priority. Events like this Home Preservation Workshop provide a key opportunity for customers to work with us in addressing the challenges they face,” said A. Marie Day, senior vice president, Regional Servicing Director, Wells Fargo.
“One of the unique opportunities that our customers have is to leave that day with a decision about what options are available for them to stay in their home. It’s not an event where they fill out paperwork and we just take their information.”
Wells Fargo has invited 35,000 customers who are behind on their mortgage to the event. To date, fewer than 600 customers have registered for the upcoming workshops.
Wells Fargo services about nine million mortgages in the country. Since 2009, the banking institution has held 40 home preservation workshops in the hardest hit markets — markets where the banking institution faces the highest delinquencies by mortgage customers. According to Wells Fargo officials, Philadelphia has a five percent delinquency rate.
“That five percent is still a significant number and we want them to understand what resources are available and that we want to work with them,” Day says of these delinquent customers.
Customers who attend the workshop will be assigned a single point of contact: one representative that will work with them throughout the resolution of their mortgage case. Assistance will also be available for those customers who cannot afford to stay in their homes.
Workshop attendees must have a number of documents on hand when they meet with a Wells Fargo representative. Participants must bring the following documents: most recently filed and signed federal tax return; a recent statement for every savings account, CD, bond, stock, IRA and 401K; recent statements for credit cards, auto/student loans, other mortgages, liens and other debt obligations; a signed and dated hardship letter detailing why it’s difficult to make mortgage payments and a list of all household expenses.
Salaried borrowers must also bring a month’s worth of the most recent paycheck stubs and W-2s, and self-employed borrowers must bring most recent quarterly or year-to-date profit/loss statement reflecting business name, gross/net income and business expenses, complete tax return with all schedules, and three months of business bank statements.
Borrowers with income such as Social Security, disability or death benefits, pension, adoption assistance, public assistance, food stamps or unemployment must bring a benefits statement or award letter from provider stating the amount, frequency and duration of the benefit and three most recent bank statements showing receipt of such payment.
Those who rely on alimony or child support as qualifying income must bring divorce or other court decree, or separation agreement or other written agreement filed with the court stating amount and period of time it will be received as well as three most recent bank statements showing receipt of such payment.
Borrowers relying on rental income are asked to bring Current Lease Agreement (s) in entirety and three months of bank statements showing deposit of payment or cancelled checks showing receipt of payment.
Registration is recommended for the upcoming workshop. Attendees must register by October 4.
To register, visit wfhmevents.com/leadingthewayhome or call 1 (800) 405-8067.
Chris C. White was the owner of Chris’ Cleaners and Tailoring in West Philadelphia.
He died June 19, 2012, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 80.
White was born March 19, 1932, to the late Sandy and Willie Kate White in Halifax County, Va. He was the youngest of nine children.
At an early age, White relocated to Philadelphia, where he was educated in the Philadelphia Public School system, attending Martha Washington Elementary School, Mayer Sulzberger Middle School and Overbrook High School. He later enlisted in the United States Army and served in the Korean War. White was honorably discharged in 1953.
He attended the former Craft School of Tailoring at 6th and Chestnut streets and would later go on to earn a certificate in accounting.
In 1950, White was introduced to his future bride Myra (Nonnie) Harper by his best friend, the late David 2X Shaw. He spoke often about Myra’s family. He stated that when he fell in love with Myra, he also fell in love with her parents and siblings.
After three years of courtship, they were married on Oct. 24, 1953, and went on to be blessed with three children, Gail, Rashida and Abdal Aleem.
Along with his wife, he joined the Nation of Islam in 1955, becoming Chris X and Myra X. As a Fruit of Islam (FOI), he served in numerous capacities; most notably in the secretarial and treasury departments. He would work with prominent figures within the Nation of Islam, such as Malcolm X, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed and Minister Louis Farrakhan. During the mid-1970s, the White family would receive the Islamic surname “Karim” from the Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, leader of the American Society of Muslims; Chris and Myra would also receive the names Aziz and Saafie.
Inspired by the Nation of Islam’s principle of self-help and Black entrepreneurship, White established a dry cleaning and tailoring business, Chris’ Cleaners and Tailoring in March of 1960, which is still up and running today.
Chris’ Cleaners would service several neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia, including North Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, and Northeast Philadelphia. His first dry-cleaning and tailoring shop was at Uber and Montgomery Avenue. At one time, White owned and operated a total of five dry-cleaning and tailoring shops. Today, most people associate Chris’ Cleaners and Tailoring with 52nd St. and Girard Avenue, and 56th and Stewart streets.
White was revered for his excellent skills in tailoring, especially his designs of suits, pants and coats. Chris’ Cleaners and Tailoring would go on to service many prominent Philadelphians, including civil rights activist Cecil B. Moore, members of the singing groups “The Blue Notes” and “The Delfonics,” and radio personalities Georgie Woods, Mary Mason and Nick Taliaferro. White traveled to Chicago several times to tailor suits for American Society of Muslim’s leader Imam W. Deen Mohammed.
Prior to opening his dry cleaning service, White was employed at the former Quartermaster Depot making military uniforms, and the Philadelphia Naval Hospital.
In 1977, White was instrumental in the founding of Masjidullah, Inc., where the meetings began in his West Philadelphia home.
White enjoyed community service. He served as block captain for the 5600 W. Stewart Street block. He was also a member of the Carroll Park Community Council, a member of numerous Islamic service committees and chairman of the White Family Reunion.
White often talked about the importance of family. The Sunday before he passed, his family held a Father’s Day gathering for him at his home. He enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He supported his family endlessly throughout all of their endeavors.
He served as a mentor to many. People of all ages, faiths, races and walks of life would seek advice from White. His family said he was known for his stern, yet compassionate, talks. Neighborhood children would also call him “Dad” and “Grandpop.” To others he was known as “Brother Aziz,” “Brother Chris,” or Mr. White.
White was preceded in death by his brothers, Robert, William, George, and John and four sisters, Annie, Fannie, Alethea and Eunice.
In addition to his wife and three children, White is survived by his daughter-in-law, Lora; grandchildren, Basheer, Hamina, Walida, Amir, Khalid and Khaleef; great-grandchildren, Dahmir, Zahir, Yahsir, Zakii, Saafirah, Naimah, Ibn, Milan, Zakia and Jamira; sisters-in-law, Catherine (Ummil Karim) White, Ruby Harper Bradshaw, Lillian Harper Gary, Juanita Harper Franklin (Carl) and Mary Harper Leecan (Lee); brothers-in-law, Adam Harper (Jean), Roosevelt Harper (Queen) and Waymon Harper Jr.; special relative, Annie Cosby; and other relatives and friends.
Services were held June 21 at the Philadelphia Masjid-Sister Clara Muhammad School, 4700 Wyalusing Ave. Burial was held in Westminster Cemetery.
After seeing the devastating impact that domestic violence wreaked on his mother and sister, Michael Staton wants victims to know that help is available.
“I will never forget the pain, hurt and despair I used to see on their faces from the years of abuse at hands of their respective intimate partners,” he said.
“As a young adolescent I witnessed by mother being verbally, emotionally and physically assaulted at the hands of my father,” Staton said, recalling an instance where his father attempted to bang his mother’s head against a bathroom sink.
Staton’s mother eventually divorced his father but later married another abusive man.
“Eventually my mother just decided to check out emotionally. She began to utilize alcohol and drugs to cope with her problems and the things that were going on,” he said.
Alcohol and drug abuse eventually took his mother life, claiming her at the age of 38.
“I made an oath and obligation at her funeral 20 years ago, and said that I would move on and try to help somebody in the same situation,” said Staton, who now works as a security guard at the Women Against Abuse (WAA) Emergency Shelter.
Staton spoke of a sister who was being abused by her son’s father. He would see with bruises, dark marks around her eyes and arm braces.
While she was able to break away from her abuser, when he was arrested for drug abuse, her son would later move into his father’s home. He ended up being a victim of a homicide.
Staton shared his story during a kick off event for Domestic Violence Awareness Month held Wednesday afternoon by Verizon Wireless and WAA. The event served as an occasion to ask Philadelphians to take an anti-violence pledge.
“In 2011, domestic violence remains a growing issue in Philadelphia, as the need for both emergency response and shelter requests soar to an all-time high,” said Jeannie L. Lisitski, executive director of WAA, which is the largest domestic violence program in Pennsylvania.
“Through Domestic Violence Awareness Month and our iPledge Campaign, it is our hope to amplify the voices of countless survivors of domestic violence and encourage all Philadelphians to pledge their support of this cause. Together, we can prevent domestic violence.”
The focus on domestic violence comes as Philadelphia continues to face a shortage of shelter beds for victims. According to Lisitski, WAA had to turn away 7,500 people who need safe shelter.
Lisitski said the city only has 100 shelter beds available for domestic violence victims while other cities comparable to Philadelphia average 250.
A highlight of the press event included the announcement of a new entrepreneurship initiative for women affected by domestic violence.
Verizon Wireless, the Verizon Foundation and The Enterprise Center launched the Verizon “Pathway to Independence” Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Program. The pilot program offers participants classroom sessions and hands-on experience that will provide entrepreneurial training for those planning to start their own business.
Verizon Wireless and Verizon Foundation are donating a total of $100,000 over two years with an initial investment of $50,000 to fund the program, which will be facilitated through The Enterprise Center. Program candidates will be identified and referred in coordination with WAA.
“Moving forward and creating an independent, self-sufficient life is a critical next step. It’s our hope that ‘Pathways to Independence’ will help participants cultivate life skills that will lead to life-enhancing employment opportunities or small business ownership.”
During the press conference held in Love Park, Mayor Michael Nutter gave an overview on how the Philadelphia Police Department is working to combat domestic violence.
Due to an upsurge in domestic homicides for 2009, the department reorganized how it responds to domestic abuse incidents. In 2010, the police department responded to more than 115,000 domestic abuse incidents.
According to Nutter, the police department has launched a new specialized domestic violence incidence report that is completed by first responders. The report gives the department the ability to track repeat domestic abuse calls.
“Along with this new incident report, the Philadelphia Police Department has instituted a new response process that enables officers to identify incidents that have the potential to escalate and to connect domestic victims with domestic violence services,” Nutter said.
“Through this process, Women Against Abuse and partnering agencies are now able to proactively conduct outreach to victims of domestic violence. This is very important. This is a change for the city of Philadelphia.”
State Sen. LeAnna Washington briefly shared her story as a domestic violence survivor, as she implored people to donate funds to help agencies like WAA.
“The stains of domestic violence really never go away. They fade but they never go away. Every time you hear the stories of someone who is a victim or survivor of domestic violence, you remember what happens in your own household,” Washington said.
“The Lord had a plan for me. Regardless of whatever happened in my life, he had a plan for me, and that’s why I stand here before you today, not only as a survivor but as an elected official.”
Washington touted her fourth annual Walk to End Domestic Violence that is by will be held Oct. 22 at 10:30 a.m. on West River Drive.
Proceeds from the walk will raise funds for the 24-hour domestic violence hotline (1-866-SAFE-014). She stressed the importance of raising funds for the lifesaving resource. For information about participating in the walk call (215) 242-0472 or register online at http://conta.cc/WalkToEndDomesticViolence.
Ruby N. Gamble was a devout Jehovah’s Witness who loved the ministry.
She died March 10, 2012. She was 96.
She was born Oct. 17, 1915 in Ozark, Ala. Gamble was educated in the Alabama public school system and earned her high school diploma in 1932.
In 1937, she traveled to Philadelphia in search of employment and to join her sisters. While in Philadelphia, she worked as a domestic worker, a power machine operator and eventually landed a job with the Philadelphia Health Department as laboratory technician - a job that she was very proud of and ultimately retired from in 1977.
Because of her love for the ministry, Gamble became a full time minister (pioneer) in 1984 devoting up to 90 hours per month in preaching work.
She was especially known for her street witnessing. On any given day, she could be seen with her fellow Jehovah's Witnesses walking the distance from Stenton Avenue to City Hall, preaching to all along the way. On other days, she might be seen at the Amtrak 30th Street train station where she passed out Watchtower literature to travelers.
Her son, Kenneth Gamble, became half of the legendary songwriting and production duo of Gamble and Huff. She was the inspiration behind the classic Intruders hit, “I’ll Always Love My Mama.”
“Our mother was extremely special,” Kenneth Gamble said on behalf of the Gamble family.
“She was the kindest person in our lives. More importantly, she was the inspiration for everything I have done in life, including creating the wonderful music that others have enjoyed around the world. We will truly miss her.”
“As the matriarch of the family, she was a spiritual person who devoted her life as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Her kindness and peacefulness will never be forgotten."
She was preceded in death by three siblings.
She is survived by her sons, Charles Sr., Kenneth and Carl; two siblings; and 19 grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 17 at 1 p.m. at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 6826-40 Ardleigh St.
Bottom Dollar Food has marked its first year anniversary in the Greater Philadelphia region.
When Bottom Dollar Food opened its first store in King of Prussia on Oct. 8, 2010, it paved the way for 21 additional stores in the market, including 20 in Pennsylvania and two in New Jersey.
“We have created about 960 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia market and have really become a part of communities in which we operate in,” said Meg Ham, president of Bottom Dollar Food.
“We remain committed to delivering fresh produce, quality meats and private and national brand products at unbelievably low prices and we look forward to continuing to expand our presence in this market.”
Bottom Dollar Food stores specialize in offering national and private brands, fresh produce and meats at discount prices. The stores carry more than 6,500 items.
“For us to open 22 stores and for us to be able to bring savings to the customers in those areas has been hugely rewarding for us at Bottom Dollar,” Ham added.
More growth is on the horizon for the discount retailer as it plans to six additional stores in Philadelphia, Fountain Hill and Nazareth, Pa., and Clementon, Cherry Hill, Glassboro, N.J. Bottom Dollar will add 280 jobs by year-end due to the expansion.
Bottom Dollar officials and associates are preparing to open a store in the Philadelphia’s Penrose section on Oct. 28 at 7627 Lindbergh Avenue.
To mark its first anniversary in serving the region, the retailer offered special in-store promotions Oct. 8 at its area locations.
On Oct. 7, Bottom Dollar donated 26,300 pounds of food to four local food banks including, Second Harvest Food Bank, Philabundance, Food Bank of South Jersey and Greater Berks Food Bank.
During its first year of operating in the Philadelphia market, Bottom Dollar donated more than $225,000 worth of food to Feeding America food banks throughout the region.
“It’s really important to us to be a part of the communities we’re in. Specifically given who we are and what we do, food banks are of particular interest to us,” says Ham.
Based in Salisbury, N.C., Bottom Dollar Food operates 50 stores in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Bottom Dollar Food is a subsidiary of Delhaize America, the U.S. division of international retail operator Delhaize Group.
Ronald L. Houston Sr. was a dedicated educator.
Houston died June 13, 2012 at Prince George Hospital in Maryland. He was 69. He was a resident of Philadelphia for 43 years.
Born on June 22, 1942 to Robert and Flora Houston in Princeton, W. Va., he attended Princeton High School, graduated from Bluefield State College in Bluefield W.Va. with a degree in chemistry and was a member of the Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Houston received his master’s in education from Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va.
Houston spent his adult life in the field of education, as a teacher in secondary schools, as a principal and most recently as the director for the school improvement at the Delaware Department of Education. He was also the state director for Title I and held officer positions in several education associations. He played a key role in the enforcement and administration of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 in the Delaware public schools.
Prior to his work at the Delaware Department of Education, Houston was a researcher for 13 years at Research for Better Schools, a college professor, school administrator and teacher. He was instrumental in the development of several reform efforts and is published in the area of education of disadvantaged children.
Outside of his career in education, Houston was an avid Temple University basketball fan and loved spending time with his five grandchildren.
In addition to his parents, Houston was predeceased by two nephews, Dialo Evans and Robert Houston Jr. and his sister, Barbara Houston Chandler.
He is survived by his two sons, Ronald Houston and his wife, Ia , and Shawn G.A. Houston and his wife, Michelle; sister, Delores Houston Anderson and her husband, Carl; two brothers, Robert W.L. Houston and Claude D. Houston; five nieces and nephews, Jill Houston, Sherry Houston, Calvin Benjamin Chandler Jr., Todd Houston and Jamil Evans; and five grandchildren, Ronald III, Cheo, Asha, Nathan and Jade.
Funeral services were held June 21. Burial was in Northwood Cemetery at 1501 Haines St.
Condolences can be sent to Alfonso Cannon Funeral Home, 2315 N. Broad St., Phila., Pa. 19132.
By tapping into the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Emerging 200 (e200) program, Keith Searles has placed his firm on the path for growth.
The e200 program provides inner-city businesses across the country demonstrating high growth potential with a free, six-month, in-depth education in organizational management, growth strategies, market development and strategic planning.
Searles credits the e200 program with helping him develop a three-year strategic plan for his firm, Innovative Alternative Energy, which specializes in energy management and contractual services.
“In three years, the strategic plan will be to grow and expand into the commercial side of energy management, which will reach out to industrial facilities,” said Searles, who has a background as an electrician.
Innovative Alternative Energy entered the marketplace in 2007 with a focus on offering solar installation services. Since then, the Merion Station-based company has diversified into the field of residential energy audits and weatherization. Searles has been successful in netting contracts with PECO for its Smart Ideas rebate program.
Searles aspires to offer energy management services for high-rise commericial buildings in major cities, including Philadelphia and New York.
He joined entrepreneurs from nine other companies who were honored during the e200 graduation ceremony held at City Hall. This year’s graduates included Leon McMillian, A-Ware Marketing, LLC; Sophy and Chris DiPinto, DiPinto Guitars; Tyraine Ragsdale, Grand Hank Productions, Inc.; Mia Mendoza, Mendoza Group Inc; Jude Arijaje, Minuteman Press; Yatsun Wen and Fenjin He, Nature Soy, Inc.; Dan Taso, New Mainstream Press; Derrick Jackson, Precision Plus Plumbing; and Yvette and Dereck Jones, Ultimate Concrete.
Addressing the graduates, SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns stressed the importance of small businesses as the engines of the economy.
“You are already leaders in your community. Today I am calling on you to roll up your sleeves and do what you can to drive our economy forward. Hire more workers and create more jobs,” said Johns.
“Be a mentor to young people and help create the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
She told the graduates the SBA would continue to be a resource for their businesses.
“The SBA can support you as you seize new opportunities and face new challenges. When you need capital to expand your business, we can help you get a loan. If you want to get into government contracting, we can find you contracts to bid on. Or if you just want to keep learning and growing, we can find you a counselor or a mentor,” said Johns.
In 2008, Philadelphia joined a group of major cities in launching the e200 initiative, which offers inner-city businesses an MBA-like curriculum designed to help business grow and stimulate their local economies. Participants work with experienced mentors, attend workshops and develop connections with banks and the private equity community.
Since its inception, nearly 1,000 small business owners have graduated from the national program. According to the SBA, these entrepreneurs have seen a 60 percent increase in revenue, created hundreds of new jobs and secured millions of dollars in financing and government contracts.
Eldridge Witherspoon Smith Jr., also known as “Butter,” was Temple University’s first African-American director of admissions.
Smith died Oct. 25, 2011. He was 72.
Smith was born to the late Eldridge W. Smith Sr. and Josephine A. Smith on Aug. 21, 1939, in Philadelphia.
He was raised and educated in Philadelphia. He attended Philadelphia public schools, graduating from West Philadelphia High School at the age of 16; he then received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from Cheyney University in 1964. As a strong believer in continuing his education, he went on to attend Temple University to complete his master’s of education degree in School Counseling in 1974.
Smith was brought up attending and serving in church with his parents. He accepted the Lord as his personal Savior at a young age and actively served within the ministry as a Sunday school teacher and youth leader at St. Matthew AME Church.
In May of 1969, Smith wed Theresa King and from this union two children were born, Whitney Michele Smith and Evan Wade Smith.
Professionally, Smith pursued several careers with the Opportunities Industrialization Center and Phiko Ford before beginning his career with Temple University.
In 1969, he was appointed as associate director of the Temple Opportunity Program, which recruited academically talented students from low-income families. In 1976, he was given the assignment to reorganize and manage Temple’s Student Resource Center, a unit that provided support services to students with the help of federal, state and university funding.
In 1977, Smith was appointed as Temple’s associate director of admissions. After a nationwide search and selection from more than 100 applications, Smith was confirmed as Temple’s first African-American director of admissions in 1984. Local newspapers and Jet magazine acknowledged this honor.
He finished his tenure at Temple as a director, consulting on special assignment in the Office of Community Relations at Temple University Hospital, until retiring in 1995.
After taking time to enjoy his retirement, Smith desired to continue his service in education and later entered the Philadelphia School System where he worked with special needs high school students and adults until his retirement in June of 2010.
Smith was a strong advocate of education, and he helped many young people get into college. Many of these students were first generation college students and found success when they were recommended to meet with him at Temple for an opportunity of admission.
He married Norma Jean Hill on Nov. 28, 1987.
In his spare time, Smith enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, and socializing and watching sporting events as he was an ardent fan of the Philadelphia Eagles and Sixers basketball team.
Smith is survived by his wife, Norma Jean Smith; daughter, Whitney Smith Williams (John); son, Evan Wade Smith; brother, Robert Smith; stepsons, Richard and Robert Hill; grandchildren, Jayda, Ryan and Nia Faith; step granddaughter, Chardé Hill; niece, Dianne Robinson; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Friday, Nov. 4 at Vine Memorial Baptist Church, 5600 West Girard Avenue. Viewing is at 10 a.m. Services to follow at 11. Burial is in Eden Cemetery.
Gabriel S. Hardeman was a pioneer of modern gospel music.
He was a singer, songwriter and a pastor.
Hardeman died June 16, 2012, in Philadelphia. Details of his death have not yet been released.
Hardeman was the founder of the Gabriel Hardeman Delegation. He is known for songs “Feel Like Fire” and “To The Chief Musician.”
He co-wrote Stephanie Mills’ 1987 number one R&B hit “I Feel Good All Over” with his wife Annette Hardeman.
WDAS-FM Radio personality Patty Jackson says Hardeman’s songs “I Feel Good All Over” and “Love Under New Management” were gospel songs that were regarded as R&B staples.
“It just really showed you his great talent in what he wrote about — the passion in his work,” says Jackson.
“I think one of the greatest gospel songs to go down in recording is ‘Feel Like Fire.’ It’s a song that makes you happy. It’s a song that kind of gets into your spirit.”
Aside from writing songs for gospel acts such as Edwin Hawkins and the Wilmington-Chester Mass Choir, Hardeman recorded his own albums for the Messiah and Birthright labels before making a comeback with the Stellar Award nominated the “To the Chief Musician” CD in 2001.
“He was a wonderful person. He really lived his life to the fullest. He did so much,” says Jackson.
After suffering from interstitial fibrosis, Hardeman underwent a single lung transplant on Feb. 16, 2009, at the University of Pennsylvania.
The College Park, Ga.-native lived in Philadelphia for most of his adult life until he and his wife returned to Georgia to care for his aging parents.
“I care for my mom and we had a very in-depth conversation about the challenges that happens in your life when you reach a certain age and you have to care for your parent. It was such a sacrifice for him but it was something that he wanted to do,” Jackson added.
Services will be held June 23 at Hickman Temple AME Church, 50th and Baltimore streets. Viewing is at 10 a.m. Services will follow at 11.
Pennsylvania CareerLink has ramped up services in a move to assist job seekers in finding work and enhancing their skills.
The Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board has announced that new services are available at the city’s CareerLink offices.
“These are new services for a new year,” said Meg Shope Koppel, the WIB’s interim CEO.
“All new unemployment compensation claimants in 2012 must meet a job search requirement, so we expect thousands of new visits to PA CareerLink offices in Philadelphia. Employers expect new employees to demonstrate computer literacy and other basic skills, so the WIB is making sure these new tools are available to all who are looking for work.”
The new services have been added at a time when the nation’s unemployment rate is 8.5 percent.
A new key offering of the Philadelphia CareerLink offices includes self-paced, online training for the National Career Readiness Certificate.
“This is a really great certificate, because it provides employers with proof that a potential employee has mastered the three critical workplace skills, which is applied math, reading for information and locating information. These are the skills needed for success in the workplace,” said Nicki Woods, Pennsylvania CareerLink North administrator.
“It’s an excellent supplement to a high school diploma and a GED. We highly recommend it for anyone who is out of work or seeking a better opportunity. It’s a certificate that could make them more marketable to an employer.”
A new key offering for job seekers includes the EMSI Career Coach, a user-friendly job search and résumé builder tool that can be assessed via www.pwib.emsicareercoach.com. EMSI Career Coach can be used to search for job opportunities, information about various occupations and local schools that provide training.
“It actually has a spidering component where it will pull different jobs from different job boards so the job seeker can actually leave with a lot of valuable information,” said Woods.
Job seekers can also tap into Microsoft IT Academy and software instruction at the CareerLink North office, located at 990 Spring Garden Street. Through a partnership with Knowledge Solutions International, Inc., the CareerLink North office will be able to provide 450 Microsoft courses in Microsoft applications. Interested individuals will be assessed and those who qualify will receive training in the latest versions of Microsoft applications most commonly used in the workplace.
The classes are slated to start in February or March. Registration is now open at the CareerLink offices throughout the city.
Philadelphia has received new federal On the Job (OTJ) training funds to train long-term unemployed workers due to the city’s relatively high unemployment rate. Wage subsidies of up to 90 percent are available to employers for up to six months, depending upon the business size and training plan.
“It’s really a beauty for both the employer and the job seeker. The goal is to match employers with job seekers that they can train. It provides them with the right talent because the job seeker will be trained to the employers specification,” Woods said.
“Some of the advantages to the employers is offsets the initial training costs to fill their skilled positions while they are increasing productivity. For the job seeker it’s great because it addresses the skill gaps that might hinder that individual from performing in a new job and it also provides them with developing skills while they’re earning a wage.”
This expands an existing OJT program that has already trained welders, IT apprentices, medical assistants, bus operators, production associates, apprentice vehicle technicians and technical support associates.
For information about CareerLink services call the hotline at (215) 557-2625.