Kathryn Epps Roberson

Kathryn Epps Roberson

Hire! Philly, a regional employer-led workforce group, has unveiled a new platform that connects local residents to career opportunities.

PropelPHL is a no-cost, interactive digital platform that brings job seekers, employers, workforce agencies and social service organizations together in one central location.

“We really want to create a new workforce development model that understands the pathway to ensuring a career must include a connection to community services that meet our immediate needs, provide training, mentorship and skills-based job matching,” Kathryn Epps Roberson, executive director of Hire! Philly said during a virtual news conference Wednesday.

“The platform that we are introducing today does all of the above.”

The first phase of PropelPHL’s rollout focuses on reducing barriers for marginalized communities in Philadelphia that were adversely affected by job loss in 2020.

“It is just so critical that we focus on economic recovery and that means economic recovery for Black and brown communities, low to moderate income communities and a big part of that is making sure that we get people connected with a really good job,” said Sharmain Matlock Turner, president and CEO of the Urban Affairs Coalition.

“The real work here is really to get people in the community to sign on so that we could say look at all this talent that is in our communities to other employers. These are people who are looking, ready and willing and able to join your team and make a difference.”

Prior to launching the platform, Hire! Philly representatives spoke with community members and leaders to understand their perspective on today’s workforce.

“Community members that we spoke to really helped debunk the myth that they don’t want to return to work at all,” Epps Roberson said.

“In fact, we found out that people want to return to work, but they want to do so with dignity and respect. Job seekers don’t want to return to the workforce to only be met with jobs that are paying minimum wage.”

“It’s critical that we make skills-based connections between job seekers and employers that are paying living wages,” she continued.

“PropelPHL is really positioned to empower jobs seekers to help them make informed decisions and put them in a position where they can evaluate employers just as much as the employer is evaluating them.”

The platform enables job seekers to get matched to thousands of job opportunities based on their skills, identify training programs, connect with community resources and explore career pathways.

Employers can use the platform to grow their talent pipeline by engaging with a diverse pool of skilled candidates, while training providers can use it to provide targeted support.

“There’s not a Philadelphia-based solution that does all of the above and brings it together into one central location, all for the end goal of connecting talent and skills with opportunities, so PropelPHL is truly the first of its kind,” Epps Roberson said.

Hire! Philly plans to introduce “PropelPHL Points” at select neighborhood Free Libraries, Freedom Valley YMCA locations and community centers where individuals can connect with the digital platform but also receive in-person support and connections to necessary community resources.

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