Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier joined Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Acting Secretary Neil Weaver, U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and others to celebrate the latest graduates of a workforce development program that connects unemployed and underemployed Philadelphians with quality job opportunities at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia.
The Navy Yard Skills Initiative launched in August 2020 through a partnership of PIDC and the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative. In that time, the program has provided job training for 82 individuals – preparing them for full-time employment with Navy Yard employers looking to build highly skilled talent pipelines and diverse workforces. Career opportunities within the Navy Yard are also diverse – from baking cakes to ship building to cancer research – across 150 companies.
“This successful program is exactly the type of program that the Wolf Administration has been excited to highlight and support. Launching in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic is no easy feat and it is incredible that they have been able to support five cohorts of Philadelphians thus far,” Secretary Berrier said. “Pennsylvania’s economic future depends on a well-educated and highly-trained workforce. Businesses are growing and hiring – but with employees retiring out of the workforce, they need skilled workers to continue to thrive. That will depend on developing talent pipelines of skilled workers to meet business needs.”
The program’s fifth cohort of trainees graduated last week, resulting in all 11 graduates being offered positions at Tastykake, and plans are in progress for additional Navy Yard employers to join the program in 2022 in the healthcare and life sciences sectors.
“DCED has made strategic investments in the Philadelphia Navy Yard because the Wolf Administration recognizes how economically important these businesses are to the region and commonwealth as a whole,” said Acting Secretary Weaver. “Training programs like this one help workers gain important new skills while also ensuring companies have the talented workforce they need to succeed.”
Through the Governor’s Action Team (GAT), the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority (BFTDA), the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) and several other programs, DCED and the Wolf Administration have invested nearly $18 million in funding for projects at the Philadelphia Navy Yard since January 2015.
“We are grateful to have terrific partners across the federal, state, and local levels, including Secretary Berrier and Secretary Weaver, who have supported our workforce development training program from the start,” said Kate McNamara, PIDC’s Senior Vice President, Navy Yard. “As stewards of our city, we are committed to equitable growth and opportunities for all, and the Navy Yard Skills Initiative program will continue to make transformative impacts for Philadelphia residents for years to come.”