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Contact: Linda Wallace, 215-751-8082, liswallace@ccp.edu
Annette John-Hall, 215-751-8021, anhall@ccp.edu

 

WHO: Mayor Jim Kenney was raised by Irish Catholic parents who taught him to respect everyone, no matter what race, religion or zip code. His upbringing, along with the community service values instilled by the Jesuits at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School and LaSalle University, laid the foundation for the 99th Mayor of Philadelphia to ensure opportunity for every Philadelphian, beginning in preschool.“ Children by third grade aren’t reading at grade level. By seventh and eighth grade they are embarrassed they can’t read, and by 10th grade they are out of there. Then they go to the corner, or to the cemetery, or jail,” he said in an interview with Pathways magazine, the college’s workforce development publication. In the article, Kenney details how he intends to fulfill his inauguration day pledge to make every neighborhood the best it can be - by fostering strong commercial corridors and affordable housing, improving amenities such as libraries and recreation centers, and providing young people with real economic opportunities that will keep them out of a life of crime. He calls on the entire city, including the business leaders, to get involved – by mentoring youth, helping out at recreation centers, supporting the Police Athletic League and more. “These young babies, we have to make sure they are educated and sheltered so they don’t end up in the drug life. It is a really hard job. I can’t do it by myself, that’s for sure.”

Pathways magazine explores ways the College will help advance Kenney’s agenda, by implementing programs that boost entrepreneurism in working-class neighborhoods and expanding early childhood education.

WHEN: 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Mayor Kenney will be the keynote speaker.

WHERE: Center for Business and Industry, Room C2-5, Community College of Philadelphia. The Center for Business and Industry is located at the corner of 18th and Callowhill streets.

Contact: Linda Wallace, 215-751-8082, liswallace@ccp.edu
Annette John-Hall, 215-751-8021, anhall@ccp.edu

 

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 18, 2016—The Fox Rothschild Center for Law & Society at Community College of Philadelphia will present the 2016 Judge Edward R. Becker Citizenship Award on December 1st to Carole Haas Gravagno, a local philanthropist and champion of hope for youth.

The Becker award is named for the late Edward R. Becker (1933-2006), a Philadelphia native, scholar, and a highly respected jurist— who served on the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Judge Becker was a civil servant and a nationally-known jurist noted for upholding the highest standard of the law, while maintaining down-to-earth humility and approach.

The presentation will be made during a breakfast that will begin at 8 a.m. in Room C2-5 of the Center for Business and Industry, located on 18th Street on the corner of Callowhill Street. Invited guests include students, educators, youth advocates, patrons of the arts, elected officials, and Judge Becker’s widow, Flora Becker. Associate Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. was the previous winner, receiving the award in 2015.

A former elementary and high school teacher, Carole was selected by the awards committee for her long-standing support of programs that introduce the transformative power of the arts to children and youth, and working vigorously for strong families and better communities. She is currently working with “Play On, Philly!,” a music program at St. Francis de Sales School and Freire Charter Middle School. Over the years, she has worked with the Liberty Museum, Arden Theatre Company, People’s Light and Theatre Company, Please Touch Museum, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Settlement Music School, Morris Arboretum, and many others.

Carole has helped many local children and youth to live as she would want her children to live—by introducing them to the life-changing power of the arts, and working vigorously for strong families and better communities. A champion for children and advocate for quality public education, she stood

alongside Superintendent William R. Hite Jr.in a press conference back in 2013 and said, “If we let the education of our young people go down the drain, we’re in big, big trouble,”

The award honors outstanding citizens who have dedicated their lives to public service. It is named for a man who was as comfortable in the presence of Supreme Court Justices as he was with hourly wage workers, Edward Becker. A Philadelphia native, Judge Becker served on the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals from 1981 to 2006; using his extensive gifts to uphold the highest standards of the law while maintaining a down-to-earth humility and common touch.

Other recipients include U.S. Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. (2014); former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell (2011); Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Marjorie O. Rendell (2010); Co-Founder, President and Executive Director of Project H.O.M.E., Sister Mary Scullion (2009); former U.S. Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman, Jr., Esq. (2008); and U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (2007).

Carole holds a B.A. from Lenoir-Rhyne College in North Carolina, and a Master of Education from Temple University. In 1999, Gov. Tom Ridge appointed her a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania.

 

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Community College of Philadelphia is the largest public institution of higher education in Philadelphia and the sixth largest in Pennsylvania. The College enrolls approximately 34,000 students annually and offers day, evening, and weekend classes, as well as classes online. Visit the College at www.ccp.edu. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook.

On the same day the Department of Labor announced the November unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, the lowest level in nine years, a winding line of job-seekers snaked around Spring Garden Street and down 17th Street on the Main Campus.

One of the hopeful was Wakeler Tongor, a married father of two, including a newborn, who has been looking for a family-sustaining job since graduating from Temple in 2009. He currently works two part-time jobs, for a pharmaceutical company and for an assisted living facility, but both jobs combined don’t pay him enough to support his growing family. He hoped to find salaried, full-time employment, preferably a supervisory job in social services.

Like hundreds of others, he marveled over the overwhelming turnout as the City of Philadelphia hosted a jobs fair seeking applicants for 30 job areas ranging from police officers to firemen to city planners to sanitation workers and lawyers.

“This just goes to show how badly people need work,” Tongor said. “Even if people are working, they aren’t making as much as they would want to make.”

The City Government Career Fair came to Community College of Philadelphia Friday, December 2nd. The fair provided informational sessions with more than 30 participating city departments, including the Philadelphia Police Department, the Department of Human Services and the Free Library of Philadelphia. More than 2,000 applicants attended, including 1,000 current and former Community College of Philadelphia students. They learned about various jobs openings and in some cases, applied for them. Staff from the College’s Keystone Education Yields Success (KEYS) program helped out by registering people in line, and handing out college career literature to those who aspired to higher-paying jobs.

“I just want a job with benefits,” said Mike Scott, an unemployed locksmith, who stood in line with his live-in girlfriend Kristen Sanders, who added, “It’s hard when there’s only one person working in a household.”

The fair was scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but because of the enormous numbers of applicants, members of the KEYS staff cut the line off at about 1 p.m., allowing those already assembled time to go through the process. But those left out did not leave empty-handed, as College staffers provided them with information about employment, upcoming job fairs and more.

Many jobseekers had never been on the campus before, so it gave staff a captive audience, and an opportunity to discuss a range of job training and degree options. “We’re letting them know they can come to the College and get a degree,” said Kimberly Daniel, project director of KEYS, who was speaking with job seekers and conducting interviews as they left. “Or, if they have a degree, they can come back and get more training. We can be a resource for them.”

“I’m not surprised so many people came out,” she added. “I don’t care what anybody says, people want to work.”

The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF) this year expanded its venues to include the Main Campus of Community College of Philadelphia, where the diverse community fosters a variety of learning experiences.

The Festival, now the largest Asian American festival on the East Coast, exposes the region to films by and about Asian Americans through an abundance of film screenings and events. The other venues were the International House in University City, and the Asian Art initiative in Chinatown.

“Hosting PAAFF events at the College was important because it offered an opportunity to educate people about Asian American people and cultures,” said Michelle Myers, associate professor of English and a conference organizer. “There is a misperception that all Asian people and cultures are the same, which is terribly inaccurate and serves to erase the true diversity of the Asian American/Pacific Islander community. By presenting more accurate portrayals of the AAPI community’s diversity, we can challenge such views and, hopefully, correct stereotypes that people have held.”

Whether it is fostering an appreciation for the world through its Center for International Understanding or study abroad programs, the College’s international programs and activities allow students to sharpen their critical thinking and analytical skills; and prepare them to embrace a global view. Over the years, student and faculty groups have traveled to countries as extraordinary as Tanzania, Turkey, Japan, and, beginning in 2017, Cuba.

In addition, PAAFF held its first-ever academic mini-conference this year at the College, exploring topics as varied as media representations of Asian American identity; Asian American food, and its function socially, culturally and politically; and representations of culture, gender, and politics in Iranian film.

Serving as a host venue for PAAFF was a natural fit for the College. For the past 32 years, it has celebrated world cultures with the International Festival, a weeks’ worth of multinational dancing, music, workshops and cuisine; all designed to highlight and pay homage to the many cultures of the world.

Through the film festival, the learning continued. A recent screening of the PBS documentary, “In Football We Trust,” which chronicled the emergence of Samoan-American high school football players in a small town in Utah, enlightened members of the College community about culture and customs of Asians and Pacific Islanders that were different from their own.

Azari Jacquan, a Liberal Arts major at the College, said he left the screening with a new appreciation of a culture he knew little about, and the knowledge will be useful to him in the

future: “I’m interested in interpersonal communications. To be able to communicate with people, you have to be educated about their culture,” he said.

Meyers said providing a platform for events such as the film festival positions the College as a place where world views are formed and take hold. “We want to spotlight Community College of Philadelphia as a college where exciting academic work and conversations are taking place,” she said. “Hosting this academic mini-conference was an opportunity to convey the College’s positivity in this way.”

Council members join Mayor Jim Kenney (left) business owner Monica Parrilla (center), Community College of Philadelphia President Donald Guy Generals, (2nd left) and city Commerce Director Harold Epps (far right) to announce the launch of Power Up Your Business.

Monica Parrilla, owner of Marz Auto Center in Hunting Park, loves her job but sometimes the challenges can be difficult to bear.

Her four employees and their families rely on her and her auto repair business for their livelihood. She is working for her customers, and for them.

On Monday, Parrilla, clad in a Dale Earnhardt pullover shirt, breathed easier. Power Up Your Business, a new initiative funded by City Council and created by Community College of Philadelphia, aims to help her company grow, and the neighborhood along with it.

“There are workshops and grants for businesses with large revenue streams but small businesses like mine are excluded because we don’t meet the benchmark,” said Parrilla, who will serve as a member of the Power Up advisory board. “Small businesses have the power to keep the local economy moving, provide jobs in our area and to increase our revenue.”

From Hunting Park to Wynnefield, from Logan to South Philly, small businesses — the barbershops, the bodegas, the laundromats — throughout the city’s 265 neighborhood commercial corridors are the economic drivers of the city. Yet, those businesses are oftentimes overlooked in economic development conversations.

Power Up will help kick-start the conversation, block by block, and introduce the city to a group of unsung heroes — the men and women whose businesses keep neighborhoods and communities strong and who serve as job creators.

Starting Jan. 11, the College will offer workshops that cover the small business financial management, personal and business credit and neighborhood-based marketing. The workshops will be held at the College's Main Campus and three Regional Centers, starting with the Northwest Regional Center.

It will also offer 10-week training programs for up to 25 businesses at a time for a total of 100 businesses in one year. The College will match the participants with a business coach and introduce them to small business resources.

“At the end of the day, stronger local businesses mean more jobs and better neighborhoods for all Philadelphians, and I think we all can get behind that,” said Mayor Jim Kenney, who has advocated for opportunity for every resident of Philadelphia. “When neighborhood businesses are strong, neighborhoods are safer, home values go up, more people are working, there’s more of a community feel in the neighborhood.”

City Council hatched the idea and created funding for Power Up Your Business in response to the sweetened beverage tax imposed on small business owners earlier this year. “To me, consumption was driving the argument. Not enough was about ownership,” said Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, who shepherded the $800,000 program through the budget process. “With that in mind, we were able to come together about the development of the program.”

Standing alongside Mayor Kenney, Councilwoman Parker, and Community College of Philadelphia President Donald Guy Generals were: Council President Darrell Clarke, and Council members Curtis Jones, Jr., Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Derek Green, William Greenlee, Mark Squilla, Allan Domb, Al Taubenberger and David Oh. Clarke lauded Community College of Philadelphia as the “go-to” College “we go to when we want to come up with some very specific programs.”

“The College has one simple goal,” Dr. Generals said, “make every neighborhood the best it can be, by helping every business prosper.”

PIDC, City Commerce Department, PACDC, Enterprise Center, the African American Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are among the College’s community partners as Power Up prepares for a January rollout.

“It’s a neighborhood-centric approach to economic inclusion and change,” said Carol de Fries, the College’s vice president of Workforce and Economic Innovation.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Community College of Philadelphia will honor and recognize heroes by hosting a ceremony and job fair to connect those who have served in the military.

Since the 9-11 tragedy, one out of every two veterans will face joblessness upon transitioning from the military back into the workforce, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 2015 Veteran Economic Opportunity Report. The study also found that the average time for being on unemployment was approximately 22 weeks in 2013.

The Community College of Philadelphia is going smoke free on January 1.

“Previously you had to move 25 feet away from any entrance, exit or ramp. But now in order to avoid the confusion of what 25 feet is, we decided to make the whole campus smoke-free."

Dr. Kristy Shuda-McGuire with CCP says not only will this move help improve the health of smokers and non-smokers, but it may help some of the students kick the habit as they enter the working world.

The Community College of Philadelphia raised awareness on human trafficking with an event held last week.

The college along with participants from the Red Sand and other projects poured red sand into the cracks of the sidewalks as they walked from Spring Garden Street to City Hall. The sand served as a reminder that people should not pass by or walk over those who are being exploited.

“We hope to make this an annual event,” said Kathleen Smith, the director of Fox Rothschild Center for Law and Society. “Human trafficking affects so many, yet most of us think of it as rare and somehow far away from us and our communities. In offering a day focused on the many facets of human trafficking, we hope to give voice to the voiceless of the many who have been trafficked and bring their faces into focus.”

“The Collegiate Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development is the perfect vehicle for offering the kind of job-specific, skills training necessary for the region’s ports to capitalize on what promises to be a bright future,” said Jerry Parker, Collegiate Consortium chair and Delaware County Community College president.

Established in 1994 as a partnership between Drexel University and five area community colleges, the Consortium includes Community College of Philadelphia, Delaware County Community College, Bucks County Community College, Camden County College and Montgomery County Community College.

Community College of Philadelphia will offer free workshops to small local businesses next year in the hope of strengthening the city's commercial corridors.

The city is providing $800,000 for a year's worth of Power Up Your Business workshops and classes, with a three-year renewal option.

"One of our major goals is to ensure that our city is a growing business center, and that is dependent on the success of businesses of all sizes in all neighborhoods," Mayor Kenney said. "We have seen great growth in Center City and the surrounding areas, and we want all of our neighborhoods to experience that opportunity."

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