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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."

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


WHAT:  Community College of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Councilwoman Cherelle Parker and other members of Philadelphia City Council will come together Dec. 5th to announce a bold, new initiative designed to strengthen commercial corridors in neighborhoods and offer free services for small businesses that employ local residents. The initiative, called Power Up Your Business, is a neighborhood-centered approach to economic development. Launching in January, 2017, it will provide training and business development tools to the existing and aspiring small business owners that serve as the building blocks of daily commerce in so many neighborhoods. Child care centers, corner grocers, and other micro-businesses create hubs of activity, where residents can gather, catch up on the news, and build community. Moreover, small businesses are the biggest job creators in most cities, especially in underserved neighborhoods. A newly released report by the nonprofit Initiative for a Competitive Inner City titled The Big Impact of Small Business on Urban Job Creation examined five big cities across the nation - Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, DC. It found that that if small inner-city businesses hired an additional one to three employees each unemployment could be eliminated in most neighborhoods.

WHO: Speakers include Dr. Donald Guy Generals, president of Community College of Philadelphia; Mayor Kenney, Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilwoman Parker, Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. and Wayne Williams, a College faculty member who will work as a consultant to the program. Joining the announcement will be: City Council members Blondell Reynolds-Brown, Derek Green, William Greenlee, Helen Gym, Maria Quinones-Sanchez and Mark Squilla. Small businesses owners and partners also will attend.

WHEN: Press conference begins at 11 a.m., Monday, December 5, 2016

WHERE: Mayor’s Reception Room, Room 202, City Hall.

 

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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.

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