Students enroll at Community College of Philadelphia to find a better life, higher paying jobs and greater opportunity for their families.
Darryl Hall, a military veteran, was working in the security field when he found out about the Ophthalmic Technician Proficiency Certificate program, which was developed with Salus University and launched in January. “I thought, wow, an eight-month course, and you’re ready for a skilled job in a busy industry? That sounded great to me, and I immediately switched gears and signed up,” he said.
Hall is currently an extern at Soll Eye Associates—Cooper Division at Cooper Hospital University Medical Center in Camden, N.J. He is in the inaugural cohort of eight students, six of whom graduated in August 2017 and secured employment in the field.
The program prepares students to work under the supervision of optometrists or ophthalmologists to provide patient care by performing many different eye- and vision-related clinical functions. The median annual ophthalmic medical technician salary in the Philadelphia area is $41,579, according to EMSI data.
Among the Steps Taken to Address the Needs of the Workforce and Upgrade Workforce Skills:
Corporate Solutions is working with Philadelphia Works Inc. on a pilot program to train individuals to earn a bookkeeping certificate based on the standards established by the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB). The certification earned is a Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB). Students learn accounting transactions relevant to GAAP accounting principles. Those who complete the 200-hour program will have knowledge of financial accounting transactions and payroll fundamentals, in addition to computerized financial accounting transactions executed through the use of QuickBooks. The class started in June and ran through August.
This spring, the College rolled out key technical skills training programs—Welding Technology, CNC Precision Machining Technology and Electro-Mechanical/Mechatronics Technology—that prepare students for a career in advanced manufacturing with rewarding entry-level salaries that range from $18 to $22 per hour. Four of the seven students who enrolled in the CNC Precision Machining Technology course already are employed.
Early Childhood Education Teachers Apprenticeship
Partnered with the Philadelphia District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund to provide workers who hold a Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate credit for prior experience and on-the-job learning, enabling them to finish the College’s degree in Early Childhood Education (Birth–4th Grade), while working full time. Apprentices receive four wage increases during the two-year program, with raises tied to academic and professional progress.
Urban Technology Project Computer Support Specialists (CSS) Registered IT Apprenticeship Program and Digital Services Fellows – A public-private partnership by the School District of Philadelphia and Communities in Schools, the Community College of Philadelphia provides credit courses in information technology to participants in this program.
National Machining and Tooling Association (NMTA) Tri-State Machinist (CNC) Apprenticeship Program – A competency-based program administered by a third party allowing small- to mid-sized manufacturers to participate. The College offers shop math and blueprint reading classes.
Gas Distribution Pipeline Mechanic Program
The College joined a Philadelphia-region consortium, which includes PECO and PGW, to offer training to prepare students to work in Pennsylvania’s growing natural gas sector. The inaugural class of nine graduates from the College’s Gas Distribution Pipeline Mechanic Training program graduated this spring. Students learned how to perform tasks needed to install and maintain pipelines for natural gas distribution systems, which provide natural gas service to residential, commercial and industrial customers. The 11-week program includes 140 classroom hours and 50 hours for Operator Qualification (OQ) from the Northeast Gas Association. The OQ is the national credential required by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Pipeline Safety to establish a verifiable and qualified workforce.
Expansion of Automotive Technology Program
In March, with the help of a generous benefactor, the College set in motion expansion and improvement plans for the Automotive Technology Center, which is in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone, and filled to capacity. With a job placement rate of close to 100 percent, the new facility will be able to serve 240 students, up from the current 120. In addition, when the 37,000-square-foot facility is completed, the Automotive Technology program will have sufficient space to offer training related to diesel cars and trucks, and alternative fuel vehicles.
Building Prosperity, Block by Block
Small Business Development
One of the city’s fastest growing businesses last year was Supra Office Solutions. It won the coveted top spot on the Philadelphia 100, which started in 1988 by the Entrepreneurs’ Forum of Greater Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Business Journal and the Wharton Small Business Development Center. Ken Carter, the president and chief operating officer at Supra, is a 2016 graduate of the College’s Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Greater Philadelphia program. More than 300 businesses have taken classes to date, with 76 more finishing up classes this past academic year. A number of the graduates put the ideas and plans they discussed into action, and got extraordinary results.
Clare Razaq-Hines’ company, net. America, recently received a $25 billion, 10-year contract from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Clare took the train from Maryland to attend the classes at the College.
“I just wasn’t entirely clear on how to get it done,” said Razaq-Hines. “The proven systematic approach the instructors used helped me to hone in on what I needed to do to realize my vision.”
Power Up Your Business
For the small neighborhood businesses seeking similar assistance and support, the College and the city partnered to create Power Up Your Business this year. In the first six months, 104 businesses from 42 different ZIP codes in the city had participated in the Power Up Your Business Peer-based Learning Experience or the Store Owner Series of workshops by June. Workshops have been held on the Main Campus and at the West and Northwest Regional Centers. The training moved to the Northeast Regional Center in fall 2017.
Power Up Your Business, a groundbreaking initiative, took us deeper into the commercial corridors, which are a crucial component of neighborhood change, especially in areas with persistent poverty. The program is tailor-made for the microbusinesses at the heart of the neighborhood economy. The free coursework supports the sustainability, management and profitability of these businesses through a two-tiered approach: a series of free, business-themed workshops; and an extended, peer-based learning experience, which provides 30 hours of training over 10 weeks. Further expanding our reach in workforce development, 10,000 Small Businesses Greater Philadelphia continued its strong track record of identifying and training the local entrepreneurs ready to move to the next level.