Workforce Development, Readiness and Economic Innovation

Workforce Development


Community College of Philadelphia connects students with the world of work in ways that allow them to direct their learning to fields that fuel their personal ambitions and the region’s economic opportunities. The College provides a vital pipeline of homegrown talent to the City’s workforce.

With locations throughout the city and affordable tuition, the College is well positioned to increase the workforce skill and educational attainment of students. To respond to a shifting economy, the College is developing innovative new programs to meet regional workforce needs and ultimately ensure student success.


Training for the Jobs of Today and Tomorrow

Training for the Jobs of Today and Tomorrow

The Pathway to Advanced Manufacturing program, funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development’s Pennsylvania Manufacturing Training to Career Grant, prepares participants for entry-level employment in the advanced manufacturing industry.

Advanced manufacturing invents and creates products we use daily. Program participants gain introductory skills and knowledge in the areas of Computer Numerical Control (CNC), Precision Machining, DC-AC Electricity, Welding Technology, Essential Career Skills, and more. To date, the program has completed one of its two cohorts and served 23 students.


Strengthening Communities Through Small Business Success

Strengthening Communities Through Small Business Success


Launched in 2017, Power Up Your Business is a free, neighborhood-based program to support small business owners in Philadelphia. The initiative provides entrepreneurs and business owners the hands-on tools necessary to build thriving, scalable and replicable businesses that support community wealth creation.

The program’s Peer-based Learning Experience is a 12-week course in small business management and planning, with training from experts and coaching support. The Store Owner Series is a set of workshops on topics like marketing, business compliance and managing a company’s online reputation. The College also teamed up with FINANTA in fall 2019 to launch the first-ever, all-Spanish version the Peer-based Learning Experience with Latinx entrepreneurs.

Power Up is available in neighborhoods around the city, rotating between Main Campus; Northeast, Northwest and West Regional Centers; and a South Philadelphia location throughout the year. Industries represented in the latest cohorts include retail, health care, child care, and food/restaurant.

Strengthening Communities Through Small Business Success Strengthening Communities Through Small Business Success



Strengthening Communities Through Small Business Success Strengthening Communities Through Small Business Success


Strengthening Communities Through Small Business Success



“We have a unique connecti on to the community. Elders who grew up having us as a lone resource for Black literature conti nue to support us, buying things for the next generati on in their families.”


—YVONNE BLAKE, Owner, Hakim’s Bookstore

Yvonne Blake is a 2019 Power Up graduate and the owner of Hakim’s Bookstore, the first and oldest Black bookstore in America.

She has created a digital presence for the store and, based on resources she learned about in Power Up, she is pursuing a grant to make additional physical improvements to the building and create a meeting space upstairs.


Taking Area Businesses to the Next Level

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a program for small businesses in the tri-state region that links learning to action. During their 100 hours in the program, participants gain practical skills in topics such as negotiation, marketing and employee management that can immediately be put into action. In addition, they receive the tools and professional support to develop a strategic and customized growth plan that will take their business to the next level.

The program content was designed by Babson College, and local Goldman Sachs leadership participate in numerous aspects of the program.

Lisa Robinson is the owner of My Independence at HOME, a full-service home care agency. She participated in 10,000 Small Businesses in the 2019-2020 academic year. Here is what she has to say about the program:

“My experience in Cohort 21 was immeasurable! The bonds that were created, in my opinion, were what made the experience so amazing. Being among like-minded, talented entrepreneurs and phenomenal, energetic coaches motivated me to get to every class. I can honestly state that 10,000 Small Businesses was one of the best steps I could have taken as a business owner; it was an honor.”

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses  

Keeping Businesses Competitive

How to Land – and Keep – a Job

In the 2019-2020 academic year, the College launched two new Pre-Apprenticeship programs, funded in part by Gov. Tom Wolf’s PAsmart Initiative: the Career Readiness Soft Skills Pre-Apprenticeship Program and the Industrial Maintenance Technician Pre-Apprenticeship Program.

The Career Readiness Soft Skills Pre-Apprenticeship Program, registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, teaches the critical soft skills needed to find and keep employment. It prepares participants for entry into employment, registered apprenticeship programs, or further education in any field.

The Industrial Maintenance Technician Pre-Apprenticeship Program is scheduled to begin in fall of 2020. It is designed to prepare participants for entry-level employment inmanufacturing careers, and for seamless entry into the Industrial Maintenance Technician Registered Apprenticeship Program or continued education. The program teaches skills in hydraulics, industrial electricity, mechanical components and programmable logic controls.

Participants will receive individualized career counseling and support with resume development, job searching, and interview preparation.

Keeping Businesses Competitive

Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania, or WEDnetPA, is a program created by the Commonwealth and funded by the state Department of Community & Economic Development that provides qualified employers training for new and existing employees in areas like customer service, emotional intelligence, business leadership andcommunications. As a WEDnetPA partner, the College has administered millions of dollars in training grants for Philadelphia area companies.

Corporate Solutions at the College assists qualified companies who apply for WEDnetPA throughout the process from the application to invoicing, and often serves as a training provider for these businesses. Eligible companies include those in the following industries: manufacturing, technology, building and construction, biomedical, health care, energy and more.


“WEDnetPA has given Weber Display & Packaging the ability to provide more training opportunities for our staff, especially those working with our advanced manufacturing equipment. The training has aided with improved retention and engagement among our employees as well as increased productivity. The College has been a wonderful partner guiding us through the process.”


—KELLY HYNES, Human Resources manager, Weber Display & Packaging

Innovative Partnership Leads Students to Front Lines of COVID-19 Research

Thanks to a partnership with the Wistar Institute, College students have the unique opportunity to gain hands-on learning experience in the field of basic and applied biomedical research. The Biomedical Technician Training Program offers students a path toward research technician careers through College courses and laboratory experience at the Wistar Institute or affiliated training site.

A College professor recommended that Yaya Dia, who was taking a microbiology class at the time, apply for the program. He did, and just one year later, Dia, who has since graduated from the College, is working in a lab at the Wistar Institute that is devising strategies to combat COVID-19.

“I would say the advantage of being within this program is that it opens many doors. I certainly enjoy what I'm doing, but for me, this is sort of a transitioning or step. I want to go to a physician assistant school. I want to work in the medical field because I've always had a passion for patients,” said Dia.


Connecting Students to Careers – Virtually

After the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, the Career Connections Department was ready to support both students looking for employment and employers looking for employees. The department connected with students via career development workshops, career-readiness materials and one-on-one appointments to help them create and update their résumés, and learn skills and techniques to successfully interview remotely. The department also engaged with more than 100 employers that posted jobs since March 2020.

In addition, several students were hired in the spring of 2020 to serve as COVID-19 contact tracers in the city. Most of these students worked one-on-one with Career Connections staff to prepare themselves for the recruitment and interview process.




connected with Career Connections in spring 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic


Three Workforce and Economic Innovation team members have completed a registered apprenticeship training program and now are Apprenticeship Navigators.


This first-of its-kind registered statewide apprenticeship training program, funded by the PAsmart Initiative, prepares College staff to work closely with interested employers to develop industry-based apprenticeship programs and facilitate getting the programs registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.