Finishing Trades Institute Holds Apprenticeship Open House For National Apprenticeship Week

PHILADELPHIA – The Finishing Trades Institute of the Mid-Atlantic Region (FTI) kicked off 2016’s National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) by hosting an “Apprenticeship Open House” on Monday November 14, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at its facility in Northeast Philadelphia.  The event featured live demonstrations by apprentices working in the construction finishing trades. Educators, employers and registered apprentices also answered students’ questions on how to apply and succeed in an apprenticeship at FTI.

FTI offers young people with Apprenticeships or “earn  and learn” opportunities that lead to family sustaining careers in drywall finishing, glazing and glass working, commercial painting, bridge painting and wall covering industries.  FTI is a partner in the Vocational Intern Partnership (VIP) Program: a partnership with the School District of Philadelphia that serves as a pathway for Career and Technical Education (CTE) students into union apprenticeships.  The program is a pre-apprenticeship program that prepares these students with the technical and professional skills necessary to enter and successfully complete a union apprenticeship in these fields.

News Clips



Philadelphia Works Opens North Philadelphia Integrated PA CareerLink® Center

Philadelphia – On Monday, June 21st, Philadelphia Works, the city’s workforce development board, joined with the Rev. Luis Cortes, Jr., as well as elected officials, representatives from the PA Department of Labor & Industry and Department of Human Services to celebrate the opening of the new integrated PA CareerLink® Center located at 4261 North 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140.  This new center in North Philadelphia is third of four integrated PA CareerLink® centers now operating in convenient locations across the city under the “No Wrong Door” model of workforce service delivery. Under the new “No Wrong Door” model, the EARN program, a service previously for only Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients, is now integrated into the PA CareerLink® center.  The new model ensures ‘one-stop shopping’ meaning no matter how a job seeker or employer enters the system – through a center, on-line or through a community-based organization – there will be “no wrong door” and they will be able to receive the same types of services.


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ABC Action News 



PHILADELPHIA- On Thursday, June 16, Philadelphia Works, the City’s Workforce Development Board, in collaboration with The Workplace, celebrated the graduation of 25 participants in the inaugural class for the “Platform to Employment” (P2E) program. P2E is an innovative job training program for residents of Philadelphia who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer.

Graduates of the program completed the five-week long “bootcamp” training program which began May 11th.  At the event, they shared their personal stories of unemployment, as well as their current job prospects and what they have learned from the program.

P2E, which began in Southwest Connecticut in 2011, combines a five-week job readiness training course with personal and family support services and financial counseling, all at no cost to the participant. P2E historically has placed nearly eighty percent of its participants into work experience programs with local employers, with ninety percent of these participants subsequently moving on to full-time employment upon completion of the program.

Of the 25 participants, three were unable to attend the graduation as they are currently employed.

Philadelphia Tribune



Platform to Employment is currently recruiting for the next cohort. For more information on Platform to Employment and to apply online, visit:

Philadelphia Works CEO Mark Edwards Discusses Importance of Industry Parterships

The following opinion piece was featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer and written by Philadelphia Works CEO, Mark Edwards along with Frank Cettina and Victoria R. Myers, who are both Co-Chairs of the Southeastern Regional Workforce Development Partnership.  These thought leaders discuss the integral role Industry Partnerships play in Pennsylvania’s economy and call on the General Assembly to strengthen Pennsylvania’s IP strategy through adequate funding.

Here is the full article:

Fill the gaps in workforce

By Mark Edwards,Frank Cettina,

and Victoria R. Myers

Education funding is one of the most important issues affecting the long-term growth of our city. But the focus on paying for K-12 bypasses another pressing need in Philadelphia: providing 21st-century training and skills to the young adults who have been failed by our education system.

Philadelphia Works’ analysis shows that young adults ages 16 to 19 in the city have an unemployment rate nearly 30 percentage points higher than similar age groups statewide.

While we have seen tremendous growth in postsecondary education in our region, this does nothing to address what is known as the “middle skills” gap. Middle-skill jobs, which require education beyond high school but not a four-year degree, account for 55 percent of Pennsylvania employment. But only 44 percent of the state’s workers are trained to the middle-skill level.

Median wages for such jobs in the manufacturing sector range from $19 to $30 per hour. Right now, industries with well-paying jobs in our state are unable to find enough sufficiently trained workers to fill these openings.

An avenue exists to address this issue: In 2007, Philadelphia Works formed the Southeastern Regional Workforce Development Partnership, a collaborative effort that brings together private-sector employers to provide certification-based training for workers to increase employer productivity and create new entry-level job opportunities. The project is part of the statewide Industry Partnerships (IP) program, a model for other states that has provided guidance and funding for more than 100,000 training participants since 2005.

IPs grow regional economies, boost the bottom lines of businesses, and help workers take their careers to the next level or find better jobs within their industries. Legislators recognized IPs’ high return on investment in 2011, when they voted unanimously to approve the program.

The results have been impressive. Participating businesses report that networking and training through IPs helped them significantly increase their productivity. IPs also give our career and technical educators, community colleges, and other trainers real intelligence on industry needs.

Here in Philadelphia, we have seen the Workforce Development Partnership grow from an initial cohort of nine employers in 2007 to more than 50 today, including major companies in the manufacturing, rotorcraft, logistics, and transportation industries. The partnership focuses on creating pipelines to employment, having conducted more than 2,300 training classes in partnership with member employers.

Nearly 70 percent of participants in these training programs received an industry-recognized certificate or credential, 40 percent received wage increases, and 13 percent were promoted. We have seen IPs deliver results firsthand, and we want more businesses and workers in our state to do the same.

One of our partner members, PTR Baler & Compactor, was honored recently with the Annie E. Casey Young Adult Employer Champion Award by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions for its work in recruiting, hiring, and retaining young adults. PTR Baler’s unique training program and approach to hiring are a direct result of the company’s work with the Workforce Development Partnership.

Unfortunately, state funding for IPs has slipped to nearly $1 million in recent years, and we are in very real danger of losing many of the gains that have been made. Fewer businesses are being trained through IPs and – even more important – less networking, peer learning, and coordination are taking place to improve our overall training and career system.

We cannot let this successful economic development strategy wither on the vine. That’s why it’s important to make lawmakers understand that adequate funding for IPs is a vital step to building them into a critical competitive advantage for the state.

The current session of the General Assembly presents a real opportunity to turn things around. Our representatives in Harrisburg should do everything they can to strengthen Pennsylvania’s IP strategy during the annual budget and appropriations process. We urge lawmakers to support this smart, high-return investment in public-private cooperation. Doing so would be good for the state’s economy, benefiting workers and businesses alike.

Mark Edwards is the president and CEO of Philadelphia Works.

Frank Cettina is the vice president of operations at Computer Components Corp. and a cochair of the Southeastern Regional Workforce Development Partnership. Victoria R. Myers is the director of administration at Piasecki Aircraft Corp. and a cochair of the Workforce Development Partnership.


Philadelphia Works CEO Mark Edwards Interviewed on PHL17 InFocus

PHILADELPHIA (June 1, 2015)– This past weekend, Philadelphia Works President and CEO, Mark Edwards, along with Jay Spector, CEO of JEVS Human Services, appeared on the PHL17 public affairs program, InFocus, with Steve Highsmith.  Edwards and Spector discussed the current state of the job market in Philadelphia, needs of employers and job seekers, as well as the new programs offered to job seekers and employers under the new “No Wrong Door” service delivery model.  The complete interview can be watched below: