Schools-to-work pipeline

From left: Philadelphia Works’ Johnetta Frazier and Patrick Clancy,; Sheila Ireland, state Department of Labor and Industry; Philadelphia Works’ Tim Smith; state Rep. Jared Solomon; Sharmain Matlock-Turner, Urban Affairs Coalition; Philadelphia Works’ Michael Joynes.

State Rep. Jared Solomon last week presented a ceremonial check commemorating $2.8 million in funding as part of the Schools-to-Work Program.

The money is part of a program that Solomon worked to create through legislation. He credited Rep. Kate Klunk and Sen. Tina Tartaglione for working with him.

The program provides incentives to schools and local businesses to collaborate on work-based learning opportunities, apprenticeships and jobs for high school students during the school year, the summer and after graduation. The hope is that students eventually make a career of what they’ve learned.

The money is used for classroom training, workplace visits, internships, apprenticeships, mentorships, employment opportunities, job shadowing or externships.

Solomon held the event outside the Toben Center, a jobs and education hub at 7222 Castor Ave. (at Wellington Street). He was joined by officials from Philadelphia Works; Sharmain Matlock-Turner, president and CEO of the Urban Affairs Coalition; and Sheila Ireland, deputy secretary of workforce development at the Department of Labor and Industry.

Solomon said he has spoken with Northeast High School principal Omar Crowder and local businesses to find a way for young people to learn the skills necessary to find good jobs.

The Urban Affairs Coalition received $250,000 for a pre-apprenticeship program providing ninth- to 12th-grade students at Mastery Charter Schools the opportunity to gain the skills, knowledge, experience and connections they need for a successful career in the building trades. Matlock-Turner said she hopes the program helps diversify the building trades, adding that some current members are nearing retirement and businesses seem to need workers.

Patrick Clancy, president and CEO of Philadelphia Works, celebrated that the city received about $1.2 million of the $2.8 million allotted, saying it will help his agency’s goals of equity, opportunity and hope.

Other grant recipients in Philadelphia are: Communities in Schools of Philadelphia, an IT program seeking “digital equity;” Community College of Philadelphia, for its Pipeline To Manufacturing Careers program; District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund, which will provide real-world learning to high school students at Vaux Big Picture and el Centro de Estudiantes high schools; and First Builders Inc., for a trades pre-apprenticeship program at Building 21 High School.

In all, 12 organizations across the state received money. ••