Chamber announces plan to retrain workers displaced by COVID

The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia has announced it is partnering with Accenture, Graduate! Philadelphia, and Philadelphia Works, Inc. to retrain and deploy workers displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn, particularly Black and brown citizens as well as those whose jobs are at risk of automation.

The effort is part of the Chamber’s Recharge & Recover PHL (RechargePHL) initiative, and aligns with implementation and action toward the longer-term aspiration for Philadelphia to be a new national model to learn, apprentice, and work in the jobs of the future.

Over the next two years, the Philadelphia Skills Forward Initiative will train over 5,000 individuals offering three learning tracks to provide focused-training in the areas with the most opportunity for employment in our region. The platform will also provide options for overall skill development. These tracks include:

  • Entrepreneurship with a focus on learning how to start your own business.
  • Health Tech and Administration seeking to train specialists in the fields of Medical Records, Billing and Coding, Clerking, and Care Management.
  • Information Technology to train our region’s next wave of Network & Computer Systems Administrators, IT Support Specialists, and Customer Support/Help Desk personnel.

“When the Chamber launched the Philadelphia Regional Recharge and Recovery Taskforce this summer, the group of leaders from our business and civic communities agreed that we must approach our short- and long-term plans for economic recovery with equity as a shared focus,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “As one of the key steps toward an inclusive recovery, RechargePHL identified the need to reskill workers for in-demand jobs and have employers diversify their talent pipelines. The City is proud to join the partners involved with this new initiative, who have come together to provide training for and help place thousands of individuals with Philadelphia area companies. With too many Philadelphians still unemployed, it is critical that we do all we can to get our residents back to work.”

RechargePHL identified the need to reskill workers for these in-demand roles and have employers commit to a skills-based hiring pledge across industries to diversify talent pipelines in our business community and get our citizens back to work.

“In order for Philadelphia to meet its potential as a great, global city, it’s absolutely essential that we close the deep economic and racial divide that has long impeded access to quality education and training, good jobs and meaningful opportunities,” said Susan Jacobson, chair of the Chamber Board. “The disproportionate impact of the pandemic has only deepened that divide for so many Black and brown Philadelphians, with devastating consequences. This initiative – as part of Recharge and Recover PHL – is a relentless collective commitment by business, government, education and civic sectors to deliver solutions to build a representative workforce of the future.”

Specifically, the work will be made possible through the coordination of partner organizations, each bringing key tools and stakeholder communities to the project:

  • Local Workers: Graduate! Philadelphia and Philadelphia Works, Inc. will generate a pipeline of unemployed and underemployed job seekers to be supported and trained by this initiative during their employment search.
  • Training Platform: Accenture has created the Skills 2 Succeed Learning Exchange (LX) platform to train these job seekers for high-demand roles in growth industries and provide access to 100+ foundational, jobseeker, and industry-specific courses.
  • Regional Businesses: The Chamber is identifying regional businesses in growth industries that can support the training, mentorship, and eventual employment of these job seekers.

“Based on our investments in inclusive future of work, we know our metro has been significantly impacted by automation and the pandemic, with consequences felt disproportionately by communities of diverse backgrounds,” says Nicole Tranchitella, Office Managing Director – Philadelphia Metro, Accenture.

“I am honored to be one of the co-chairs leading the Chamber’s Recharge & Recovery Taskforce Talent Subcommittee along with fellow chamber members PECO’s Mike Innocenzo and Citizen Bank’s Dan Fitzpatrick. Through our partnerships with Graduate! Philadelphia and Philadelphia Works, Inc., we are sharing Accenture’s nationally recognized new skilling and apprenticeship capabilities to enable people across the Philadelphia region to secure successful careers. By collaborating with Chamber leadership and the regional ecosystem on these critical issues, I know we can galvanize the business community as a force for change.”

President and CEO of Graduate! Philadelphia, Malik R. Brown said, “Over the past 15 years, Graduate! Philadelphia has helped adult learners complete a postsecondary credential.  With the rapid acceleration of automation and a changing economic landscape, an integrated set of education and workforce offerings is needed to build occupational resiliency and mobility for the most vulnerable in our society.  We’re excited to partner with Accenture, Philadelphia Works, Inc., and the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia to provide learners with the skills that they need to succeed at work and in the classroom of life itself.”

“The clearest path to economic recovery for our residents is access to quality training that connects directly to jobs that pay a life-sustaining wage,” said H. Patrick Clancy, president and CEO of Philadelphia Works, Inc., the City’s workforce development board. “This organizational partnership is powerful and is strategically working to ensure that our City’s residents have access to the resources they need to not only be ready for job opportunities now, but also to compete for the jobs of the future.”

Business and Civic Organizations Participating in the initiative include:

    Allen & Gerritsen
    AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies
    ArcWeb Technologies
    Bank of America
    Beech Companies
    Ben Franklin Technology Partners of SE PA
    Bittenbender Construction, LP
    Blank Rome LLP
    Bradley & Bradley Associates, Inc.
    Cabaletta Bio
    Cancer Treatment Centers of America
    The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia
    Cigna Corporation
    Citizens Bank
    Day & Zimmermann
    Delta Phi Epsilon International HQ
    Diversified Search
    Drexel University
    Essential Utilities
    Fulton Bank, NA
    Girl Scouts of Eastern PA
    Harrisburg University of Science & Technology
    Holt Logistics Corp
    Independence Blue Cross
    Jacobson Strategic Communication
    The Leaders Edge
    Life Sciences Pennsylvania
    Live Nation
    Live! Casino
    Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Main Line Health
    Morgan Lewis Bockius LLP
    Morgan Properties
    Ocean First Bank
    PECO, An Exelon Company
    Penn Medicine
    Philadelphia Horticultural Society
    Philadelphia Magazine
    Philly SHRM
    Saul Ewing
    Sterling Drive Ventures
    Tactile Group
    TD Bank
    Temple University
    Temple University Health System
    Thomas Jefferson University Jefferson Health
    UGI Corporation
    University City Science Center
    University of Pennsylvania
    University of the Arts
    Vault Communications
    Visit Philadelphia
    vybe urgent care
    Widener University
    WSFS Bank
    Yards Brewing Company

Skills-based hiring is a key strategy of the Recharge & Recover PHL initiative. Join regional leaders as we prioritize regional health and safety, create opportunities for displaced workers, and bolster support for Black, brown, and local businesses in a shared effort to stabilize, energize, and prepare Greater Philadelphia for a durable recovery