Local Economic Inclusion
A core goal of our Jobs Today-Jobs Tomorrow strategy is leveraging our economic power as a major anchor institution to enable access to jobs and careers that provide family-sustaining wages for jobseekers in West Philadelphia. By being intentional about how we hire, buy, and build, and directing institutional investments locally, we are working to include our neighbors in a shared economy.
Along with its faculty who drive the teaching and research mission, a university has employees of every type from entry level to leadership. At Drexel our employees handle student life, facilities, procurement, management, and more. We prioritize placing local residents in staff positions, and have steadily increased the percentage of our employee base that is made up of West Philadelphia residents.
We run periodic cohort-based on-the-job training programs to support functions inside Drexel where new-employee recruitment is ongoing. And we work with our vendors to emphasize local hiring. We are getting West Philadelphia jobseekers into full time jobs with benefits and career paths – and broadening opportunities for their families as a result.
To further support adult jobseekers in the Promise Zone, we offer a suite of adult education resources at the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships. Residents can finish their high school diploma, boost their digital literacy, get training in common computer software, and use our open computer lab to get online.
Drexel purchases things: lab equipment, lettuce, office supplies and stationery, furniture, printing services, and much more. We spend $xx million on the things we need to keep the university running, and we have worked hard to identify the kinds of goods and services we can purchase locally.
By directing this investment into West Philadelphia whenever we can, it builds the capacity and volume of local businesses, and that means generating jobs.
Some of our campus buildings go back a hundred years, and eventually all of the lab, classroom, and office spaces need renovation. We have established local procurement and local-hire protocols for on-campus construction and renovation projects, making sure our contractors meet expectations for local materials purchases as well as local apprentice and journeyman labor participation.
Drexel's commitment as an engaged anchor institution drives our local economic inclusion strategy.