We believe that anchor institutions can serve as models for how collaboration can be a powerful and necessary ingredient in addressing seemingly intractable economic challenges. The workforce development programs at the Beachell Family Learning Center respond to the Economic Inclusion Initiative that encourages Drexel and its neighbors to connect family-sustaining employment and training opportunities to local residents. These programs advance the cradle-to-career strategy of the Office of University and Community Partnerships in that they connect local caregivers of children in the West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood to robust 21st century economic opportunity.
The Beachell Center’s workforce efforts have consistently included programming to support entry-level candidates in foundational skill employment. We also recognize that it is important that Drexel provide community career seekers with access to managerial level employment and upskilling opportunities to disrupt local poverty. In 2018, Drexel University and the University City Science Center received a three-year grant from the University City District through the Lenfest Foundation to support access to local career opportunities for residents of West Philadelphia communities. Below are the highlights of our past workforce training programs that recruited and trained Philadelphia residents:
- Community Health Worker Peer Academy is operated by Drexel’s Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice. A combination of traditional Community Health Workers and credentialed Certified Peer Specialists, the CHWPs are trained to work with both individuals and the broader community to promote healing from trauma due to intentional interpersonal injury and violence. To learn more about the training Academy, click here.
- The Child Development Associate Credential™ (CDA) is the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education and is the first major steppingstone on the path of professional development and career advancement for teachers throughout the United States. This training program is a collaboration with Drexel's Action for Early Learning initiative that is committed to improving kindergarten readiness in West Philadelphia and is operated by the District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund.
- University City Science Center recruited for its inaugural BULB program through the Beachell Center career workshop program. Building an Understanding of Lab Basics (BULB) is a free, two-week, virtual lab skills training program for community members. The Beachell Center increased BULB applications threefold and successfully placed 25% of its career workshop participants in the Science Center program. To learn more about the BULB program, click here.
- Beachell staff offered a Microsoft Office Specialist and Salesforce Administrator credentialing training program for incumbent workers. These basic technology credentials are the starting point of technology careers and other administrative and managerial opportunities. To learn more about MOS-Salesforce program, click here.
- JEVS Human Services offered a COMPTIA training program, which braided the Beachell Center’s workforce development and digital inclusion strategies. Community members received donated computers and were trained to provide digital literacy skills to their neighbors. To learn more about the program, click here.
- The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative developed a 20-person cohort in partnership with Drexel’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and American Medical Response (AMR), a local employer. Through the career workshop program, Drexel sourced 15% of WPSI’s inaugural EMS-AMR class from West Philadelphian neighborhoods.
The Lenfest Foundation’s investment allowed Drexel’s Beachell Family Learning Center to deepen its programs and services with respect to a multi-generational approach to economic opportunity through career education, creating jobs today and ensuring access to jobs tomorrow. Through their generous contribution, the Beachell Family Learning Center leveraged grant dollars to serve 1,629 community members, provide 522 industry-recognized credentials, and connect 115 job seekers to employment.
To learn more about Drexel’s Hire Local Strategy click here.