Looking Closer: The Strengths, Challenges, and Opportunities for North Philadelphia

LNPWI highlights Economy League’s in-depth look into the economic landscape of North Philadelphia for job seekers, employers, and workforce development providers.

Image Courtesy of Temple University
By Claire Pope

This past spring, the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia shared the results of its research on the state of North Philadelphia’s economy so far. These early results were informed by the demographic findings of Philadelphia Works Inc., community stakeholder feedback from Table Talks, and feedback from employers, service providers, and community organizations.

The Economy League completed this research as part of LNPWI’s effort to better understand the employment needs of North Philadelphia. The findings of this research effort are being used to guide future workforce development strategies.

Despite a lot of barriers to securing employment, the Economy’s League’s study has found many incredible strengths in the North Philadelphia community. First, North Philadelphia is a relatively young population. This means that  workforce development programs have the potential to have a long-term impact on the community. Second, North Philadelphia is home to strong anchor institutions including Temple University, Einstein Medical Center, and faith-based organizations. These organizations are important because of their extensive resources, and their ability to connect residents to information and opportunities. Third, North Philadelphia is rich in history and diversity that give its neighborhoods and residents unique character and insight, that can be a valuable asset in the workplace. Finally, North Philadelphia is made up of a network of deeply engaged residents and organizations who offer a lot of resources and services to advance employment opportunities.

To take advantage of these strengths and overcome obstacles to employment, the Economy League identified 5 building blocks for a healthy employment environment:

Illustration Courtesy of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia
  1. Sharing Resources
  2. Career Advancement
  3. Employer Engagement
  4. Low Barriers
  5. Community Engagement

To create these conditions in Philadelphia, employers, service providers, and community organizations will need to make some major changes. These include improved communication between stakeholders, bridging the gap between current educational requirements for jobs and the educational attainment of North Philadelphians, increased opportunities for upward advancement in the workplace, higher levels of employer engagement in workforce development efforts, and strategies to address factors that lead to unemployment and low job retention.

LNPWI will follow four recommendations given by Economy League to lift the community into job opportunities—foster connections and collaboration in the workforce development ecosystem, support and elevate human resources practices, support data-informed workforce development programming and training, and expand access to supportive services.  By following these recommendations, LNPWI believes a holistic approach will be delivered to North Philadelphians who are in search of rewarding and sustainable careers.

To view the full findings, download the presentation here.

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