Partner Spotlight: Temple’s Center for Community Partnerships Brings Meaningful Workforce Opportunities To Youths in North Philadelphia

By: Olivia Lamborn

The Temple University Center for Community Partnerships (TUCCP) is an organization dedicated to seeking out workforce development and employment opportunities for adults and  youth ages 17-24. Their youth programs are meant to help out those who have a high school diploma or GED equivalent but are disconnected from school or work. TUCCP’s programs collaborate with many community-based organizations in the North Philadelphia community. They help to provide training in fields such as customer service, employment resources, and technical support for residents. By enhancing youths’ foundational skills in the workforce, TUCCP helps to enrich people’s lives on both an individual and community level.

TUCCP offers support to youths through many programs that accept individuals with varying levels of education and experience. Some of these programs include the Youth Employment Project (YEP) and Employment Connections for Opportunity Youth (ECOY). The Youth Employment Project and Employment Connections for Opportunity Youth both focus on preparation for the workforce through various support services. This includes connecting young adults to paid internship opportunities, job readiness training, and gaining work certificates. For YEP, young adults must be 17-24 years old who have obtained their high school equivalency or diploma.  For ECOY, young adults must be foster care youth 17-24 years old who have or are aging out of care. They can be current high school seniors, seeking GED attainment, or have obtained their diploma/GED.

The Center for Community Partnership also has a third program called Work Ready. Work Ready does not have specific requirements like YEP and ECOY, as it works directly with youths 14-18 years old who may have limited experience or education. Work Ready is a summer program funded by the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) that provides employment opportunities for young people to explore career interests and give back to their community before finishing high school.

Joel Culbreath, the Program Coordinator for ECOY, is dedicated to ensuring that all program participants find workforce success in the long term. “We reference the Sixers hashtag #TrustTheProcess to help young people buy into programming and develop goals, which look different for everyone,” he says. “Our program is another support system to help young people become their best self and share the lessons learned with their peers, family, and community.” The program teaches youths that success is something that takes time and effort to achieve. Culbreath says that the sense of accomplishment that participants feel after completing the program is always something to be celebrated amongst friends and family.

The work that TUCCP has done in tandem with LNPWI has been a great way to inform businesses, local organizations, and Philadelphia residents about the progress being made in their community. By bringing more of their work into the public eye, it is hoped that the number of people recruited into programs like YEP and ECOY will increase over the next year or so. TUCCP plans to continue bringing more workforce opportunities to young individuals wherever possible. This will create new pathways for individuals to enhance their skills and to meaningfully contribute to the workforce in the North Philadelphia community in the near future.

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