topMarch 2016

Letter from our President and CEO, Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend

On behalf of the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), I am delighted to welcome you to the inaugural issue of PYN Quarterly. PYN Quarterly, a quarterly newsletter, will feature short articles about contemporary educational and workforce issues facing young people in Philadelphia today, as well as an insider look into our organization.

We look forward to bringing you fresh, exciting and thought-provoking news with each issue. As a forum to communicate and share best practices, my column will focus on you, our partners. We hope to hear from you, and we welcome your ideas for future issues. I believe that the success of PYN is directly tied to the relationships we build with each of you and we welcome your feedback and would like to know how we can build even stronger partnerships.
While each of you has a unique set of challenges and different goals, there are many things that are common across our organizations. We think sharing and learning across industry can provide valuable insight. In the coming editions, I hope to provide you with a new perspective or idea in each of my columns.
I look forward to connecting with each of you further as we continue our journey towards improving the lives of Philadelphia's most vulnerable population, our youth.
Until next time, happy reading!
news News
2016 WorkReady Summer jobs program launches in Philadelphia
In a press conference Monday, March 7, Mayor James Kenney and other city officials, businesses and philanthropies charged organizations from around Philadelphia to unite in a citywide effort to increase youth employment in Philadelphia. 

"Summer jobs are important because they make connections with people, with adults who can change the course of a  child's life," said the Mayor.

Even if you were unable to attend, we hope you will consider changing the course of young persons life by pledging your commitments online

Host youth in your place of work for six weeks from July 5 to August 12, the duration of the summer program. 
Financially support summer work experiences. The cost to support a six week experience is $1,800 per experience.
Connect us with new partners who are not already invested in WorkReady Philadelphia. New businesses partnerships can be introduced via email to Executive Vice President,  Stephanie Gambone .
There are several ways that employers and investors can support WorkReady.

Please share and utitlize the messaging on and continue spreading the message on social media!
Philadelphia Youth Network President and CEO honored as White House Champion of Change
On Friday, February 26, Philadelphia Youth Network President and CEO, Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend was honored by the White House as one of nine Champions of Change selected across the United States, observing PYN's work towards youth summer opportunities on behalf of WorkReady Philadelphia.   
New Casey Foundation investment in Philadelphia aims to improve job prospects for young adults
Nearly $1 Million to be awarded over four years to strengthen the Next Generation of Workers and Meet Employer Demand
The Annie E. Casey Foundation announced today that it will award $6 million in grants over the next four years to increase job opportunities for America's young adults in five cities, enabling them to begin building careers and develop the skills employers need. Nearly $1 million will be invested in Philadelphia through a new, nimble, initiative called Generation Work.

Generation Work will bring the best efforts of employers, funders, policymakers and practitioners together to match training and education with the skills needed in the workplace. This project leverages the collective expertise of four nationally-recognized core partners in Philadelphia -- the Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN), Philadelphia Youth Network, YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, and District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund - and connects Philadelphia to a national learning community for four years of investment by the Casey Foundation in building the infrastructure needed to get more young adults working.
industry Industry Highlights
Connecting young adults to employment: Results from a national survey of service providers (January 2016)

PYN President and CEO, Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend contributed to a recent report released in January on behalf of the Workforce Strategies Initiative at the Aspen Institute. This report documents the results of a survey in which hundreds of service providers nationwide described their experiences serving young adults.
2015 TEDxPhiladelphia talks
PYN loves to share the great work happening in the city, and last summers' TedXPhiladelphia is definitely something to share! Check out these 14 thought-provoking TexXPhiladelphia talks along with musical performances.
Advancing career pathways for kids
For several years, our states have taken the lead in transforming K-12 education to ensure every child graduates from high school prepared for college and careers. We are making progress, raising expectations for all kids and transitioning to new tests to measure students against these expectations. 

Yet, we cannot lose sight of how important career readiness is for all kids - whether or not a student plans to go to a four-year college.
Seven ways to cultivate students' problem-solving skills
Parents, teachers and other adults have developed a lot of skills and knowledge that can make it easy for us to solve problems. We've seen the situation before, and the solution may seem obvious to us, but young people are likely encountering the challenge for the first time.
Time to lower jobless, poverty rates among youths
While the recent news that our national unemployment rate has fallen to around 5 percent is cause for optimism, a troubling trend should not be overlooked: the persistently high youth unemployment rate.
College could be more accessible now according to federal government updates
The federal government has made two significant announcements within the last year which aim to make college more accessible, particularly for low income students: a new College Scorecard and changes to the FAFSA.
The new College Scorecard gives users access to federal data on tuition, student debt, graduation, and employment of students at more than 7,000 institution of higher education in the U.S. Prospective students and families can compare schools to see which offers the most " bang for your educational buck ."
Rather than providing rankings, the new scorecard makes information about schools more transparent and accessible. The increased transparency is intended to help students, especially low-income students, make informed decisions about where to attend school and which program to enroll in.
Changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will give prospective students more information about the aid they qualify for and provide low-income students greater access to federal grants and loans. According to the White House, approximately two million students who are enrolled in college and would be eligible for a Pell Grant never applied for aid; there are likely many more who never enrolled in college because they weren't aware of the financial aid available to them. The new FAFSA will be simpler and allow students to receive eligibility information much earlier in the college application process than previously available.
These changes are important for increasing access to post-secondary opportunities for low-income students, an important goal and one on which PYN has increased its focused recently.
GED score enhancement resources taking effect in Pennsylvania
GED Testing Service has recommended a recalibration of the GED® test passing score and the addition of two new performance levels. These enhancements have now been applied in most states and were made after extensive analysis of test-takers' performance data from the past 18 months. More information regarding these updates can be found online.
Highlights include:
  • The passing score for high school equivalency has moved from 150 to 145, for all test subjects.*
  • The new "GED® College Ready" performance level (score of 165-174) signifies readiness to enter credit-bearing college courses.
  • The new "GED® College Ready + Credit" level (score of 175-200) signifies that a student qualifies for up to 10 hours of college credit.
  • The GED® test continues to measure the problem solving and critical thinking skills valued by employers and necessary for adults to succeed in the workplace and career or college programs.
  • In most states, test-takers who scored between 145-149 on the GED® test prior to the new passing score calibration, will now be eligible for their state's GED® credential.*
*A few states are still evaluating the recommendations, or are working with policymakers to change state rules where applicable. These states require more time for consideration of approval, planning and implementation. Updates will continue to be added to this page as approvals and timelines for those states are determined.
campaign Campaign Work
WorkReady Philadelphia publications

WorkReady Philadelphia has released a 2014-2015 status report. Learn about the reality of youth employment and impacts of the program.

Project U-Turn publications
The Project U-Turn collaborative has released a Project U-Turn status report . Learn about the 2015 highlights of the Collaborative and how PUT puts research into action.
Project U-Turn-sponsored research has been informing the work of Project U-Turn since its launch in 2006. The reports below, published in 2015, can be read in full at .

spotlights Spotlights
PYN appoints new Chair and Vice Chair to Board of Directors
PYN has recently appointed two board members, Jeffrey Brown (former Vice Chair) as the Board Char and Stephanie Wall (former board member) as Vice Chair.
Learn more about Brown and Wall by visiting PYN News  online. For a complete list of PYN board members, visit the leadership page of PYN's website.
Youth spotlight: Post-secondary bridging pilot
Article contributed by Jordan Crowe, College Success Coach
The below article was contributed on behalf of two young people who are accelerating in the Post-secondary bridging pilot, which launched earlier this spring. To learn more about this pilot, visit PYN News.
Throughout the course of this program, Siaoni and Nicole from E3 Center - JEVS have been the ideal representatives of the post-secondary bridging pilot. Both young women have truly excelled in their college prep courses over the past three months. For example, they both completed all of their assignments with flying colors and they finished with over 93% attendance.
Moreover, Nicole and Siaoni, came into the program with high expectations for themselves and they let nothing stand in their way from achieving their goals. Every day both young women came to class with a unique fervor for learning and tremendous work ethics. Though both students had some very significant life barriers, they showed great perseverance and resiliency to overcome those obstacles.
As close friends, they were able to support each other and challenge one another to not give up on their goals when things got tough. As a result of their completion of the prep portion of the program, Siaoni and Nicole were enrolled in an English class at the Community College of Philadelphia. The two of them have been tremendous students and they epitomize the incredible potential that young people have when given the right opportunities. As they begin their first steps into their post-secondary journey, they are excited to begin fulfilling their dreams of attending college and we look forward to seeing what they will accomplish in the future.