News Article

PYN News Article

WorkReady Summer Expo showcases the talent and skills of local youth

Over 400 young people gathered at the PA Convention Center to share how their work experiences impacted their summer and their lives

Category: WorkReady | Aug 9, 2012

Philadelphia – On Thursday August 9, more than 400 youth gathered at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the WorkReady Summer Expo 2012, marking the successes of the young people who participated in high-quality, academically-enriched work and service experiences over the past six weeks. This summer, WorkReady Philadelphia Summer programs served over 5,800 youth through Service Learning, Work Experience and Internship programs.

"This is an exciting day. The Expo is the culminating event of the WorkReady Philadelphia six-week summer programs. Young people have been working on projects that allow them to apply the skills they've gained through their work experience. Today is not only their opportunity to compete; it’s also an opportunity for the stakeholders in the community to see the good work our young people are doing and the value of summer jobs for youth,” said Stacy E. Holland, Philadelphia Youth Network’s President and CEO. WorkReady is managed by Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) on behalf of the Philadelphia Council for College and Career Success, a committee of Philadelphia Works, Inc.

The Expo began with youth showcasing their work-based learning projects and portfolios. All youth participating in WorkReady programming prepare projects or portfolios that document mastery of 21st Century skills. Each project and portfolio presented was specially selected to be exhibited at the Expo to compete in one of eight categories:

  • 21st Century High-Tech Careers and Career Exploration
  • The Arts, Culture & the Beautification of Our Communities
  • Business and Entrepreneurship in the Global Economy
  • Civic Engagement and Social Action
  • Education and Mentoring
  • Health & Wellness
  • Internship Portfolios
  • Saving the Environment/Going Green

Judges from area businesses, organizations, and universities will evaluate the projects and portfolios, and awards were presented to the top three winners in each category at the awards presentation that immediately followed the project and portfolio competition.

Vernon Holt, an intern at Legacy Youth Tennis and Education through Valley Youth House, presented his portfolio at the event. He appreciates that his internship exposed him to a real work environment. “My summer job gave me life skills and work skills that I’ll be able to use for the rest of my life.”

In addition to announcing the top three winners in each category, the awards ceremony, hosted by PYN’s Youth Ambassadors, underscored the WorkReady Summer 2012 theme, Working to Improve Our Community, driving home the message that it takes the collective effort of every element of the WorkReady community – including the employers and foundations that support the programs, the organizations that operate programs, and youth – to prepare young people for future success and to make Philadelphia a better place to live.

Also during the awards presentation, two dozen students were given the Michael J. Walker Award for their outstanding individual accomplishments in their WorkReady summer internships. The award honors the memory of Michael J. Walker, former director of the Nicetown Boys & Girls Club.

Thanks to support from employers, foundations, and government agencies, WorkReady exceeded initial estimates that only 4,800 youth would work this summer. Employers have hired or sponsored over 1,100 youth this summer. There have also been major contributions to WorkReady summer jobs from a number of foundations, including donations from GlaxoSmithKline, The Philadelphia Foundation, Walmart Foundation, and long-time supporter, the William Penn Foundation.

Despite such support, there were still close to 14,000 youth who applied for a summer
job, but did not work because there were not enough positions available. The Save Summer Jobs campaign was launched in March in response to the crisis in summer employment opportunities for youth. Businesses, organizations and individuals can find out ways to help at


About WorkReady Philadelphia.

WorkReady Philadelphia is the city’s workforce preparation system for youth and young adults, supported by investments from government, area philanthropies and Greater Philadelphia employers. WorkReady is overseen by the Philadelphia Council for College and Career Success, a subcommittee of Philadelphia Works, Inc., and is managed by the PhiladelphiaYouth Network (PYN). PYN works with over 50 organizations to operate WorkReady programs across the city.

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