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Local and national investors applauded at the Breakfast of WorkReady Champions

Category: WorkReady | Oct 17, 2012

Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Wonderling, and other key leaders acknowledge the support of hundreds of investors, making it possible for more than 8,000 Philadelphia youth to prepare to be the workforce of tomorrow

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Philadelphia - Today, Mayor Michael A. Nutter congratulated more than 200 investors who supported summer and year-round, educationally-enriched work experiences for Philadelphia's young people through WorkReady Philadelphia, the city's system for youth workforce preparation.  The combined efforts of the private, public and non-profit sectors yielded high-quality workplace experiences for over 8,000 young people this past year.


"Despite the continuing impact of the Great Recession, our employer and foundation investors honored here today were responsible for providing thousands of paid summer and year-round opportunities for our city's young people during the past year. On behalf of the youth who benefited from your support, I thank you for your commitment to cultivating Philadelphia's home-grown, 21st century workforce," Mayor Nutter remarked.


Tracee Hunt, Board Member of Philadelphia Works, Inc. and former Chair of the Philadelphia Council for College and Career Success (the Council) - which oversees WorkReady Philadelphia efforts - welcomed attendees and underscored the importance of investor support to the success of WorkReady. "Over the past decade, it's been my privilege to work towards building and sustaining a system that provides high-quality career preparation for youth in Philadelphia. Today, with strong support from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce as well as from a group of deeply committed regional and national philanthropies, WorkReady has grown into an invaluable resource that provides life-changing opportunities for thousands of our young people each year." Ms. Hunt is also Chief Human Resource Officer at Bancroft Neurohealth.  


The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) has worked closely with the Council to encourage employers to support experiences for youth through WorkReady. GPCC President and CEO, Rob Wonderling, acknowledged the success of this important partnership. "This year marks the sixth year in which the Chamber has worked hand-in-hand with the Council to promote employer participation in WorkReady Philadelphia. I'm proud to report that, over the last six years, Philadelphia area employers have supported paid internships for more than 6,700 young residents of the city and region."


Kathy Wiggins, Assistant Executive Director of Education and the Workforce at the United States Conference of Mayors spoke from a national perspective about the importance of employer support for youth employment. 


The WorkReady system also benefitted from major contributions from local and national foundations, most notably The Philadelphia Foundation - through both the Fund for Children and the GlaxoSmithKline Inspiring Youth Endowment Fund, the Walmart Foundation, and long-time supporter, the William Penn Foundation.


WorkReady Philadelphia participants were on-hand, presenting awards and sharing how their experiences have positively impacted them personally and professionally. Master of Ceremonies, Samuella Takyi-Buachie, explained that what she received was much more valuable than the paycheck she earned. "Yes, I received money, but more importantly, I have built a professional network of people that I know will be there for me every step of the way." She plans to start her own non-profit business.


Dara Thach, an aspiring biology laboratory technician, interned at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). He expressed how his internship has influenced his work ethic. "CTCA gave me two thrilling years of knowledge that demanded perseverance and tested my ambition. I walked out of there this year a changed person. What CTCA gave me was motivation to strive for my goals, even when the odds were against me."


The following awards were presented at the event:


The Catalyst Award - Investors who support WorkReady at $250,000 or more

The Philadelphia Foundation - Fund for Children

The Philadelphia Foundation - GlaxoSmithKline Inspiring Youth Endowment Fund

Walmart Foundation

William Penn Foundation 


The Fostering Continuity Award - Investors who support 25-200 internships

Bank of America

Citizens Bank Foundation

City of Philadelphia


Independence Blue Cross

TD Bank

United States Army Corps of Engineers - Philadelphia District

United States Environmental Protection Agency

United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey

University of Pennsylvania


The Boost Award - Investors who increased their commitment by 5+

AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies

Bank of America

Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals

University of Pennsylvania 


WorkReady Spotlight - Programs and Individuals that have made unique contributions to advancing opportunities for our young people through WorkReady

Program: Penn Medicine High School Pipeline Program

Individual: John Clayton, Independence Blue Cross

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