Category: PYN | Aug 5, 2013
Philadelphia - On Monday, August 5th, more than 500 youth gathered at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the 2013 WorkReady Philadelphia Expo. Serving as the culmination of WorkReady summer programs, young people were able to showcase their work experience and apply the skills they have gained over the past six weeks by completing projects and portfolios. This summer, WorkReady Philadelphia summer programs served over 7,000 youth through Service Learning, Work Experience, and Internship programs.
"This is a very exciting day, and one we look forward to every summer. It is a time for the WorkReady community to celebrate successes, see firsthand the tremendous experience and skills young people have acquired, and truly appreciate the value of summer employment for youth," said Stacy E. Holland, Philadelphia Youth Network's (PYN) President and CEO. PYN serves as the managing partner of WorkReady Philadelphia.
All youth who participated in WorkReady programming prepared projects and/or portfolios that documented mastery of 21st Century skills. The WorkReady Expo kicked off with youth showcasing their work-based learning projects. Judges from area businesses, organizations, and universities evaluated the youths' work, and awards were presented to the top three winners in each of the following categories:
Kayla Gonzales, an intern at the African American Museum in Philadelphia through ASPIRA, Inc. of Pennsylvania, participated in the award ceremony, and reflected on her internship: "Working at the African American Museum has allowed me to learn skills I will use throughout my life and help me with my future career," said Kayla. "I am grateful for this opportunity, as I have truly learned what it means to be successful in the workplace."
In addition to announcing the top three winners in each category, the awards ceremony, hosted by youth participants representing the WorkReady system, underscored the WorkReady summer 2013 theme, Working to Improve Our Community. This theme drives home the message that it takes the collective effort of every member of the WorkReady community -- including the employers 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 and work.
Also during the awards presentation, three interns received the Michael Walker Award for their exemplary leadership and service in both their communities and their WorkReady internships. The award honors the memory of Michael Walker, former director of the Nicetown Boys & Girls Club, as a way to celebrate his contributions to youth programming in Philadelphia.
Thanks to support from public and private-sector investors, WorkReady exceeded original projections for summer 2013. In addition, collective efforts this year have allowed WorkReady to exceed the total number of summer opportunities provided in 2012 (6,800).
Moreover, as a direct result of Mayor Nutter's extensive outreach and commitment to the Summer Jobs Challenge, WorkReady programming experienced the highest business sector investment since it was launched in 2003. A total of over 1,500 employer-paid employment opportunities were created this summer.
Despite such extensive support this summer, there were still close to 10,000 youth who applied for summer jobs but did not work due to lack of available positions. Businesses, organizations and individuals can learn more about WorkReady Philadelphia at www.workreadyphila.org.
About WorkReady Philadelphia
WorkReady Philadelphia is the city's workforce preparation system for youth and young adults, supported by investments from government, local and national philanthropies, and Greater Philadelphia employers. WorkReady is overseen by the Philadelphia Council for College and Career Success, a committee of the Philadelphia Works board, and is managed by the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN). PYN works with over 50 organizations to operate WorkReady programs across the city.