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PYN News Article

Thousands of Youth Receive Training for Effective Employment Through WorkReady Philadelphia

Category: PYN | Jun 1, 2003

Philadelphia, PA - For thousands of committed Philadelphia teens, today was a very different kind of Saturday. Instead of sports, shopping or hanging out with friends, 2,200 youth gathered at locations around the City to learn what it takes to get and keep a good job.

On Saturday, June 7, 2003 and on June 14, 2003, more than 4,000 young people will attend local universities and professional training facilities participating in "WorkReady Summits" where they'll gain invaluable skills associated with successful employment. This unprecedented training program is being conducted by the Philadelphia Youth Network as part of WorkReady Philadelphia, a new citywide effort to build enriched employment opportunities for Philadelphia youth.

Pamela Crawley, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at Citizens Bank and Chair of the Philadelphia Youth Council (a committee of the Workforce Investment Board) that developed and is overseeing the WorkReady Philadelphia campaign, helped kick off the session at the downtown Marriott, one of the four training sites across the city. Crawley talked to the young people present about the importance of work experience. "I remember my first summer job and you will remember yours, too. This is a great chance for you to get valuable work experience and to learn about career opportunities," said Crawley. On her enthusiastic support for Summits and the overall WorkReady campaign, Crawley explained: "So often we hear that employers have to interview ten applicants in order to find that one qualified employee. Our WorkReady Summits are designed to give young people a leg-up when they move into the job market, by helping them to understand and master the skills they'll need for successful employment."

Bruce Brobeck, who oversees the Marriott's human resources division was one of the trainers. He addressed the opening session by relating his own story. "I started as a busboy, and now I have 1,000 employees. Every job you have will, in some way, help prepare you for future success."

The primary content of the WorkReady Summits is delivered through three highly interactive and upbeat training modules that help young people grasp key elements necessary for workplace success. Based on reality TV, game shows and other youth-oriented formats, the high-energy sessions focus on resume preparation and interviewing skills, workplace etiquette, appropriate dress, punctuality and the values and rewards of work.

"These modules grew directly from what employers reported to us about their experiences with and expectations of young employees," said Laura Shubilla, President of the Philadelphia Youth Network. "We've designed an approach that we believe will address employers' concerns and position these young people for success."

The response from the participants was universally positive. As one participant, a student at Bartram High School, explained, "I liked how we learned some very important things in a fun way. I learned how to improve my résumé, how to ask myself questions and to prepare for an interview." A classmate echoed the sentiment: "The whole program was fun. Today really made me see why I wanted to work."

Employers, community volunteers and staff from the Philadelphia Youth Network are staffing the summits and presenting the WorkReady Summit modules. The initial training offered through the WorkReady Summits will be augmented by a portfolio-based curriculum that youth will complete over the course of their six-week employment experiences this summer.

All of the young people participating in the WorkReady Summits are slated for summer employment in one of the several components of WorkReady Philadelphia, including work and other field-based activities funded by federal programs, the William Penn Foundation and other members of the Funders' Collaborative, the School District of Philadelphia and private sector employers throughout the City.

Donated training sites for the WorkReady Summits include Delaware Investments, the Philadelphia Marriott Hotel, the Enterprise Center, the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and Community College of Philadelphia's new Center for Business and Industry. Food and snacks are being donated by Wawa and the School District of Philadelphia.

The four-hour morning and afternoon sessions will be held again next Saturday, June 14 to train another 2,000 young people who are gearing up for their WorkReady experiences this summer.

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