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Ken Kolodziej, the Owner of KJK Associates, Speaks at JOIN's SIF Launch

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Uploaded on Dec 23, 2010

On December 22, 2010, the Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN) and Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced Philadelphia's selection as a recipient of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). The two-year, combined $2.4 million SIF project will target unemployed and disadvantaged workers through innovative workforce training programs executed in collaboration with employers. JOIN received $600,000 from the federal government and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions and raised an additional $1.8 million through philanthropic support to match the award.

"This innovative private-public-nonprofit partnership is a great example of what Philadelphians can do when we work together. These training programs will prepare Philadelphians for the 21st century economy and specifically for the needs of employers who are hiring," said Mayor Nutter. "We need to bring everyone to the table going forward—employers, funders, advocates and job seekers—to drive a comprehensive effort to create new jobs in our city."

JOIN will use the grant to support local, industry led job training efforts. These innovate training models are integrated to enable individuals to receive coordinated supportive services such as literacy education and technical skills and career oriented to ensure adults have the skills needed to compete in an increasingly competitive global economy. By collaborating with regional employers identify skills, partner training programs offer a high level of assurance that trainees will obtain jobs following completion of their programs. JOIN's program partners will be District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation and University City District.

"With matching local grants, this award will actually total about $2.4 mm, and will dramatically increase career opportunities for disadvantaged and unemployed workers in the Delaware Valley," said Jill Michal, CEO of United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. "Over the next two years, these dollars will empower more than 1,000 local citizens to gain industry-recognized credentials and degrees, and to advance in their careers toward family-sustaining wages."

Donna Frisby-Greenwood, program director for Philadelphia at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, says this grant is a great example of the collaboration happening at both a national and local level to get people back to work.

"What makes this approach unique is the focus on both the employee and employer," says Frisby-Greenwood. "This ensures that our job training partnerships are preparing individuals for the jobs that will exist as the economic recovery takes hold."

JOIN partners include: United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, Philadelphia Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board, the Scattergood Foundation, and the William Penn Foundation.

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