Mayor Kenney Announces Sheila Ireland as Executive Director of the City’s New Office of Workforce Development
Office to begin operations March 5, centralizing staff and functions from multiple City departments

PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Kenney announced today that Sheila Ireland will serve as the Executive Director of the Office of Workforce Development, beginning March 5.

The newly launched Office of Workforce Development will consolidate staff currently engaged in workforce efforts into one central team, including individuals from the Managing Director’s Office, Department of Commerce, and Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, as well as the entire Office of Adult Education.

“Sheila Ireland is uniquely qualified to lead the City’s new Office of Workforce Development,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The Office of Workforce Development will be charged with overseeing the implementation of our new citywide workforce strategy, Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine, which requires an unprecedented level of coordination between the local government, education, training programs, other service providers and employers. There is no one better suited to lead this work than Ms. Ireland. She comes with decades of experience in workforce development, including national recognition for her expertise in coordinating industry partnerships. Her ability to understand and address the needs of industry in a way that is also acutely aware of the challenges facing Philadelphia residents will serve the people and businesses of our city well.”

The Office of Workforce Development will coordinate with partners, including Philadelphia Works, the School District of Philadelphia, Community College of Philadelphia, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia Youth Network, and others to accomplish the goals outlined in the citywide strategy, Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine, which was released earlier this month. The three overarching goals of the strategy include: preparing Philadelphians with the skills employers need for a world-class workforce; addressing the barriers that prevent Philadelphians from accessing meaningful career opportunities; and building a workforce system that is more coordinated, innovative and effective.

“It is an honor to take on this new role within the Kenney administration,” said Sheila Ireland. “I have dedicated my career to creating strategic initiatives that effectively align people and processes to organizational and business objectives. With the new citywide workforce strategy, we have an opportunity to address some of the toughest systemic issues facing the people of Philadelphia, while simultaneously meeting a real need for talent in the business community. I look forward to working with the City’s many workforce development partners and members of the private sector to build a more collaborative and effective system that ultimately results in more Philadelphians gaining family-sustaining employment.”

For more than 25 years, Ireland has been responsible for the successful leadership of human resources, training and workforce development functions in the non-profit, healthcare, consulting, government and manufacturing fields. For the past six months, she has served as the Deputy Director for Diversity & Inclusion for Rebuild – the City’s initiative to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to improve parks, recreation centers and libraries across Philadelphia. Prior to joining the City, Ireland previously served as the Vice President of Workforce Solutions at University City District (UCD). She was the founding Director of West Philadelphia Skills Initiative and led its growth to prominence as a national model for innovation and success in workforce development programming. She also launched and shepherded the growth of Green City Works, UCD’s first social venture, which expanded the demographic footprint of workforce development in West Philadelphia by bringing a new industry to West Philadelphia and expanding job opportunities for individuals with higher barriers to employment.

Ireland graduated with honors from Community College of Philadelphia with an A.A.S. in Finance, Temple University with a B.B.A. in Human Resources Management, and LaSalle University with a M.S. in Human Capital Development. She also holds a SPHR certification from the Society for Human Resource Management.

Ireland will continue to oversee Rebuild’s Diversity & Inclusion efforts until the position of Deputy Director for Diversity & Inclusion, which is already posted online, is filled. The new Deputy will focus primarily on business inclusion and supports required to achieve Rebuild’s participation goals. There is also a plan to hire a fulltime employee by early 2019 who will perform the duties required to launch and implement Rebuild’s workforce targets, including the PHL Pipeline pre-apprentice program and Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) positions. In addition to providing oversight during the transition; Ireland will coordinate Rebuild’s work with the Office of Workforce Development moving forward.