At a ceremony on Wednesday, October 2, the Department of Commerce and the Office of Workforce Development gave inaugural awards to 13 Philadelphia employer champions, in recognition of their work to create welcoming and sustainable employment practices.

The Employer of Choice campaign, elevated from the Model Employer campaign, supports human resource management models that benefit both the business community and the city’s workforce. Aligned with the recommendations in Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine, the citywide workforce development strategy released in 2018, the ongoing campaign will focus on three priorities:

  • Recognize and elevate businesses who use HR best practices to level the playing field for all Philadelphians.
  • Promote HR best practices in a business to business, or B2B, format.
  • Ease seamless partnerships with the City and its workforce strategy partners.

Office of Workforce Development (OWD) Executive Director Sheila Ireland opened the awards ceremony at Temple University Center City. After remarks by Mayor Kenney and Commerce Director Harold T. Epps, OWD Senior Director Heloise Jettison presented an award to each employer champion.

The top two champions, SEPTA and Temple University Health System, delivered remarks. Jacob Aufschauer, Assistant General Manager of Human Resources, spoke on behalf of SEPTA. John Lasky, Chief Human Resources Officer, spoke on behalf of Temple Health.

A cross-sector committee of evaluators reviewed the 2019 Employer of Choice applications. The committee selected the 13 champions based on scoring thresholds in the following:

  • Diverse hiring practices
  • Partnerships with workforce education and training providers
  • Summer WorkReady and year-round internships with youth
  • Activities providing intentional talent pipeline development and promotional opportunities for entry level employees

“The partnership theme of the citywide workforce strategy, Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine, echoes strongly as we prepare our residents with the skills employers need. Just as important is recognizing the investment and commitment that our business community already makes, and continues to make, in Philadelphia, our economy and our residents,” said Harold Epps. “The Employer of Choice campaign is our effort to recognize the employer champions who engage in recruitment, retention and promotion practices that drive our shared end goal to close the skills gap and foster growth with equity.”

Congratulations to the inaugural 2019 Employers of Choice:

  1. SEPTA
  2. Temple University Health System
  3. Marshalls Distribution Center
  4. CVS Health
  5. Independence Blue Cross
  6. Rhoads Industries
  7. Comcast NBCUniversal
  8. PECO
  9. SPIN
  10. Wells Fargo Bank
  11. Philadelphia Gas Works
  12. School District of Philadelphia
  13. PTR Baler and Compactor Company

→ View and share the Employer of Choice Leaders Breakfast photo album.

To learn more about the next call for Employer of Choice applications in 2020, contact the Office of Workforce Development at 215-683-2000 or email