Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that the City of Philadelphia will receive technical assistance funded through the Thriving Communities Program (TCP). This technical assistance will assist the City and its partners to monitor and evaluate local and economic hiring preferences over the next three years. This will help to ensure that all Philadelphians, especially people of color who have historically been excluded from opportunity, can access the benefits from the historic funding provided in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

“We are proud to be a recipient of the Thriving Communities Program as we continue to win grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will allow us to bring Mayor Parker’s vision for safer, cleaner, and greener Philadelphia with economic opportunity for all,” said Mike Carroll, Deputy Managing Director, Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems (OTIS). “The goal of our Infrastructure Solutions Team is to build and repair Philadelphia bridges, mass transit, electric vehicle charging, and more, while also growing generational wealth at the same time. This means we must put an emphasis on technical assistance and workforce development programs that are needed to ensure that infrastructure workers, from planning to construction, look more like the population of Philadelphia.”

The City, along with its partners Called to Serve (CTS) and Philadelphia Works, Inc. (PhilaWorks), will use the TCP funding to create workforce training pathways and programs for infrastructure projects. Through TCP, the City is looking to deepen its engagement with community-based organizations (CBOs). These groups can connect job seekers residing in historically disadvantaged communities to employment opportunities. The City will continue to work with community partners like North10 and the Philadelphia Area Labor Management Committee (PALM), to explore opportunities to engage, prepare, and train community members for employment opportunities. TCP will also enable the evaluation of potential new processes for workforce development such as local and economic hiring preferences as authorized by BIL Section 25019.

“CTS has a strong working relationship with the City and has served as a partner in the Broad, Germantown, and Erie capital improvement project since 2017,” Rev. Michael A. Major, Sr., Board President, Called To Serve CDC. “As one of Philadelphia’s voices in workforce development and community revitalization, CTS will work with the City by providing input and engaging traditionally underrepresented voices as the City develops its workforce hiring practices for federally funded infrastructure projects. CTS will provide capacity building support to the City, with the goal of creating jobs and contracting opportunities for economically under-resourced communities.”

The City and its key community partners have long-standing collaborative working relationships. The City partnered with Called to Serve, who led the Broad, Germantown, and Erie (BGE) Task Force, a collaborative effort to make streets and public spaces safer for community residents, bolster jobs, support businesses, and honor local history. CTS and the City’s Department of Commerce also collaborate on “PHL Taking Care of Business”, a workforce development program and neighborhood beautification program.

“As a long-time partner, PhilaWorks will support the City with the goal of increasing economic opportunity for historically underserved communities in Philadelphia,” said Patrick Clancy, President and CEO, Philadelphia Works, Inc. “PhilaWorks has established an extensive network of community organizations and industry partners to deploy effective workforce solutions in Philadelphia. PhilaWorks leads a network of employment and training services connecting residents with career opportunities and providing employers access to the talent needed to be competitive. PhilaWorks offers expertise, support, and services tied to on-the-job training, apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.”

PhilaWorks is Philadelphia County’s Local Workforce Development Board designated under the Workforce Development and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Our partnership includes collaboration on several initiatives including the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Good Jobs Challenge, where PhilaWorks received approximately $22 million to develop a regional workforce system. Technical assistance through the TCP will assist both key partners in increasing access to economic opportunities for Philadelphians living in areas of persistent poverty.