From our President and CEO
 
I love the spring because the cold clears away and the energy of new life reminds me of the beauty that accompanies growth. The blooming roses in my garden are something that I look forward to annually. PYN is blooming too. In fact, since our last newsletter, when our strategic plan, 2020 Vision was released, we have been re-energized by our new vision and the ambitious goals we have set for our work. This energy allows us to continue to drive our work and partner with the many organizations and champions that fuel change within our communities. When we work together, we are positioned for greater impact and greater success. Project U-Turn and WorkReady Philadelphia offer our greatest examples of the power of collective leadership, collective action and collective accountability.
Over the past ten years, Project U-Turn has seen success using a collective impact strategy, being one of the first citywide efforts to increase high school graduation rates. Today, Project U-Turn is an alliance that unifies partners to increase the graduation rate and prepare young people for future opportunities. Since its inception, many partners have invested resources to create longstanding change and improve secondary education outcomes for young Philadelphians. From the establishment of the Re-Engagement Center, building and sustaining accelerated school options and community-based E3 Power Centers, to the creation of the Department of Human Services' Education Support Center, we have worked together to improve the opportunities for youth to secure their secondary credential.  Our efforts have led to real impact. Since Project U-Turn's inception, the four-year graduation rate rose from 52 percent to 65 percent. Although the collaboration has helped make great improvements, there is much more growth to be done. This past year, Project U-Turn underwent a strategic planning process and has renewed its commitment to ensure young people in Philadelphia not only achieve secondary success, but connect and thrive in their post-secondary choices. 
Education is a critical step along the path out of poverty, and it is only one component of PYN's work. Through the coordination of education and employment activities, young people can develop the skills needed to secure and sustain employment. WorkReady Philadelphia provides young people with real-world experience that builds these critical skills necessary to enter the workforce.
As a system builder, PYN looks to expand the continuum of education and employment opportunities. By increasing quality at scale for youth-serving providers and systems, we can achieve a sustainable system that responds to demand and need. As an innovation incubator, we can continue to develop, import and replicate new approaches to better serve these populations.

The seeds that PYN planted in 1999 have permeated deep roots here in Philadelphia. Like perennials, we are steadfast all year, but can be seen flourishing during our busy season of summer. But like all plants in need of sunlight and water, our ideas need to be maintained and cultivated to continue to grow. This spring, we are in the prime of our growing season, and we can't reap what we sow without the added tools necessary for growth. Make a commitment to support young people Philadelphia. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend
newsNews
Project U-Turn releases 'Renewed Commitment'
After ten years of improving education opportunities for Philadelphia's disconnected young people, Project U-Turn underwent a strategic planning process and restructuring. On June 12, members of Project U-Turn renewed their commitment to young Philadelphians. City leaders rallied as an alliance in support of Project U-Turn's new goals and strategies to increase the graduation rate and prepare young people for future opportunities. The new goals were focused around increasing re-engagement, reducing the number of young people who disconnect from high school and increasing the percent of connections to a post-secondary education, training program and/or employment. 
PYN receives $200K grant from Aspen Institute on behalf of local partners to "Reimagine Retail"
The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) announced that it has awarded a $200,000 grant to the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) on behalf of Generation Work Philadelphia, an Annie E Casey initiative, to take part in  Reimagine Retail. The project is made possible through a $5.5 million grant awarded by the Walmart Foundation to the Aspen Institute in 2016. Over a two-year period, PYN in collaboration with District 1199c Training and Upgrading Fund, JEVS Human Services, JOIN and YouthBuild Philly will continue to engage retail employers and explore strategies to improve job quality and support advancement for retail workers.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. commits $17M for summer youth employment programs
JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced a $17 million, five-year commitment to U.S. cities working to increase summer work experiences for young people. The investments will go to organizations in 19 U.S. cities. PYN will receive $50,000 in 2017 for WorkReady Philadelphia. 
Let's talk about our youth and the future of work
On May 23, PYN board member, Doug Oliver, hosted a discussion at PECO about young people and the future of work in Philadelphia. The conversation was well attended and part of an initiative On the Table. The forum was designed to engage residents of Philadelphia in an open discussion to inspire solutions that will strengthen. The inaugural event had more than 150 organizational hosts throughout Philadelphia. About 2,400 people attended a table across the city to discuss topics ranging from civic engagement, education, race, health, the environment, arts, culture and more.
PYN selected for Stoneleigh Foundation Emerging Leader Fellow
The Stoneleigh Emerging Leader Fellowship provides a hands-on experience for early career professionals interested in addressing the needs of Greater Philadelphia's vulnerable youth populations. The fellows work collaboratively with a host organization utilizing policy analysis, research, or advocacy. PYN was selected as a host organization with Amber Wilson as the emerging leader fellow. In September, Amber will begin her full-time, two-year fellowship, to advance policy and practice reforms designed to increase post-secondary access for Philadelphia's opportunity youth. Amber will work closely with the Project U-Turn collaborative.
industryIndustry Highlights
Workforce Strategies Initiative releases new report: Investing in Workforce Program Innovation
Workforce Strategies Initiative at the Aspen Institute released a report title, Investing in Workforce Program Innovation: A Formative Evaluation of Five Workforce Organizations' Experiences during the Human Capital Innovation Fund Initiative. Through the Human Capital Innovation Fund (HCIF), five workforce organizations were invested in to test new strategies with the goal to enhance their ability to position low-income individuals for employment. This report describes the five organizations' experiences planning, implementing, and adapting these new strategies to offer insights into the complex work of developing and maintaining relationship that cross institutions.
Aspen Institute releases two reports: Raise the Floor and Build Ladders and Restore the Promise of Work
The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) and the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) released two reports around improving the retail sector. In Raise the Floor and Build Ladders, it addresses a fundamentally different labor market where the change in the U.S. economy has led to fewer living-wage jobs and more low-wage, poor-quality jobs. The report argues for a "rebalancing of workforce development strategies-both policy and practice-to improve the lives of low-wage workers." By encouraging career mobility (building ladders) and ensuring basic economic stability (raising the floor), the lives of millions can be improved. In its companion, Restore the Promise of Work, recognizes that too many jobs are insufficient to life a family out of poverty. It outlines the characteristics of a good job, and highlights the substantial cost that come with "bad jobs."
GradNation releases 2017 Building a Grad Nation Report: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates
The national graduation rate, 83.2 percent, is an all-time high. The goal of 90 percent by 2020, means that the nation must double its pace of progress over the next five years. Many states have raised graduation rates for Black, Hispanic/Latino, and low-income students and made progress towards narrowing their equity gaps, but the state-level data also continue to show concerning trends for key student subgroups.
Economy League of Greater Philadelphia releases report: Driving Tech Talent Growth in PHL
With a vision of creating a deep and diverse tech talent pool in the Greater Philadelphia area that will support business growth and fosters economic opportunity for residents, the Economy League released its highly anticipated report. The Philadelphia Information Technology (IT) field is an industry that is rapidly growing in our region. In fact, projections indicate 26,000 to 44,000 new and replacement IT job openings. The report outlines four actions to support this growth: increase incumbent worker training and employer-led solutions, align and scale educational and tech training programs, raise awareness of potential tech careers among underrepresented populations and improv access to data on tech talent in the region.
campaignOur Work
Calling all E3 Power Center and WorkReady alumni!

PYN is reaching out to alumni from all PYN-managed programs to collect stories. If you are an alumni from an E3 Power Center or WorkReady Philadelphia, take our survey!
WorkReady Summer
WorkReady Summer 2017 is quickly approaching. This year, programs will have rolling start dates starting on either July 3 or 10. As our providers are securing their worksites, PYN is continuing to secure partnerships with the business community. Philadelphia's business community can create great impact in various ways. Organizations help create meaningful experiences for young people and shape the future workforce of our city. By supporting work experiences, business can make contributions that will allow young people to hold subsidized work experiences. If a business utilizes Educational Improvement Tax Credits, they can increase their donations to PYN through WorkReady without increasing their out-of-pocket expense. Businesses can also host youth at their worksite for internships.
spotlightsSpotlights
PYN featured in Philadelphia Business Journal
The Philadelphia Business Journal's editor, Craig Ey, sat with CEO Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend to discuss PYN and our new strategic direction. Dubbed by Ey as, "The rare program that can unite us," he highlights PYN's transformation and explains why the business community should help.
Collective Impact Convening invites PYN's Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend as panelist
On May 24, PYN's President & CEO, Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend served as a panelist at the Collective Impact Forum. The conversation titled, Complementary or in Conflict? Community Organizing and Collective Impact, was moderated by Melanie Barnes from the Aspen Institute for Community Solutions and included:
  • Marshall Ganz, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Marjorie Parker, JobsFirstNYC
  • Marc Philpart, PolicyLink 
PYN featured on Mouthful Podcast, episode 7
Mouthful Podcast spoke with Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend about jobs. Episode 7 titled, Fine Dining, features a monologue about a fast food worker from Owen Fox, a young person from Philadelphia Young Playwrights. The podcast episode transitions to people describing various "first job" experiences. Chekemma then discusses the job scene for young people in Philadelphia, gives advice for young people seeking jobs and encourages young people to find learning experiences in what they may consider their "worst" job experience.
CEO Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend chosen as keynote speaker at two events
Chekemma was the keynote speaker at the 60 by 25 conference in Illinois. The goal of the network is to ensure that 60% of adults have a college or career credential by 2025. Chekemma spoke on behalf of PYN and the experience of building a coordinated system with partners to solve problems in Philadelphia. She focused on collaborative efforts of bringing partners to the table and building an organization infrastructure that generates success. Chekemma also spearheaded two breakout sessions on lessons learned from Philly in identifying and working with partners as well as building viable career pathways.
In April, Chekemma was invited to speak about collective impact efforts at the Urban Soccer Symposium in DC. The goal of the symposium was to share best practices in maximizing organizations' impact in the community. Chekemma's plenary session, "The Youth Development Game Changer," provided insight and best practices for successful Collective Impact efforts.
PYN's senior research associate, Joe Ciesielski serves as panelists at two GovLabPHL conferences
On May 2, Senior Research Associate, Joseph Ciesielski, was a panelist at GovLabPHL: Transforming City Services through Human-Centered Design, Behavioral Economics, and Data Driven Decision Making. The event was a part of Philly Tech Week 2017 with a focus on developing innovative and evidence-based practice in city government. 
On May 5, Joe attended the 2017 Philadelphia Behavioral Science Conference as a panelist to discuss the challenges of testing. The conference bridged leaders from government and academia together in order to create more effective policies and programs in Philadelphia by utilizing the social and behavioral sciences.
Board member Jovan Goldstein awarded Small Business of the Year  
PYN board member, Jovan Goldstein, funder and managing principal of JT Goldstein Accountants and Business Advisors was awarded Small Business of the Year by the African American Chamber of Commerce. His commitment to the community is evident through his efforts for development and empowerment via financial literacy and education. We are thankful for his commitment not only to PYN but to our young people and their future.
Brown's Super Stores, Inc. presented with The Governor's Achievement Award
On May 10, PYN's Board Chair, Jeffrey Brown, President and CEO of Brown's Super Stores Inc., was one of nine Pennsylvania businesses recognized for efforts to keep Pennsylvanians working. Brown's Super Stores Inc. received this award as recognition for outstanding hiring and workforce development success. Awards were given in Hershey at the 2017 Workforce Development Association Employment, Training & Education Conference. 
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