Photo Courtesy of the City of Philadelphia.
Photo Courtesy of the City of Philadelphia.

A new collaboration seeks to address DE&I among Philly’s young professionals

Two organizations — The Connect and Reify Solutions — are collaborating to conduct a study on diverse young professionals in Philly and address challenges.


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The conversation surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion has seen a significant increase in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. 

While it has led to many organizations, institutions and corporations rethinking how it approaches the conversation, as we approach the three-year anniversary of the tragedy next month, much of it has reverted back to pre-2020 levels. 

A new partnership in Philadelphia is working to ensure that the conversation remains alive and consistent here. 

Earlier this month, The Connect — Philadelphia’s hub for connecting diverse professionals to resources with the city — has partnered with Reify Solutions — a Philadelphia-based research and workforce development firm — to conduct a groundbreaking study on the lives of diverse millennial professionals in Philadelphia. 

The study will tap into Reify’s extensive background in data analytics and social science theory to create a story map centered around goals, challenges and areas of opportunity for young diverse professionals in the region.

This will then, in turn, help identify opportunities for Philadelphia’s stakeholders to forge equitable pathways and retention strategies for diverse Philadelphians. 

“Co-designing and executing with The Connect will give the city critical research for necessary change,” said Shane Nelson, CEO of Reify Solutions, in a statement.

Nelson added that the result will serve as “a new baseline on where our city needs to grow.”

Using surveys and peer-reviewed data, The Connect and Refiy will uncover the trends in what the region’s population are seeking professionally, socially and culturally, and the gaps between what they’re looking for and what they are currently experiencing here in Philadelphia. 

Workforce diversity has been a longstanding challenge for Philadelphia, especially in the city’s tech sector.

According to the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, African Americans comprise about 8.8% of Philadelphia’s tech workforce. This is a major underrepresentation compared to the 41% of African Americans in the city. 

“Due to the dearth of high-paying jobs, perceived lack of access to community resources and growth opportunities, young Black and Brown professionals are leaving Philadelphia en masse,” said Senzwa Ntshepe, President and CEO of The Connect. “These future leaders take their talent and treasure to other major cities that they believe can meet their social and professional goals.”

He added that the groundbreaking study will examine the nuances in the attitudes and behaviors that these young professionals have toward their experiences in Philadelphia.

Furthermore, it will culminate in key insights and recommendations that will necessitate cross-sector collaboration in creating a more equitable city. 

All in all, the goal is to propose concrete solutions that complement the city’s current efforts to advance equity and prioritize Black and Latinx professionals.

“Philadelphia has so much potential as a city, and Black & Brown professionals deserve, as any other group, a city where they can live, work and play as their entire authentic selves. Anything that can help us advance that, brings us tremendous joy,” said Stephon Braithwaite-Martin, partner and vice president of business development for The Connect.

The study is projected to conclude in the summer of 2023, with reports expected to be generated in the Fall of 2023. 


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