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Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson. Photo: Philadelphia City Council Flickr
Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson. Photo: Philadelphia City Council Flickr

Philly City Council introduces $5 million expansion for its New Normal Jobs Initiative

The New Normal Jobs Initiative launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and includes a series of employment and neighborhood improvement programs.

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On Thursday, March 18, Philadelphia City Council introduced a $5 million proposal that aims to fund neighborhood improvement and job programs. The proposal is set to build on City Council’s response to the economic fallout brought on by the pandemic.

Under the bill, $1 million in funding would be distributed to the city’s same-day work and pay program, where workers are employed to clear and maintain vacant city parking lots under the supervision of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Several hundred individuals have already been hired under this program.

Another $1 million would go towards an existing, city-run program under the Managing Director’s Office that focuses on finding appropriate solutions to various quality-of-life issues.

The city’s WorkREADY program will also receive a $1 million infusion from the proposed bill, providing summer jobs for young people. The WorkREADY program is run by Philadelphia Youth Network, which provides dependent and/or at-risk youth and young adults with a six-week summer employment experience.

Two million dollars would benefit a new job training program aimed at “revitalizing neighborhood commercial corridors.”

The program was conceived by City Council Majority Leader Cherelle Parker. and  supports community-focused training programs that prepare young people for their future through access to apprenticeship or similar workforce training.

$50,000 would go towards Hire! Philly’s “Pipeline Philly” jobs program.

Hire! Philly is a coalition of employers dedicated to effectively connecting local talent to employment opportunities. The coalition spawned from the need for a liaison between Philadelphia businesses and local job seekers.   

Last month, City Council invested $4 million into their New Normal Jobs Initiative.

The proposal was introduced by Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sánchez.  

In a statement, Clarke said the proposal will assist Philadelphia residents in their job searches. 

“As we work to get this pandemic under control and get residents vaccinated, we must be just as focused on the harsh economic impact of this crisis and the Philadelphians who need help finding employment,” Clarke said.

The next step for the proposal is a hearing in front of a council committee before returning for a final vote in front of all of City Council.Last month, City Council and Mayor Jim Kenney approved similar legislation focusing on energy conservation job training, a program in the home health care industry to help workers become certified nursing assistants, and more. 

Several Council members and other agencies are involved with these job-training efforts, including Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson and the Philadelphia Energy Authority. 

“The programs being funded by this New Normal initiative are different in some respects – but they all do one thing — they improve Philadelphia and they focus on helping people find jobs,” Clarke said in his statement. 

This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among more than 20 news organizations focused on economic mobility in Philadelphia. Read all of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org.

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