- Philadelphia's labor market is still experiencing the effects of the pandemic, but a coalition of nonprofits hopes to use training to mitigate that. The SkillUp Coalition, a national collaboration, is launching in the city, it announced Oct. 28.
- The organization, founded in July 2020, said that rather than push workers back into jobs like the ones they left, it aims to give individuals "the opportunity to build new skills that are suited to in-demand jobs with promising career paths."
- Among other roles, the organization offers assistance with jobs as a commercial driver or in IT support. Nonprofits in the organization provide coaching, training, financial assistance and more. The organization also works in Los Angeles, California's Bay Area, Louisiana, Florida and northern Nevada.
Pandemic-related closures drove many out of the workforce, while others left due to a lack of child care or out of safety concerns.
For women and people of color, these effects were "disproportionately devastating," according to a 2020 report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research. The reasons are many and systemic; women more frequently have responsibility for caregiving duties, for example, and Black and Latina women are unlikely to have jobs that allow remote work compared to their peers.
Philadelphia's economic recovery from the pandemic has some bright spots, but as the SkillUp Coalition noted, numbers vary. "What industry you work in … makes a big difference for financial stability," according to the city's NPR affiliate, WHYY. Law firms and healthcare providers, for example, are faring better than hospitality and entertainment employers, it said, citing Pew data.
In a city where 42% percent of residents are Black — compared to 13% of all U.S. residents, according to 2019 census data — initiatives aimed at training workers for different careers have the potential to chip away at the pandemic's disparate impact and improve equity in the city's workforces.