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It's no secret that a thriving regional economy relies on highly-skilled workers, leaders and entrepreneurs. To meet these needs, educational institutions must prepare individuals who can think, create, identify problems and solve them. But schools can't do the job alone. They need partners who can help to create high-quality opportunities that bring relevance to academic rigor and prepare students to become productive employees and active citizens.
That's where we come in.
The Philadelphia Youth Network's vision is that all of our city's young people take their rightful places as full and contributing members of a world-class workforce for the region. We're pursuing this vision by making connections between individuals, organizations and systems to provide the preparation needed for our city's youth to thrive in a regional and global economy.
How do we do that? Mainly through two citywide strategies: WorkReady Philadelphia and Project U-Turn. In connection with these efforts, we're helping to prepare tomorrow's workforce by operating Student Success Centers in thirteen of the School District's comprehensive high schools; managing education and training services for dropouts and adjudicated youth at the City's five community-based E3 Centers; and staffing the Philadelphia Council for College and Career Success.
The WorkReady system includes summer, school-year and year-round programs. Each year, the summer component includes a variety of contracted service providers, funding streams and program models. Eligibility and slot levels are determined by the availability of funding and the requirements of funders, which varies from year to year. The following information pertains to WorkReady programs in summer 2010, which included three program model types:
Service Learning - Service learning programs organize young people into teams that perform work and service in their communities, and result in tangible benefits to the local, regional, national or global community. All participants complete a project connected to their service experiences that also provides opportunities to hone work readiness and academic skills.
Work Experience - Work Experience programs are targeted for with limited or no work experience. Activities blend work experience with work-readiness training in ways that expand knowledge of workplace competencies and careers, and also underscore the importance of academic achievement and its link to career advancement. All participating youth develop work-based learning projects that demonstrate knowledge gained and provide opportunities to enhance academic skills, work readiness and career awareness.
Internships - Internships offer more sophisticated employment and career exposure opportunities for youth with some work experience. Interns participate in a weekly series of professional development workshops which focus on career exploration and aptitude assessment, work-readiness, and college-preparation. Youth also complete a work-based learning project or portfolio.
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