Germantown Poverty Relief Initiative (GPRI)

Senator Haywood and staff from his offices in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Montgomery County were involved in the examination of poverty in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. As a result of the study, the proposed demonstration project (detailed below) represents a targeted effort to address poverty for women and children. Once implemented and then reviewed, this approach may serve as an model that can be used in other areas to reduce poverty.

GPRI Executive Summary

According to the U.S. Census, the Germantown section of Philadelphia has over 3,000 households living in poverty, including nearly 2,000 female-headed households with children.

The goal of this proposed demonstration is the creation of pathways out of poverty for single women with children. The initiative will give women the tools to improve their lives and those of their children through adult education, reduction of “benefits cliffs,” career and financial coaching, job training and skills development, and enrollment in apprenticeship programs or placement and retention in unsubsidized jobs.

The GPRI is a proposed family-centered demonstration program that is designed to create pathways out of poverty for low-income single women and their children in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. It would also work to reduce the frequency and severity of poverty in that community.

GPRI would not replicate or replace government and private workforce development programs but would address the missing components of those programs or systems that fail to reach needy people.

Principal functions of the demonstration program include:

  • Agency coordination;
  • Outreach and marketing;
  • Career and financial coaching;
  • Adult education;
  • Job training and employment; and
  • Reducing benefits cliffs.

 

Principal Functions of GPRI

Agency Coordination
The project would establish and manage relationships with state departments and agencies, local government entities and non-profit workforce development organizations to maximize coordination of effort. It would see to it that government regulations are interpreted and applied to provide the most effective platform to help people progress out of poverty. GPRI would consistently monitor regional career and industry developments that may offer participants new opportunities for education, training, apprenticeship and employment opportunities.

Outreach and Marketing
The project would target outreach and marketing in the Germantown community to identify low-income, single women with children and create family profiles, including number and ages of dependent children. In addition, the organization would help identify health, housing or other conditions that lead to poverty. Outreach would be conducted among community gatekeepers, faith organizations, schools and parent organizations. They would also enlist support from officials at affordable housing developments, recreation centers, community events/meetings, emergency food pantries, government and private human service providers and through social media.

Career and Financial Coaching
Residents of high poverty communities are often cut off from advancement opportunities – and often do not even know what opportunities exist. Day-to-day survival can leave little time or energy for planning beyond how to pay the next round of bills.

All GPRI coaching would take into consideration the needs of program participants, their children, and the frequent fragility of single-parent support networks. As an example, when the best option for a working participant’s literacy instruction is offered at an evening or weekend program, the coach would help coordinate after school care and transportation for the participant and children who are too young to be at home alone. GPRI coaching would also emphasize asset-based, long-term planning for sustainable career growth and wage progression.

Career coaching would help participants learn what it takes to meet their immediate employment goals; make them aware of longer-term, diverse, and non-traditional career opportunities; and guide them to understand the increased earning potential of investing time and energy in their personal academic and skills development. The coach would help people enroll in selected apprenticeship, education or skills training programs; provide support to help navigate life challenges for them and their children; and encourage completion.

Financial coaches would work closely with participants to ensure they apply for and receive public benefits that would help them and their children. The coach would also help people develop budgets and prepare for changes in public benefit levels as earnings increase. The financial coach will also share free or reduced-cost goods and services in the community that can relieve pressure on the household budget or offer family enrichment and entertainment opportunities.

Adult Education
Philadelphia’s regional economy has benefited from growth in regional foundational industries, education, medicine, and high-tech industries. This growth has created high-income jobs and careers, helped increase the city’s population, and attracted young people and immigrants. At the same time, too many Philadelphians lack the academic and workforce skills to advance in the 21st Century labor force.

Despite a tremendous technology sector and knowledge-based job growth, there are still many Philadelphia area jobs that lead to family-sustaining careers for people who have completed high school or an associate degree and are determined to keep learning. Therefore, adult education would be an integral component of the Germantown Poverty Relief Initiative.

Each participant would be assessed to identify reading, writing, arithmetic, and digital literacy skill levels. Where possible, necessary skills upgrading would be taught through contextualized instruction within skills training or pre-apprenticeship activities. When deficiencies are substantial, participants could enroll in free adult literacy classes that would be offered during daytime hours, as well as evenings and weekends.

Germantown has 2,300 female-headed households with children below the poverty level. However, 1,800 of these women have a high school degree or higher and, with appropriate education and skills training, can qualify for local middle-skill jobs and careers. GPRI would help these women access services to bolster their family income and provide better lives for themselves and their children.

Current literacy providers indicate that most Philadelphia adults come to training programs with 5th to 8th grade literacy and math levels. This includes high school graduates and working people. GPRI’s goal would be to upgrade skills to 10th grade levels to help people qualify for higher paying jobs and internships.

Germantown Single Women with Children in Poverty by Education Levels

Adult literacy providers rely on a mix of public and private resources that have diminished sharply over the last several years. Preliminary research indicates that additional adult education resources may be necessary to meet GPRI goals.

Employment, Training and Apprenticeship Opportunities
The state departments of Human Services, Labor and Industry, Education, Community and Economic Development, as well as non-profit organizations, colleges, and proprietary schools support a wide array of employment training, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities in the Southeast Pennsylvania. GPRI would help each participant find the vocational training or pre-apprenticeship program that is the right fit and maintain support through placement in an unsubsidized job or enrollment in an apprenticeship program.

Employment and career opportunities that are available to those with a high school or associate degree, or industry-recognized certification can be identified through several sources.

1) L&I High Priority Occupations – A portion of the 2019 High Priority Occupations list for the Philadelphia county workforce development area developed by the PA Department of Labor and Industry is included in this report as GPRI Exhibit 1, 2019 High Priority Occupations for Philadelphia County Workforce Development Area. The displayed sections of this database illustrate regional high priority occupations that require short or moderate-term, on-the-job training with or without a high school diploma, through occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree. Sample 2019 high-priority occupations for the Philadelphia county workforce development area follow below:

GPRI Exhibit 1

   

Wages (2018)

SOC Code

SOC Title

Educational Attainment

Entry Level

Entry Hrly @ 2080 hrs

21-1093

Social & Human Service Assistants

ST OJT

$28,500

$14

21-1094

Community Health Workers

ST OJT

$34,060

$16

39-9011

Childcare Workers

ST OJT

$17,910

$9

39-9032

Recreation Workers

ST OJT

$18,220

$9

43-4051

Customer Service Representatives

ST OJT

$27,640

$13

13-1031

Claims Adjusters, Examiners & Investigators

LT OJT

$51,600

$25

47-2031

Carpenters

LT OJT

$37,800

$18

47-2111

Electricians

LT OJT

$45,950

$22

47-2152

Plumbers, Pipefitters & Steamfitters

LT OJT

$49,550

$24

49-9041

Industrial Machinery Mechanics

LT OJT

$41,730

$20

49-9043

Maintenance Workers, Machinery

LT OJT

$29,760

$14

49-9052

Telecommunications Line Installers & Repairers

LT OJT

$42,820

$21

51-4041

Machinists

LT OJT

$37,370

$18

47-2031

Carpenters

LT OJT

$37,800

$18

47-2111

Electricians

LT OJT

$45,950

$22

47-2152

Plumbers, Pipefitters & Steamfitters

LT OJT

$49,550

$24

49-9041

Industrial Machinery Mechanics

LT OJT

$41,730

$20

47-4011

Construction & Building Inspectors

WK EXP

$44,270

$21

49-1011

Supervisors – Mechanics, Installers & Repairers

WK EXP

$48,720

$23

51-1011

Supervisors – Production & Operating Workers

WK EXP

$45,250

$22

53-1031

Supervisors – Transportation & Vehicle Operators

WK EXP

$34,370

$17

Educational Attainment Abbreviations:
Short-term or Moderate-term training (ST OJT or MT OJT) – basic tasks and skills are learned through a period of on-the-job training. A high school diploma may be required.
Long-term training (LT OJT) – a high school diploma and at least one year of on-the-job training or an apprenticeship.
Related work experience (WK EXP) – a high school diploma and training gained through hands-on work in a similar occupation.

2) CareerLink – The Northwest Philadelphia CareerLink serves the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Upon request, the CareerLink provided Senator Haywood’s staff a list of 68 employers that have hired individuals at $15.00 per hour or higher. The full list is attached as GPRI Exhibit 2 Northwest Career Link 12 Month Hires at or Above $15.00 Per Hour. A sample of the list is displayed below.

GPRI Exhibit 2

  Employer Position Wage Wkly Hrs Employer Zip Code
1 Abington (Jefferson Health) Phlebotomist $16.99 25 19001
2 Acclara Solutions, LLC Accounts Receivable Associate $17.00 40 19034
3 All American Healthcare Services CNA $15.00 30 19140
4 Allegis Group Warehouse Worker $15.00 30 21076
5 Amazon Warehouse Associate $15.00 20 19104
6 Amazon Packaging $15.00 4 19130
7 Amazon Shipping & Receiving Clerk $15.00 12 19406
8 Amazon Services Fulfillment Associate $15.00 20 19137
9 American Airlines Ramp Agent $15.85 20 19153
10 American Red Cross Phlebotomist $18.15 40 19123
11 Aramark Facility Services, LLC Cashier $16.65 20 19103
12 Asphire Staffing Customer Service Representative $16.00 40 21401
13 Brulee Catering Daily Operations Leader $16.00 40 19147
14 Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia CNA $19.89 24 19104
15 Cooper Hospital Patient Services Rep II $16.12 30 08103

3) Registered Apprenticeship Programs – In addition to employers and job placement entities, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties have many registered apprenticeship programs that provide income during training. The full list is attached as GPRI Exhibit 3 Registered Apprenticeship Programs Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties. A sample of that list is displayed below.

GPRI Exhibit 3

Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor County Occupation (1) Training Provider(S)
Boro Developers Montgomery County Bricklayer  
Arcadia University Montgomery County Maintenance Electrician Eastern Center For Arts & Technology
Philadelphia Delaware Valley Ntma Chapter Montgomery County Machinist  
Glaxo Smith Kline Montgomery County Instrumentation Technician Reading Area Community College
Electro-Soft Inc. Montgomery County Industrial Manufacturing Technician North Montco Technical Career Center
Sayre Health Center Philadelphia County Medical Assistant Sayre High School
Wes Health Systems Philadelphia County Psych. Rehab Assistant Drexel University
Jevs Human Services Inc. Afscme District Council 47 Philadelphia County Direct Support Professional District 1199c Training & Upgrading Fund
*District 1199c Training & Upgrading Fund Philadelphia County Early Childhood Education Community College Of Philadelphia
The School District Of Philadelphia- 32 BJ SEIU Philadelphia County Electrician Thomas Edison High School
Liberty Resource Home Choice-United Homecare Workers Philadelphia County Nurses Aide Health & Technology Training Instit.
*United Home Care Workers Philadelphia County Advance Home Healthcare Aid Health & Technology Training Instit.