Improved Economic Opportunities
Our Goal: Improved Economic Opportunities
Drexel is a leading contributor to the economic vitality of West Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia region, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As the region's ninth largest employer, Drexel invests time, talents, and resources in building a thriving, vibrant economy that supports business and employers and prepares residents for employment and advancement.
In the neighborhoods that border Drexel University, thousands of residents are lacking the skills and experience needed to pursue successful employment, and the reported unemployment rate is between 20 and 35 percent - significantly above the national and city average. To address this growing problem, Drexel is engaged in several workforce development initiatives with local city organizations, including University City District (UCD) and The Collegiate Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development.
- In 2011, Drexel University and University City District (UCD) 's West Philadelphia Skills Initiative teamed up to create a pipeline for training mentoring and job opportunities for Certified Medical Assistants who are residents of West Philadelphia. In an effort to build real connections between Drexel and the West Philadelphia community, Drexel and UCD have developed a 14-week program that provides paid technical skills training, professional development training, mentoring by seasoned medical professionals, career development and job coaching services, and job opportunities through Drexel University College of Medicine. This innovative and holistic approach to workforce development is designed to reduce turnover and improve the quality of care provided by newly hired medical assistants, while furthering Drexel's economic opportunity goals in its surrounding communities.
- Drexel, led by the College of Engineering, received funding for the Freedom Rings Partnership, a multi-year initiative to bring Internet access, training and technology to residents in underserved communities. The project is designed to decrease the digital divide in Philadelphia by connecting underserved communities to the internet as a means to enhance job training and community and economic development throughout the city. The partnership, which is led by the Urban Affairs Coalition and the City of Philadelphia, hopes to reach more than 100,000 residents. In the August of 2011, Drexel University graduated more than 100 Philadelphia Housing Authority residents from the Freedom Rings Partnership's first class at the John F. Street Center. The graduating students went through eight-hour trainings at the Community College of Philadelphia as part of a multi-year initiative. After the graduation ceremony, new netbooks were given to the graduates by Drexel students.
- As a member of The Collegiate Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development, Drexel collaborates with area community colleges including Community College of Philadelphia, Delaware County Community College, Bucks County Community College, Camden County College and Montgomery County Community College to provide a comprehensive, coordinated approach to developing a highly skilled workforce for the region. The combined efforts of the five community colleges, which emphasize workforce, technical and IT training, and a university offers a unique model for education and training.