The New Normal Jobs Initiative is the latest action by City Council to address the real economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Philadelphia.
It includes funding for a same-day-pay program that puts people to work cleaning vacant city lots; workforce development in environmental stewardship projects; a jobs training program to provide home health aides with added nursing certifications; and an employment training effort involving revitalizing neighborhood commercial corridors.
6abc caught up with a crew hard at work cleaning the streets of North Philadelphia. They have a job thanks to the Same Day Work and Pay Program.
"These people are out here making $100 a day, for five hours of cleaning. They get paid today. They don't have to wait for a check. They are able to put food on the table today, pay a bill," said Darnell Scott, a supervisor with the Same Day Pay program.
City Council says the hope is to use $4 million for several programs like this one, all aimed at improving the city and creating more employment opportunities.
"The simple reality is that there are a lot of people out here looking for jobs, so we said, 'what can we do to get people jobs right away?" said City Council President Darrell Clarke.
Clarke says the Same Day Pay program has proven to be a success. He says already over 270 people have participated, and some of them have landed full-time work.
"Anybody that wants to do a hard day's work, they qualify. Simply connect with the community organization, get engaged and be prepared to work," said Clarke.
Many say the initiative is about more than just creating jobs but also about making the community a better place.
"We have the kids who are getting in trouble with the gun violence. They are able to put the drugs and guns down for a day, and make one hundred dollars. That saves a life on both ends. Nobody gets killed, no drugs are being sold, and nobody is OD'ing," said Scott.
The programs being funded through the New Normal Jobs Initiative are:
-Same Day Work and Pay program. $500,000 to continue supporting a same-day-pay employment effort putting people to work cleaning and maintaining vacant city lots, under the supervision of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
-Community Life Improvement Program. $1 Million for an existing, city-run program under the Managing Director's Office that focuses on quality-of-life issues and problems in neighborhoods across the city.
-PowerCorpsPHL. $1 Million for the Philadelphia Energy Authority to run a workforce development effort for at-risk youth. PowerCorpsPHL supports environmental stewardship projects and furthers the city's youth violence prevention priorities. The program engages out-of-school or out-of-work 18-30 year-olds in an intensive program to connect them to living-wage jobs in energy and green infrastructure.
-Upskilling Home Health Aides. $300,000 to fund a partnership between City Council, Philadelphia Works and District 1199c's Training and Upgrading Fund. This partnership, advocated by Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson (At Large) is focused on assisting home health aides, jobs often filled by women of color, to obtain necessary training and certification to become nursing assistants, earning higher wages and opportunities with larger healthcare organizations offering better benefits and career advancement opportunities.
"With high demand for nursing assistants and a significant skills overlap, there is a unique opportunity to target home health aides to receive a Certified Nursing Assistant credential, giving them the requirements to move into higher-paying jobs," said Councilmember Gilmore Richardson.
-Jobs Training by Revitalizing Neighborhood Commercial Corridors. $1 Million to support a program that provides job training through the revitalization of neighborhood commercial business corridors. This program was conceived by Council Majority Leader Cherelle Parker (9th District).
This Reconstruction Program is designed to support small business owners on neighborhood commercial corridors, and support community-focused training programs that will prepare young men and women to gain access to an apprenticeship or similar workforce programs, to help them obtain family-sustaining employment opportunities.
"Revitalizing our neighborhood commercial corridors accomplishes multiple purposes - it cleans and uplifts local business corridors that are the lifeblood of our neighborhoods," said Councilmember Parker. "It allows for on-the-job training efforts designed to bring people into the workforce who want to work, at a living wage. And it lifts our neighborhoods too - where most Philadelphians live. I fully support the New Normal Jobs Initiative and the badly-needed resources it is bringing to the table," she said.
You can find more information here:
Same Day Pay
Home Health Aides/Nursing Assistant Upskill Training
-For more information, contact Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson's office at (215) 686-0454 or 686-0455
Job Training to Work Revitalizing Neighborhood Commercial Corridors
-For more information, contact Councilmember Cherelle Parker's office at (215) 686-3455 or 686-3454.