Community College of Philadelphia Workforce Programs Retrain Workers for The Jobs of Today

New Grant Offers Summer Training to Get The Unemployed Back to Work

PHILADELPHIA, May 22, 2012—In 2011, Erica Morrison made a decision that has nearly doubled her salary. She enrolled at Community College of Philadelphia to get the training to become a certified pharmacy technician.

After completing the six-week Pharmacy Technician program, which is a part of the Wanamaker Scholars Program, Erica passed the state exam. With her new credential, she now qualified for a job at Keystone Mercy Health Plan paying $7 per hour more than she had been earning at a retail pharmacy. A 75-hour class gave her the basic math skills and knowledge required to work in a pharmacy, a workplace where jobs are going unfilled due to the shortage of skilled applicants. This comprehensive course, including 10 hours of instruction concentrating on mathematics, prepared her to assist the pharmacist in filling prescriptions in a variety of pharmacy settings, including hospital, community, home infusion and mail order pharmacies.

This summer, Community College of Philadelphia will begin accepting eligible unemployed Philadelphians into free, training courses that seek to prepare students for jobs in three critical economic sectors: advanced manufacturing, energy conservation and health care. Some courses can be completed in three months or less. Advanced Manufacturing classes and Energy Conservation classes are now enrolling for the summer kickoff. (The Pharmacy Technician program is not included.)

Dr. Michelle T. Williams, the College's project director for TAACCCT (Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training), says the career coach, Judi Greif, is working closely with PA CareerLink to recruit candidates for these classes, which are funded by a three-year, $20 million TAACCCT grant shared by the state’s 14 community colleges. Each college will identify and conduct courses that address their specific labor market needs. The U.S. Department of Labor initiative aims to address manpower shortages by moving displaced and laid-off workers quickly into high-wage, high-skill occupations.

“Our challenge will be to help laid-off and underemployed workers to understand that short-term and long-term skill retraining is essential if they are to meet the labor demands of Pennsylvania employers, who have made it clear that they prefer candidates with career-specific skills,” said College President Stephen M. Curtis.

Community College of Philadelphia is addressing this challenge by adding short-term, career-specific programs to train 210 laid-off and dislocated workers for jobs in advanced manufacturing, energy conservation and health care. The program offerings include:

  • Advanced Manufacturing Training. Classes begin July 9.Recruitment is currently underway for this 10-to-12-week program that teaches core skills and provides hands-on training in electrical and mechanical systems. Students prepare for the Advanced Manufacturing Integrated Systems Technology (AMIST) Level 1 certification. Potential job opportunities include electro mechanical technician, industrial engineering technician and production technician.
  • Energy Conservation (BPI) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification. BPI classes begin on June 11 and LEED classes will begin in early August. Recruitment is currently underway for both programs. A number of BPI courses are being offered including Building Analyst, Multifamily Analyst and Envelope, which prepares students to quantify performance and prescribe improvements to help tighten the building envelop. The Energy Efficient Building Operator course prepares individuals to become more proficient in building operations and maintenance and apply energy efficient principles to management of energy operations in larger buildings. Students who successfully complete the training and pass an exam can receive industry-recognized Building Performance Institute (BPI) certification, which can lead to stackable credentials.
  • Healthcare Core Curriculum, This six- to eight-week program is a hybrid class that includes class time and online courses. It provides an introductory foundation for students who have no experience in the health care industry, but who are interested in pursuing careers in that fast-growing field. Students will learn about health care systems, medical terminology, communications, basic computer functions and career options such as the Pharmacy Technician program. Students completing the course receive a certificate of completion. Classes will begin in late August or early September.

All applicants must be residents of Philadelphia, 18 or older with a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and have proof of being currently dislocated or unemployed with priority given to qualified U.S. veterans. Eligibility requirements differ for each career. Students who successfully complete the training and pass an exam will receive an industry-recognized certificate (Advanced Manufacturing and Energy only) and job placement assistance. For information, please email or call 215-496-6148.