Preparing Tomorrow’s Workforce

At some point in each of our professional lives, we need to call for some help. We tap into our network of connections to advance ourselves.

When you’re young and looking for your first job, that help could be asking a friend to put in a good word if their employer is hiring. Help could be as simple as practicing your firmest handshake with somebody before a big interview. And, if you’re lucky, you have a mentor to turn to for support — someone who can teach you the ropes as you chart your career path.

Episcopal Community Services serves as that friend and mentor to our youth participants. In a city like Philadelphia where the poverty and unemployment rates are staggering, the odds are stacked against many young people hoping to secure employment and financial stability.

To confront these barriers, we ask ourselves, “What do hardworking youth need to launch into the careers they deserve?” The answer varies.

ECS’ workforce development initiatives are tailored to meet young people where they are and offer services that are both proficiency-level and age appropriate. These programs build skills, provide career exposure, and offer paid work experience — each individualized through thoughtful case-by-case management.

Seeing Youth Succeed (SYS) serves youth ages 14 through 18. Rather than building technical competencies, its primary focus is on the soft professional skills gained through project-based learning activities — promoting critical thinking, accountability, and ultimately, preparing each teen for adulthood.

The RISE Initiative supports young adults ages 18 through 25 with one-on-one employment and career coaching as they move through the steps necessary to gain employment, such as resume building, submitting job applications, interviewing, and networking.

Through The ECS Employment Center, qualified participants are connected to internships, boosting their resumes and offering real-world experience. And since internships are often unpaid, ECS covers compensation, providing interns with a fair, sustainable wage and transportation costs. ECS has developed strong bonds with various employers who inform us of the skills they seek in their employees, allowing us to tailor-fit our training of participants — leading them to long-term, meaningful employment. While some offer jobs, others, just as valuably, provide mentorship to participants.

Navigating one’s way through a competitive job market and landing an entry-level position is no easy feat. Job listings often remain hidden and leave even the most eligible candidates in the dark.

At Episcopal Community Services, we believe that every person deserves a life of stability, wellness, and independence. By providing the skills and resources necessary for sustainable employment and financial security, our workforce development initiatives honor that notion, and honor each person served.