The Workforce Institute (WFI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides job-readiness training, industry-specific training and certifications, student support services, and post-secondary associate in specialized technology degree programs for primarily low-income students who have experienced many barriers to employment and education. WFI addresses critical employer needs by developing students into highly qualified employees and building partnerships with employers in high-growth industries.
WFI’s mission is to transform lives by providing job readiness training, industry specific certifications and post-secondary education to those with limited resources, empowering them to pursue dynamic careers in the growing fields of technology, business and healthcare. By offering a supportive learning environment and personalized attention, WFI prepares even the most vulnerable students for sustainable careers and economic independence.
The Workforce Institute has provided essential workforce development and customized job training to the most vulnerable Philadelphians since 1974, helping low-income adults and older youth gain the skills they need to obtain quality jobs in high growth industries and break the cycle of poverty. Having trained nearly 20,000 men and women since its inception, WFI continues to achieve its mission. Last year, WFI provided customized job training and post-secondary education in allied health and computer technology to more than 200 students. WFI is a National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) site for medical coding and billing and other allied health certifications.
WFI is an affiliate of Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), a state-recognized Public Health Institute serving 350,000 people a year through a comprehensive range of programs and services addressing behavioral health, primary care, health information, education, training and technical assistance, research and evaluation, and fiscal management services. PHMC oversees 10 affiliates, over 250 programs with 1600 staff, and has a budget of $250,000,000.
News & Events
The Workforce Institute recognized as a Champion in Action for Strengthening Communities through Workforce Development. Citizens Bank, NBC10/Telemundo62 and Philadelphia Media Network, publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com, recognized The Workforce Institute as a 2016 Champion in Action® in the category of workforce development. An affiliate of the Public Health Management Corporation, The Workforce Institute will receive $35,000 in unrestricted funding, media coverage, and extensive promotional and volunteer support for its outstanding work.
The award honors The Workforce Institute for its work providing job readiness training, industry specific certifications, and post-secondary education to those with limited resources, empowering them to pursue dynamic careers in the growing fields of technology, business and healthcare.
Click here to read the full press release.
Workforce Development Programs
WFI provides work readiness training, job placement, and supports to over 150 vulnerable adults annually to help them gain and sustain employment. STRIVE (Successful Training Results in Valued Employment) is the nationally-recognized work readiness training program that is at the core of all WFI work readiness training. STRIVE training involves five components: Attitudinal and Job Readiness Training, Skills Training, Support Services, Job Placement, and Follow Up.
The core of the STRIVE employment model is the Attitudinal and Job Readiness Training that takes a “tough love, no excuses” approach to work readiness. The curriculum delves into the root causes of a person’s inability to obtain and keep a job, mentoring participants towards the attitudes and workplace behaviors they need to overcome employment obstacles and transform their lives.
Following successful completion of the Attitudinal and Job Readiness component, participants complete sector-based Skills Training toward earning industry-recognized certifications. The STRIVE Case Manager provides a variety of Support Services (e.g. child care or housing assistance) to address specific participant needs while they are enrolled in STRIVE, mentoring them to overcome the barriers that can prevent a successful transition to employment.
Job Placement services are provided by the STRIVE Job Developer who builds a rapport with participants, understanding their skill set and interests, and guides them toward appropriate jobs. During the hiring decision-making process, the Job Developer actively follows up with both the graduate and the employer. The Job Developer conducts post-employment follow up to ensure fit and adequate adjustment for the graduate.
STRIVE believes that no factor has a greater impact on job retention than supporting participants and graduates as they attend to personal and family needs. STRIVE has offers two-years of open-ended Follow Up for graduates of the programs, including career counseling, mentoring, support and referral services.
WFI is pleased to be part of the STRIVE Fresh Start Initiative launched October 2017. STRIVE Fresh Start is an innovative, comprehensive adult reentry project incorporating promising evidence-based interventions such as Moral Reconation Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, legal services, occupational skills training, and transitional jobs into our proven employment model. Fresh Start draws on reentry expertise from throughout the STRIVE network and will help individuals to not only become productive, law-abiding community members but connect them to sustainably growing job industries, stable housing, and supportive services to address mental health needs, substance abuse, and other issues.
STRIVE Fresh Start
WFI is pleased to be part of the STRIVE Fresh Start Initiative launched October 2017. STRIVE Fresh Start is an innovative, comprehensive adult reentry project incorporating promising evidence-based interventions such as Moral Reconation Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, legal services, occupational skills training, and transitional jobs into our proven employment model. Fresh Start draws on reentry expertise from throughout the STRIVE network and will help 80 returning citizens to not only become productive, law-abiding community members but connect them to sustainably growing job industries, stable housing, and supportive services to address mental health needs, substance abuse, and other issues.
Certified Professional Coder Program
WFI provides training toward Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) certification for 30 adults annually. The certification validates proficiency in the correct application of CPT®, HCPCS Level II procedure and supply codes, and ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes used for coding and billing for medical claims in a physician's office. The CPC is administered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). CPC course objectives include:
- Identify the purpose of the CPT®, ICD-10-CM Code Set, and HCPCS Level II code books
- Understand and apply the official ICD-10-CM coding guidelines
- Apply coding conventions when assigning diagnoses and procedure codes
- Identify the information in appendices of the CPT® manual
- Explain the determination of the levels of E/M services
- Code a wide variety of patient services using CPT®, ICD-10-CM, and HCPCS Level II codes
- List the major features of HCPCS Level II Codes
- Provide practical application of coding operative reports and evaluation and management services
Funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Mobility and Opportunity for Valuable Employment by Upskilling Parents (MOVE UP) Project WFI helps low-income, minority working parents move up the economic ladder and informs the workforce development field of effective strategies to achieve this goal. MOVE UP engages up to 100 incumbent minority working parents of children aged 8 and under, currently in low-wage, entry-level jobs and provides them training programs and career development and work supports with the expectation that at least 50 of them would move up in salary, hours and/or benefits. The MOVE UP Pilot includes the following three mobility services for workers: Upskilling opportunities, Career development (pre- and post-employment), and Work/Income supports.
The work of MOVE UP is grounded in employer relationships. Employers identify their career pathways and the relevant training, skills, and experience needed for advancement along these pathways. WFI offers relevant, employer-approved training programs to the employees. WFI provides additional supports to the employees including financial education and planning and links to other benefits and social supports to reduce barriers to employee success.
Youth Programs & Services
WFI supports up to 145 court-involved Philadelphia youth aged 14-24 helping them attain life-skills, obtain industry-recognized credentials, and secure in-demand occupational and employment skills needed to obtain jobs in demand industries using career pathways.
WFI utilizes culturally competent, experienced Case Managers/Instructors to support the youth. Case Managers conduct a cross-system intake assessment to ensure a smooth transition back to the community. WFI utilizes the STRIVE Active Career Exploration Mentor Model (ACE) that addresses life skills, social skills and coping strategies, positive decision-making and self-esteem, bullying, self-reflection, and the social, economic and political realities of community and society. Youth receive educational support services to support their attaining a high school diploma or equivalency. Youth set academic goals, which are monitored. This includes credit recovery and GED preparation instruction. WFI implements an ACE service-learning component for all youth, which provides youth with a positive youth development experience with high quality activities that foster critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communication and engage youth in service projects that connect them to real-world issues and viable solutions for their communities. Youth also receive legal assistance, where applicable, to help with records expungement. Youth are enrolled in STRIVE Forward for 6 months. Youth participate in a paid internship as part of the program to provide them work exposure and increase their chances of gaining longer-term employment. Youth receive help on a range of topics related to the employment search and retention process. Once youth obtain employment Case Managers continue to support them will all needs to ensure sustained employment. Follow up services occur for up to nine months.
Second Chance Project
WFI partners with the Philadelphia Juvenile Probation to offer workforce development supports to 100 youth returning from incarceration to help them find and retain meaningful employment.
Pathways to Justice Careers Mentoring Program
With funding from the US Department of Labor, through a grant from the Philadelphia Youth Network, WFI offers the Pathways to Justice Careers Mentoring Program (PJCMP). PJCMP connects local career and industry professionals in the justice and emergency services fields to 100 at risk youth aged 16-21 to help them explore careers in the justice and emergency services fields. Mentors share information about their career paths and encourage and support youth to explore careers in the target fields. Youth receive the following mentoring services:
- Career Panels – Two-hour bimonthly career panels where mentors provide information about their path to their careers, pros and cons of the career, what they would have done differently, and tips to the youth as they explore that career. Panel size and composition will vary. During this time mentors also provide additional career readiness supports including helping youth develop and tweak their resumes or facilitating mock interviews
- Contact with the youth – Twice monthly phone or in-person contacts with assigned mentors for following up on their career pathway planning activities.
21st Century Community Learning Center @ Overbook High School
WFI, in partnership with To Our Children’s Future With Health, Inc., provides workforce readiness skills training to 120 high school youth preparing them for post-secondary training or employment in the customer service and sales, information technology, and electrician fields.
WorkReady Summer Program
WFI provides up to 50 youth aged 14-21 with a six-week (120 hour) paid summer work experience. Youth are assigned to various worksites across the city. These paid work experience foster youth acquisition of 21st Century skills through work-based learning.
The Workforce Institute's City College Programs
The Workforce Institute’s City College (City College) is an accredited non-profit career and vocational college, licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Articulation agreements are in place with Philadelphia University, DeVry University, and University of Phoenix.
City College offers the following associate in specialized technology degrees (62 credits):
Programs are offered day and evening and can be completed in as little as 15 months.
City College offers the following diploma (40 credits):
· Health Information Technology
· Have a high school diploma or GED
· Successfully complete a brief entrance assessment
City College is affordable. Tuition is $387 per credit hour, with 62 credits needed for associate in specialized technology degree completion. Tuition is $276.25 per credit hour, with 40 credits needed for Health Information Technology Diploma completion. Most City College students receive federal and/or state financial aid and have a low debt burden post-graduation. Students complete associate in specialized technology degrees in as little as 15 months, taking 15-16 credits per 15-week semester. There is also an option to take fewer credits per semester and complete the program in up to 27 months. Students complete the health information technology diploma in as little as 9 months, taking 18-22 credits per 18-week semester. There is also an option to take fewer credits per semester and complete the program in up to 12 months.
Advising – All students are assigned an advisor who can provide them practical assistance in resolving personal or environmental problems that are barriers to successful class participation and employment.
City College boasts strong relationships dozens of employer partners including SEPTA, Thomas Jefferson University, City of Philadelphia, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Keystone First, Comcast, and Reimbursement Technologies. City College graduates obtain employment in a variety of fields. Typical job titles include:
- Computer Operator
- Help-Desk Support
- Network Installer
- Junior Web Designer
- User Support Technician
- IT Support Specialist
- Medical Record Technician
- Medical Document Scanner
- Patient Registrant
- Claims Representative
- Insurance Verifier
- Administrative Assistant
You can also visit the City College website, call us at 215-568-9215, or stop by City College at 4322 N. 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140.
Director of Workforce Development
Ways to Donate
The Workforce Institute is a United Way of Greater Philadelphia and South New Jersey agency. Please dedicate your donation to the following donor number: 1792.
Send a check to:
The Workforce Institute
4111 Lancaster Avenue, 2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104
The Workforce Institute is an Educational Improvement Organization and can receive donations through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's EITC tax credit program. For a two-year commitment, corporations receive a 90 percent tax credit.