Organization Overview

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. 

Brief History

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, 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

STRIVE Job Readiness and Industry Certification Program

The STRIVE (Successful Training Results in Valued Employment) model combines job-readiness and industry-specific job training that results in employment credentials and job placement. STRIVE, developed by an ex-offender and part of a national network, is a nationally-recognized work-readiness curriculum that helps students learn the approaches and behaviors that are most useful in securing and holding meaningful employment. WFI is the only STRIVE affiliate in the Philadelphia area. WFI’s STRIVE outcomes for workforce development are tremendous: 82% of participants earned skill-based certifications, including Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification and ServSafe certification, and over 84% of participants acquired jobs.

STRIVE Forward

The STRIVE Forward program is focused on addressing the educational and employment barriers faced by court-involved youth aged 14-24 while 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.

Mobility and Opportunity for Valuable Employment by Upskilling Parents (MOVE UP) Pilot WFI is part of a six-city national pilot project funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to help low-income, working parents move up the economic ladder into mid-level jobs along a career pathway. Through this pilot, WFI will work to help 100 entry-level minority parents of young children (aged eight and under) advance into mid-level jobs with increased 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 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.
Associate in Specialized Technology Degrees and Diploma offered

City College offers the following associate in specialized technology degrees (62 credits):
· Computer Support Specialist
· Software
· Web Design

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
Program is offered day and evening and can be completed in as little as 9 months.  
· Be at least 17 years old
· Have a high school diploma or GED
· Successfully complete a brief entrance assessment

Tuition, Fees, Schedule

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.

Student Supports and Services

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.
Tutorial Assistance – Individual and group tutoring is available to all students whose academic progress has fallen below acceptable standards.
Employment Placement Assistance – Students receive help on a range of topics related to the employment search and retention process, including business norms and protocol, the writing of cover letters and resume preparation, interviewing skills and practice, appropriate dress, and preparation of an employment search plan.

Employment Options

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


Contact Information

For more information about The Workforce Institute or City College, contact Wendy-Anne Roberts-Johnson, Executive Director at 215.825.8200 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can also visit the City College website, call us at 215-568-9215, or stop by City College at 1231 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122. 

For our workforce development programs, contact Veronica Phillips at 215.568.9216 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or stop by our offices at 4111 Lancaster Avenue, 2nd & 3rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Veronica Phillips
Director of Workforce Development
Phone: 215.568.9216

Board of Trustees

Employer Partners


Ways to Donate

Individual Donors 

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
4117 Lancaster Avenue, 2nd & 3rd 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.

For questions about EITC and how to donate, please contact Liz Hayden at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 267.350.7916.