Partnership Announced to Connect Philadelphians with Career Training in the Skilled Trades Starting at $25/hr

by Navy Yard
September 18, 2023

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative and PIDC’s Navy Yard Skills Initiative Launch Professional Development Program with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division for Union Careers

University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) and PIDC’s Navy Yard Skills Initiative (NYSI) launched a program to train Philadelphia residents for permanent, full-time, union careers starting at $25/hour with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD). The partnership is made possible by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Recruitment for the program starts September 19 and goes through September 29, 2023. Recruitment and application information can be found on The Navy Yard website (

The pilot program builds a pipeline to NSWCPD’s Industrial Trades Developmental Program (ITDP), a 2-year paid training consisting of trade theory instruction and on-the-job skills training before starting as either a Machinery Mechanic or Electrician. The ITDP was developed to ensure the defense and maritime ecosystems have the people and trades needed to meet the current and future demands of the U.S. Navy. Serving as the Navy’s primary technical expertise for both naval machinery research and development and naval machinery lifecycle engineering, the NSWCPD facility at The Navy Yard employs approximately 2,800 people.

“I am excited to begin this partnership with the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative,” said Nigel Thijs, Division Technical Director of NSWCPD and member of the Navy’s Senior Executive Service (SES). “This program will create a trades cohort that offers secure employment opportunities to Philadelphia area residents while strengthening the technical depth and breadth of our Navy skilled trades workforce. This initiative supports the Pennsylvania Talent Pipeline Program established by the Department of Defense to close a critical gap of skilled trades employees throughout the defense industrial base.”

For the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative and PIDC’s Navy Yard Skills Initiative, the Industrial Trades Program partnership is an exciting opportunity to expand access to skilled trades work in Philadelphia. “As the nation faces a skilled trades labor shortage, this partnership has the opportunity to position Philadelphia as a model for how to solve the labor crisis in a way that is inclusive and equitable,” said Cait Garozzo, Executive Director of the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative.

In 2020, PIDC and the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative launched the Navy Yard Skills Initiative to bring the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative’s high-performing cohort-based jobs-driven training model to Navy Yard employers. The collaboration has resulted in nearly 100 graduates connecting with Navy Yard employers.

“This is the 11th Navy Yard Skills Initiative cohort and the first one we’ve been able to partner with the U.S. Navy on,” said Kate McNamara, PIDC’s Senior Vice President, Navy Yard. “It’s truly amazing to see that this workforce development program has been able to serve the diverse businesses at the Navy Yard from shipbuilding, food manufacturing, healthcare, advanced life sciences and now the Navy. Even though the military base closed in 1996, the Navy’s presence here is strong, and they are still one of the largest employers at the Navy Yard. This partnership shows how we are growing together and creating quality, well-paying career opportunities for Philadelphians.”

Program Information

Recruitment for the 3-week paid program begins on Tuesday, September 19, and goes through September 29, 2023. Program participants will practice the skills needed to be successful as an ITDP Trainee and receive onboarding support as they navigate the process to obtaining all required clearances. Graduates from the program will go on to enter the ITDP and earn $25/hour to start.

To apply, candidates must be a resident of Philadelphia county, commit to the full training schedule, possess a high school diploma or GED, and be able to pass a physical.

Additional information on the program can be found at

About the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) is one of the nation’s most successful workforce development organizations. For 10 years, WPSI has solidified its role as one of the highest performing workforce intermediaries in the country by building customized talent solutions that bridge the divide between unemployed Philadelphians seeking opportunity and employers seeking talent. WPSI focuses on professional development and career coaching for adults.

About PIDC and the Philadelphia Navy Yard

PIDC is Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation. Since acquiring the 1,200-acre site from the federal government in 2000, PIDC has been the master developer and site operator of the Navy Yard. PIDC’s mission—to spur investment, support business growth, and facilitate developments that create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, and drive growth to every corner of Philadelphia—strongly informs its strategy for the Navy Yard, where the focus is on building a cohesive community that fosters employment, innovation, and production. PIDC manages all aspects of the property’s management and development, including master planning, leasing, property management, infrastructure development, utility operation, and structuring development transactions. |

About Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division

NSWCPD provides the Navy’s primary technical expertise and facilities for both naval machinery research and development and naval machinery lifecycle engineering. NSWCPD is responsible for the machinery systems core equity of the Ship and Ship Systems Product Area for the United States Navy and serves as a central point for academia and industry to join forces with Navy technical experts to develop solutions to needs in naval machinery. Consistent with its core equity responsibility, NSWCPD fulfills key functions including research, design, development, shipboard and land-based test and evaluation, acquisition support, in-service engineering, Fleet engineering, integrated logistics support and concepts and overall life cycle engineering.