Workforce Development Partnership Celebrates 100th Placement

by Navy Yard
November 27, 2023

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative and PIDC’s Navy Yard’s Partnership with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division Marks 100 Philadelphians Employed

Participants of the first Industrial Trades Program.

University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) and PIDC are excited to announce the completion of the inaugural Industrial Trades Program! This cohort marks the 100th placement of the partnership.

In 2020, PIDC and the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative teamed up to extend the successful cohort-based job training model of the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative to employers at the Navy Yard. As a result of this collaboration, 106 graduates have connected with Navy Yard employers with an average starting wage of $21.70/hour.

“We’re thrilled to announce the completion of the inaugural Industrial Trades Program. This shared achievement highlights our commitment to preparing individuals for successful careers and underscores the importance of collaboration in addressing critical gaps in the skilled trades,” said Cait Garozzo, Executive Director of the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative. “The partnership between WPSI, PIDC, and the U.S. Navy showcases the power of collective efforts in closing these gaps and fostering opportunities that prioritize both quality and equity in employment. Looking ahead, we’re not just excited but truly energized about the future cohorts and training programs planned for 2024. Rooted in our shared values, these programs will undoubtedly continue to bridge the gap between Navy Yard employers and local talent, embodying our steadfast dedication to job quality and equity in the ever-evolving landscape of workforce development.”

“The completion of the Industrial Skilled Trades Program is a significant achievement for the Navy Yard Skills Initiative for several reasons,” said Kate McNamara, PIDC’s Senior Vice President at the Navy Yard. “This program was the first Navy Yard Skills Initiative cohort we were able to partner with the U.S. Navy on, and through this program we were able to connect the 100th Philadelphian to a well-paying career at the Navy Yard. I’m proud of how our partnership with WPSI has connected Philadelphians to meaningful employment at Navy Yard companies like Philly Shipyard, Inc., Tasty Baking Company, Jefferson Health, Iovance Biotherapeutics, and now the U.S. Navy.”

About the Industrial Skilled Trades Program

The three-week Industrial Trades Program in partnership with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) prepared participants for their Industrial Trades Developmental Program (ITDP), which boasts permanent, full-time, union roles starting at $25/hour.

“NSWCPD is honored to have participated in this Industrial Skilled Trades Program and we look forward to 12 of its recent graduates negotiating our hiring process and becoming part of our team,” said Nigel C. Thijs, NSWCPD Technical Director and member of the Navy’s Senior Executive Service (SES).

“I am impressed with WPSI’s effort to prepare the program participants to meet our hiring criteria. As the industrial trade cohort is part of the Pennsylvania Talent Pipeline Program established by the Department of Defense, this initiative is key to closing a critical gap of skilled trades employees throughout the defense industrial base. Our partnership with PIDC and WPSI has greatly benefitted us, and we look forward to future cohorts,” Thijs added.

Nearly 400 applications were submitted, more than 100 were invited to interview, and just twelve were accepted into the program. Graduates have received conditional offers to start the ITDP program as Trainees and will work to become full performance Electricians. Enrollment in trade theory instruction will take place after employees have been onboard for a minimum of six months.

For 2024, the Navy Yard Skills Initiative is currently confirmed for four training programs to support the connection of Navy Yard employers and local talent. These programs are expected to serve over 60 participants.

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 employs approximately 2,800 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. The NSWCPD team provides the research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, cybersecurity, and in-service and logistics engineering for the non-nuclear machinery, ship machinery systems, and related equipment and material for Navy surface ships and submarines. By leveraging the latest science and technology, NSWCPD delivers innovative, reliable, cybersecure solutions for the U.S. Navy. The Division serves as a central point for academia and industry to join forces with Navy technical experts to develop solutions to needs in naval machinery.