The Roadmap for Growth is a multi-year initiative of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia to engage Mayor Jim Kenney and City Council in a shared agenda to promote economic growth and job creation in the City of Philadelphia.


Guest Commentator:  Jim Cawley – President & CEO, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and Member, Board of Directors, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

What role can we play in improving PreK-12 public education and strengthening charter, parochial and private schools in Philadelphia?

Each of us has a role to play in the education of our youth because the future of our region is tied directly to their ability to succeed. High school graduates have higher earning potential, contribute more to their local economies, and are more engaged in their communities, but high school success benefits from a strong early start. Investing in quality early education helps children enter Kindergarten ready to learn. Ensuring children can read at grade level by the end of third grade improves the likelihood that they will graduate high school on time. Intervening in middle grades when students show risk factors for dropping out (poor attendance, behavior or grades) helps them get back on track to success before it’s too late. Perhaps most important, getting involved can make all the difference – read to a child, be a mentor, provide a WorkReady internship or advocate for sound education policy.

How can we better align curriculums across the continuum of education with the workforce needs of local companies and industries?

By listening to the companies and designing curricula around their needs, key to this issue is understanding education and workforce issues not as separate bodies of work, but as points along a connected spectrum. One area in which we have seen success is through our work with the Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN), a public/private collaborative that supports industry-led partnerships to train low-wage workers for available high-demand, mid-skilled positions. These efforts enhance the regional workforce system to better meet the needs of 21st century workers and employers. For example, JOIN recently funded The Green City Works employment initiative, a nonprofit landscaping venture from University City District (UCD) with a two-year seed grant as