Guest Commentator: Timothy Smith, Manager of Employment Services, Philadelphia Works, Inc. @Philaworks

What resources should employers leverage to upskill and reskill their workers?

As the City’s Workforce Development Board, Philadelphia Works understands how vital it is for employers to have access to the resources they need to hire, grow, and retain talent. Maintaining a dynamic pipeline of skilled workers for employers to recruit from is a significant part of a thriving workforce system, however, the work doesn’t stop there. To stay competitive and to retain talent, employers must keep their workers growing in knowledge and skill of industry.

Upskilling/Re-skilling employees can pull heavily on employers’ resources. Time and cost play significant factors in the ability to keep employees on a growth trajectory in their respected industries.  Philadelphia Works believes that this is vital, not only for employers but for the overall strength of our local economy. For this reason, we have made it a priority to engage, partner, and offer several resources to assist employers in the sustainability and growth of their businesses.

To offset the cost of training employees, employers can take advantage of our On-the-Job Training (OJT) program. Employers interested in OJT are typically looking to quickly onboard and train new employees.

For workers who have an established work history, we offer Incumbent Worker Training (IWT). Utilizing IWT delivers workers the necessary skills to remain in their position, advance in the company, or to avoid a layoff.

Pre-Apprenticeships and Apprenticeships are trending models in workforce development. Pre-Apprenticeships prepare workers for the minimum requirements for entry into an established Apprenticeship program, while Apprenticeships offer a combination of OJT and related classroom instruction where workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of highly skilled occupations.

In addition to these core resources, employers should also be aware of their access to Customized-Job-Training (CJT), Industry Partnerships (IP), and Rapid Response programs. CJT is training to specifically meet the needs of employers who agree to contribute to the cost of the training and to hire individuals upon training completion. Our Industry Partnerships brings together employers, workers, and job training providers from a single industry sector to collaborate on improving the industry’s competitiveness and address common workforce needs. Our most successful IP to date is our advanced manufacturing IP (SEPMA), which currently consists of over 60 employers and more than 35 affiliate partners. Finally, Rapid Response Programs are for individuals who have had their position terminated or have been notified of an impending layoff. Outreach is provided to those impacted workers to get them re-employed as quickly as possible.  It’s important to note that many of the solutions listed may give dislocated workers in Pennsylvania priority status.

For more information on the resources available through Philadelphia Works, visit the “Hire and Grow Talent” section of our website or contact me at TSmith@PhilaWorks.org.


Philadelphia Works, Inc. is a member of the Chamber’s Education & Talent Action Team, a group of 140+ Chamber members focused on creating clear pathways for the alignment between individuals and employers to assure that we are training and engaging the region’s current and future leaders.