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together we chart the path.


Training Fund, LISC and Citizens Charitable Foundation partner to increase employment and retention for Philadelphia jobseekers 

Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney joined Citizens Bank regional president and Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Board member Dan Fitzpatrick for a launch ceremony recognizing the Training Fund and Philadelphia LISC's successful "Bridges to Career Opportunity" partnership, now in its fourth year of providing Training Fund students with career and financial coaching.

Download the Training Fund's Connections Newsletter here for the full story: Connections, Vol. 1 Iss. 1 (Spring 2019)

Philadelphia, PA - February 19th, 2019: Last month, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit, announced their expanded national partnership with Citizens Bank’s Citizens Charitable Foundation, and the support of a $125,000 grant to the Training Fund to continue the critical supports that Brittany received as students train, gain employment, improve their financial situations, and build economic stability. With this investment, the Training Fund will focus on client retention to keep students on track to achieve their goals and to continuously serve their most pressing needs related to education, career advancement and money

Students stay connected to the Training Fund through emails, phone calls and face-to-face meetings. With one-on-one financial
coaching, students improve credit scores, reduce debt and set financial goals, i.e. save for a car or a home. To advance professional
goals, students get advice regarding training opportunities and career advancement. These supports work two-fold, benefiting students seeking employment and financial stability and employers seeking skilled and stable employees, thus to reduce turnover costs and improve workforce quality.

“We are extremely thankful for the opportunity to expand the Bridges to Career Opportunities program to include a focus on retention services supporting graduates of the Training Fund’s occupational training programs as they transition successfully into new employment and navigate challenges they may face,” said Cheryl Feldman, executive director of the Training Fund.

The grant is part of a national push by LISC and Citizens Bank to connect unemployed and underemployed workers in Philadelphia,
Boston and Providence to education, training, career and financial coaching in fast-growing, family-sustaining fields, particularly

“It is vital that we work together to ensure that people have the skills necessary to reach their potential in the economy of tomorrow,” said Bruce Van Saun, CEO and Chairman of Citizens Financial Group.

In Philadelphia, where the Training Fund has been chosen to implement this program, the scope will focus on adult students, including English language learners, and future home health aides. After becoming home health aides, twelve students will
receive scholarships to train for Nursing Assistant certification, placing them on a career pathway towards Registered Nursing (RN) and beyond.

“This retention idea is absolutely fantastic,” said Erika Shearlds-Hill, the Training Fund’s new Retention Specialist, a grant-funded position. “We’re the listening ear. That is so crucial. Retention allows for barriers to be dropped and conversations to begin,” responding to concerns and hopes of employers and students.

Shearlds-Hill sees her job as cementing relationships with longstanding Training Fund employer partners and cultivating new ones.
“There’s always something more an employee needs that is going to be useful to an employer,” she said. “Both are trying to get to the same thing. As an employee, I want to learn more. And employers can say, `I have an employee who will not only bring longevity, but who will bring talents and creativity to the table.”

Shearlds-Hill also keeps in touch with Training Fund graduates and refers them to her BCO coaching counterparts — Mark Karcz, Career Coach; Nathaniel Dixon, Financial Counselor, and Stephanie Webb, Program Manager. “I like how all the parts come together to serve the students long term and holistically, in an integrated way,” Webb said. “We are able provide them with individualized coaching, integrating career and financial concepts into the classroom.”