People & Partners
University City District:
University City District is a partnership of world-renowned anchor institutions, small businesses, and residents that creates opportunity, and improves economic vitality and quality of life in the University City area of West Philadelphia. UCD’s primary mission is community revitalization. We work within a place-based, data-driven framework to invest in world-class public spaces, address crime and public safety, bring life to commercial corridors, connect residents to careers, and promote job growth and innovation.
Matt leads University City District (UCD), a partnership of anchor institutions, business leaders, and community groups invested in the shared vitality of the 2.4 square mile area of Philadelphia.
Senior Manager of Economic Development and Analysis
Patrick oversees WPSI’s data systems, and works to assess the program’s overall effectiveness through the development of formal evaluation metrics.
Manager of Employer Services
Lauren is responsible for maintaining and growing WPSI’s employer relationships, supporting targeted recruitment efforts, and lending her expertise to grow our impact within our employer partners’ organizations.
Cait designs and manages the WPSI participant experience both during and after the program.
Fontaine works across the team to increase the effectiveness of WPSI’s business practices.
Senior Manager of Civic Strategies
Mariya works to export successful UCD ideas to other communities, and import impactful ideas from other places to try to embed within our work to help our place-shaping initiatives.
Senior Manager of Strategy and Partnerships
Josh fosters WPSI’s relationships with employers, funders, and other workforce organizations to open new career pathway opportunities for talent across Philadelphia.
Manager of Participant & Alumni Engagement
Natasha brings 15+ years of training, advising and career coaching to the organization, and is passionate about personal and professional development, community empowerment, and is a natural relationship builder.
Dr. Romaine Thrower, Ed.D
Senior Manager of Training Programs
Romaine serves as an expert on instructional design methodologies that allows her plan, implement, and supervise key aspects of WPSI’s nationally recognized job training program.
Coordinator of Operations and Administration
Jennine works across WPSI and UCD to provide logistical support and coordination across projects.
The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative would not be possible without the continued support of our funders. Their funding has been instrumental in connecting over 1,000 opportunity seekers to jobs with clear career paths and family-sustaining wages since WPSI’s inception. Our thanks to the following organizations who have made substantial, enduring investments in our success:
- Lenfest Foundation
- JPMorgan Chase
- Bank of America
- Citizens Bank
- Connelly Foundation
- Lincoln Financial Foundation
- LISC Philly
- Pew Charitable Trusts
- United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey
West Philadelphia Skills Initiative is grateful to University City District’s Board of Directors for supporting its founding, growth, and operations. We are thankful for our board members’ generous financial contributions to University City District and their partnership in building this organization.