WPSI Cohort in Classroom

Replicate Our Model

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) has developed a successful workforce recruitment and training program that provides major Philadelphia employers with high-quality candidates, while working to address the issues of unemployment in high-poverty zip codes. Over the last decade, WPSI has refined its approach using rigorous data analysis, extensive feedback from alumni and employer partners, and the latest research in human resource development. This continual improvement has driven consistently impressive outcomes:
  • 93% of program graduates placed into jobs
  • 83% one-year retention at job placements
  • $17.96 average hourly wage for graduates.
With support from JPMorgan Chase Foundation, WPSI is partnering with peer nonprofits to replicate its program nationally. National partners receive a replication toolkit, in-person visits, and support from WPSI subject matter experts to ensure a successful transfer of knowledge and program implementation. WPSI has successfully replicated aspects of its approach in North Philadelphia, South Philadelphia, and Memphis, Tennessee. We invite you to join our growing roster of partners and learn how to effectively recruit, train, and place individuals into high-quality jobs!
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The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) | Replicate Our Model
The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) | Replicate Our Model

Philosophy & Approach

WPSI’s assets-based philosophy rests on three pillars.
  1. High unemployment within WPSI’s programmatic boundaries is caused by a lack of access to opportunities, not a lack of skilled individuals.
  2. Local employers struggle to fill entry-level jobs because of their selection process, not because of a lack of qualified candidates.
  3. Working with WPSI is a good business decision for employer partners.

Learn more about WPSI's Philosophy and Approach

Why WPSI Works

To successfully match employers to qualifying job seekers, WPSI spends several months working with employers to find a high-quality, career-ladder, entry-level job and to understand the requirements to succeed in the target job. WPSI staff look for jobs that do not require college degrees. WPSI uses this research to create a recruiting process to find qualified candidates, and to craft a custom professional development curriculum. After the program, WPSI supports graduates through the job interview and onboarding process. Finally, WPSI provides lifetime career exploration and career coaching support to alumni of the program.

WPSI’s team spends 3-6 months interviewing and observing employees in the target position to understand what hard and soft skills are necessary to succeed in the job.

Every aspect of WPSI’s workforce programming is adaptable to meet the needs of employers and participants. WPSI uses the information gained during the employer onboarding process to create a recruiting and interview process that identifies qualified candidates for the target job. WPSI’s curriculum development team creates a professional development curriculum to provide a foundational skills training program that makes executive-level career coaching relevant for entry-level workers and maximizes participants’ chance of success during employer interviews and on the job.

WPSI guides participants through the process of preparing for the application and interview with the target employer. This coaching support does not end once the participant receives a job; WPSI staff continue to support participants until their first day on the job, reducing attrition that happens due to failure to complete background checks, assessments, and other onboarding requirements.

WPSI has been tracking data closely since its first year of operation. All major programmatic decisions are data-informed and incorporate the latest research in business management, organizational dynamics, career exploration and adult education.

Full Program Replication

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) | Classroom


WPSI works with organizations in other cities to fully replicate every aspect of our program. Our team has dedicated staff to help your organization learn and implement our practices. We provide an extensive toolkit, on-site visits, ongoing virtual support, and data collection and analysis to ensure your success. WPSI works with partners to support their fundraising efforts by meeting with potential funders and sharing the value of WPSI’s approach for workforce development efforts.

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) | Graduation

Replication Models

  • Identifying and engaging employer partners
  • Building long-term employer partnerships
  • Creating a curriculum Recruiting excellent job candidates
  • Collecting and analyzing data to demonstrate long-term impact
  • Creating an organizational infrastructure
WPSI cohort classroom discussion

Replication Partners

WPSI looks forward to partnering with peer workforce development organizations, anchor collaboratives, and other established organizations looking to create an effective talent placement program for local employers.

Current Clients

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