We are pleased to announce the hiring of Sarah Steltz as our organization’s new Vice President for Workforce Solutions. In her new role, Sarah will oversee University City District’s nationally renowned job training program, the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, and lead UCD’s efforts to connect talented local residents to University City’s explosive economic growth.
Sarah will join UCD in May 2018 after working for Drexel University for ten years, most recently as Director of Workforce and Economic Inclusion on Drexel’s University and Community Partnerships (UCP) team. She brings rich experience in organizational dynamics, talent management, program development, training, and adult education. Sarah started as a consultant in Drexel’s Human Resources Department, and created Drexel’s first workforce development role, focusing on the recruitment, training, hiring, and retention of West Philadelphia residents. Upon joining UCP in 2014, Sarah’s portfolio expanded beyond workforce to include construction inclusion and supplier diversity. Sarah served on the launch team for the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, Drexel’s urban extension center, and she oversaw all adult education, technology, and workforce programming offered in the 3 computer labs on-site. Sarah worked in the corporate sector prior to joining Drexel in 2008.
While working with Drexel, Sarah was a key collaborator with the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, facilitating partnerships that led to the creation of a Medical Assistant pipeline program that the Skills Initiative ran for the Drexel University College of Medicine, as well as a training program for positions with the Chesterbrook Academy Preschool located on Drexel’s campus.
“We’re thrilled to have Sarah join our talented team,” said Matt Bergheiser, UCD’s President. “Her work at Drexel University embodied the very best of what it takes to connect individuals to the kinds of life-changing opportunities that transform communities, and her experience as an employer will allow us to connect employers to the kind of talent needed to fuel their growth. She brings this focus and expertise to UCD at a moment of unrivaled growth and possibility for the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative.”
“I am thrilled to be joining University City District’s wonderful staff and contributing to the stellar work of the Skills Initiative,” remarked Steltz. “I’ve been lucky enough to work with the Skills Initiative as an employer partner for over five years, so I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand the impact that the Skills Initiative can bring to both employers and jobseekers. This exciting moment of growth in West Philadelphia presents a lot of opportunity, but it also presents challenges to equity in our community, and I think the Skills Initiative can help ensure that we’re bridging the gap between opportunity and talent.”
Since UCD launched the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative in 2011, the program has served approximately 800 individuals, and has placed over 90% of its graduates in jobs that pay family-sustaining wages, while offering opportunities for growth and advancement. Over time, the program has generated $15.4 million in wages for previously unemployed West Philadelphians. UCD has recently raised $5.25 million to expand its mission of connecting talented local residents to work while helping employer partners find and retain the talent they need.