The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI), our nationally renowned job training program that connects local residents seeking opportunity with employers seeking talent, enjoyed a busy end to 2018. The Skills Initiative completed several cohorts, began recruitment for more, and made exciting staff changes that will help our program grow and reach our goal of serving 400 participants a year by 2021.
In order to serve more jobseekers and employers, we’ve made changes to the team, starting with our existing team. Joshua Park will now serve as Senior Manager of Employer Services (EST), managing and improving the full employer partner experience, while also overseeing jobseeker recruitment, assessment, and selection for each cohort. Caitlin Garazzo is now our Senior Manager of Learning and Development where she will lead our Participant Services Team (PST), designing and managing the WPSI participant experience both during and after the program. WPSI graduate Joyce Bacon will continue her outstanding work with participants under her new title as the Manager of Coaching & Support Services.
The Skills Initiative has also hired three new staff members. After a comprehensive search, Taylor Keitt, Fontaine Gutierrez, and Patrick Bayer have joined WPSI, adding new talent and skills to our dynamic team.
Taylor is our new Manager of Participant Services, where he will serve as a key member of the Participant Services Team, supporting every aspect of the participant experience with a particular focus on alumni programming. We’re excited for Taylor to bring the skills and insight that he has gained as a result of his time with the Department of Public Welfare, years working as a tax preparer, and his recently acquired master’s degree in Social Work and Social Research from Bryn Mawr College.
Fontaine Gutierrez has assumed the role of Operations Coordinator. Fontaine is primarily responsible for increasing the effectiveness of WPSI’s business practices. She will work across the team to review practices and improve the quality of services provided to WPSI stakeholders. Fontaine previously worked with the Philadelphia Youth Network as a Business Partnership Specialist, and with local organizations Career Wardrobe and Philly AIDS Thrift.
Patrick Bayer is our new Manager of Continuous Improvement. Patrick will assess the WPSI program’s overall effectiveness through the development of formal evaluation metrics, working closely with participants and employers to build the relationships that are necessary to create a holistic evaluation. We are thrilled to welcome Patrick back to UCD, where he previously worked on our initial business plan for our landscaping social venture Green City Works through a role with the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity. He most recently worked at Philadelphia Works.
We are excited by these staff changes, and look forward to expanding our crucial work within the community. Learn more about the Skills Initiative and current recruitments at www.universitycity.org/wpsi.