Announcing the Third Class of WPSI Scholars

WPSI participants in the classroom

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) is pleased to name the third annual class of WPSI Scholars. These ten Skills Initiative alumni will each receive financial assistance to help with continuing their professional education. Through generous funding from the Chappell- Culpeper Foundation, Scholars each receive a $2,000 scholarship toward tuition to cover degree, certification, or credentialing programs.


Our nationally-recognized program provides best-in-class workforce development programs for Philadelphia’s residents to connect with the area’s top employers. Recent employer partners have included Iovance Biotherapeutics, Philly Shipyard, Inc., the University of Pennsylvania, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Since July 1st of 2022, 96% of Skills Initiative graduates have been successfully connected to employment at an average starting wage of $19.80.


“When participants join our programs, we are not only thinking about how we can serve them now, but also how we can continue to serve them as they grow both personally and professionally,” says Skills Initiative Director of Programs Romaine Thrower, Ed.D. “It is exciting to watch our participants pursue new opportunities and we want them to know that we will continue to support them along the way.” Since the inception of the scholarship, $64,000 has been awarded to a total of 40 alumni.


The Chappell-Culpeper Foundation has been instrumental to the continued growth of the Skills Initiative’s alumni support programming. In 2022, they awarded $100,000 per year for two years. “Chappell-Culpeper Family Foundation is thrilled to support the upskilling and continuing education of talented Philadelphians through the WPSI Scholars program. Congratulations to all the graduates!” says Rebecca Tone, Managing Director, Chappell Culpeper Family Foundation.


Below, meet the 2023 WPSI Scholars. Our thanks to the Chappell-Culpeper Foundation for supporting this endeavor, and we wish the recipients the best of luck as they continue their educations

The WPSI alumni selected as WPSI Scholars include:

Kishon Chambers

University of Pennsylvania
Masters of Public Health

Shaneen Cheatham

Health & Technology Training Institute
Licensed Practical Nurse

Ciera Gordon

Pennsylvania Institute of Technology
Physical Therapy Assistant

Shannon McKinney

Lasalle University

Akhirah Miller

Temple University

Jasmine Ruffin

Community College of Philadelphia
Health Care Studies

Felicia Tucker

Community College of Philadelphia
Health Care Studies

Shakeith Washington-Carr

Strayer University
Masters in Business Administration