An outdated local community heart offers new workforce solutions

With the support of a a single-yr, $2.5 million grant from the Lenfest Foundation, Temple University’s Lenfest North Philadelphia Workforce Initiative (LNPWI) is leasing the former Norris Group Middle space situated at 1915 N. 11th Avenue and turning it into a centre for workforce advancement. LNPWI seeks to reinforce the earning prospective of community communities by providing occupation schooling and job readiness applications that guide to sustainable work.

Dubbed the Opportunities for Workforce Management (OWL) Hub, the new area provides North Philadelphia inhabitants with no cost entry to a pc lab with world-wide-web provider, as nicely as free of charge or reduced-charge grownup training lessons. Just after members total personal computer literacy lessons, the OWL Hub offers them desktops and electronic products they can carry residence, by the Temple Tech for Philly initiative.

The OWL Hub will be managed by the Lenfest Heart for Community Workforce Partnerships in collaboration with the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) and Temple’s Computer system Recycling Middle (CRC), the College or university of Training and Human Improvement, LNPWI, and the Pan-African Scientific tests Neighborhood Education and learning Software (PASCEP).

LNPWI’s strategy to rent the Norris Homes Group Middle room for the OWL Hub begun in early 2020 soon after PHA developed a new group centre. LNPWI Government Director Shirley Moy said the offered space was a fantastic location for her office to provide workforce companies in the Norris Properties group. 

“I feel it is vital to have sources close by and out there wherever neighborhood citizens can conveniently get providers,” mentioned Moy. “PHA and Temple have a good deal of connectivity and have been really supportive with the effort and hard work to reinvigorate the local community.”

“A whole lot of LNPWI’s operate involves doing the job with younger people around schooling but also all around workforce development,” extra Moy. “The centre provides a cost-free laptop lab with net access and options to get lessons to study digital know-how competencies and build on qualified improvement competencies.” 

Temple’s Computer Recycling Center (CRC) will use area within the OWL Hub identified as the Electronic Fairness Middle. CRC is a program that collects and refurbishes desktops and electronic equipment from throughout the college and distributes a great deal-desired desktops, screens, laptops, digital shows and servers to the group in North Philadelphia.

“We desired to have a laptop lab in a public area where by the group can get connected to pcs, digital devices and the online mainly because there is a huge digital divide in Philadelphia, and it’s even additional outstanding in North Philadelphia,” pointed out Jonathan Latko, executive director of facts technological innovation products and services at Temple University. 

“My goal is to set up a tech guidance network to guidance people’s technological know-how as we hand out computer systems to the community,” explained Latko. “The purpose in the initially calendar year is to give concerning 300 and 400 pcs into the community.” 

He additional that some of the devices supplied out arrived from the #PHLDonateTech campaign with guidance from the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia. 

Graphic of Sean Mitchell, crew leader for the Digital Equity Centre instructing a North Philadelphia resident on how to set up a desktop personal computer. (Image by Ryan S. Brandenberg) 

In addition, Latko said there was a want to get the group accessibility to the web, so as section of the CRC’s software they will hand out online vouchers for six to 12 months of company through Comcast Web Essentials for individuals who qualify.

His workforce will also aid neighbors get accessibility to federal authorities money, together with up to $50 a thirty day period from the Emergency Broadband Advantage, letting residents to get broadband from a supplier and get connected to the online. 

Residents who have to have to discover the principles of how to use and established up a computer system can acquire courses at the OWL Hub by means of Temple’s Pan-African Studies Neighborhood Education Program (PASCEP), a lower-expense, noncredit continuing education and learning software. As aspect of the plan, people interested in obtaining desktops and digital gear to use at dwelling will be required to first take a four-component course on the essentials of computer systems.

In accordance to PASCEP Director Ulicia Lawrence-Oladeinde, PASCEP’s collaboration with the CRC adds worth to Temple’s endeavours to establish digital accessibility and literacy in the 8 ZIP codes encompassing the university.


(Picture by Ryan S. Brandenberg) 

“This centre assists construct electronic equity and electronic literacy for the neighborhood through Jonathan Latko’s workforce and provides extra house for adult education lessons,” reported Lawrence-Oladeinde. “The collaboration with LNPWI gave PASCEP an prospect to have added staffing and means to boost the range of educational classes presented for the neighborhood.” 

PASCEP’s OWL Hub also presents totally free virtual workforce growth and occupation readiness classes funded by LNPWI. 

“If there are individuals who need assistance to obtain their GED/higher university equivalency diploma or improve other locations of instruction, we want to support them in building a occupation route,” added Lawrence-Oladeinde. “We provide coaching for education and employment purpose-location to support our college students land and retain a position.”