Philadelphia Works President and CEO Patrick Clancy told Technical.ly the new program will both provide job opportunities and support employers’ talent needs. The partnership will combine academic instruction with on-the-job training, as students will work 28 hours a week for Aon, and spend 12 hours a week in courses at the Community College of Philadelphia.
“Historically, most apprenticeships have been in building trades,” he said. “What we’re seeing is more and more jobs in IT and healthcare. The main value is in retention. Studies show if you pay a person and give them opportunities, they will stay.”
Philadelphia Works is the city’s workforce development board, a nonprofit, quasi-public organization serving employers and connecting career seekers to employment and training opportunities. For Aon’s part, the partnership is its latest effort in the United States to connect young people in urban settings with job opportunities: Before Philadelphia, Aon launched a similar project in Chicago.
The significance of Aon’s partnership with Philadelphia Works comes in what it offers as an apprenticeship instead of an internship. With the former, the program is more structured and includes at least 188 hours of instruction. And upon completion of the program, participants are guaranteed jobs.
Clancy explained that for the partnership, Aon will hire 15 young people to work 40 hours a week, with benefits, in preparation for business analyst positions. The program will connect later them with full-time employers. In addition to the opportunities provided to the apprentices, employers will benefit by being introduced to talent with associate degrees.
“Other models have relied on public subsidy or somebody to invest money toward training,” he said. “Aon is taking on full investment. We’ll also help individuals with case management. We’ll provide wraparound services to help people understand the value of this opportunity.”
This program is set to start in September 2021.
Beyond the Aon partnership, Philadelphia Works helps employers navigate getting their own apprenticeships approved in the commonwealth and on a federal level.
“We can mitigate people’s hesitancy on the employer side and if the employers need help finding instructional partners, whether it’s a university or corporate partner,” he said.
Michael Butler is a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.-30-
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