Professional Development
Career development / Nonprofits / Tech jobs

Hopeworks to double Kensington student base with $1 million expansion in Philly

An anonymous donation will support more programming and bigger office space, CEO Dan Rhoton told Technical.ly.

Hopeworks students at the Kensington location (Courtesy Hopeworks)

This story is a part of Technical.ly’s Thriving Tech Communities Month. See the full 2024 editorial calendar.

Philly’s pool of fresh tech talent is about to get bigger.

Thanks to a $1 million donation to the workforce development organization Hopeworks, even more young Philadelphians will be placed into tech jobs this year. The Camden-based nonprofit plans to increase the amount of students it can train, add more program offerings and expand the space at its Kensington location.

“The growth of Hopeworks is only the start of the story,” Dan Rhoton, CEO of Hopeworks, told Technical.ly. “The thing that I’m looking forward to is 100 more young adults get[ting] jobs, buying houses, start[ing] families.”

The anonymous donation will help double the number of students at Hopeworks, Rhoton said. It will now be able to support 64 students at a time, instead of just 32. That will lead to an additional 100 people per year in tech jobs making sustainable wages, according to Rhoton.

The tech education nonprofit targets 17 to 27 year olds who face barriers to work, such as not finishing high school. Hopeworks provides them with training, work experience and employer connections. With a waitlist of 149 people eager to join, there wasn’t enough capacity to train that many people without additional resources, Rhoton said.

Hopeworks has placed 138 Philadelphians into jobs since opening its Kensington location in 2022.

Hopeworks adds new programs and office space

The $1 million donation will help Hopeworks expand its offerings. In addition to Hopeworks’ training in geographic information systems, web design and trauma-informed consulting programs, the organization will add a medical coding business to its roster of programming.

“[It] will allow us to work with hospitals and doctors offices to help them solve their data needs and also provide employment training for young adults,” Rhoton said.

The expansion will also include additional space at the Kensington location, the organization’s only Philly office. Hopeworks started across the river in Camden in 1999 and moved its headquarters to a new 13,000-square-foot office last summer. Now, Philly will get a similar upgrade adding 4,000 square feet to its space.

Over the past year and half Hopeworks has enjoyed being part of the community in Kensington, Rhoton said. The nonprofit has invested in building out its space and connecting with young people who are interested in working in tech.

“If this growth and expansion shows people that Kensington is a place where tech work is getting done, where young adults are getting great jobs, where arguably the city’s biggest problems are getting solved,” Rhoton said. “That’s what I’m really excited about is changing that narrative.”

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 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.
Companies: Hopeworks
Series: Thriving Tech Communities Month

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