Philadelphia gets $75,000 to address racial inequality, workforce development

    Members of Temple University's Class of 2011 wait to begin their graduation march.  (AP photo/Matt Rourke)

    Members of Temple University's Class of 2011 wait to begin their graduation march. (AP photo/Matt Rourke)

    Philadelphia is one of five cities awarded the grant from the nonprofit Living Cities.

    Philadelphia will use the grant, from the nonprofit Living Cities, to improve racial equality in its government operations. The city will focus on workforce development for people between ages 16 to 24.

    That seems like a big task for a small sum.

    But Ben Hecht, president and CEO of Living Cities, says it’s not about the money. “We’re actually just helping the cities do what they would otherwise want to do, and giving them a modest amount of flexible dollars, but more importantly, the time to focus on the problem.”

    Philadelphia is one of five cities that are receiving this grant, and Hecht says the program will give the cities a chance to learn from each other. Twelve cities applied for the grant.

    Philadelphia stood out in the competition, Hecht says. “There’s really been this ongoing commitment to equality [and] to addressing poverty and trying to attack these problems in a very vocal, visible way, which is not true in a lot of other places around the country,” he said.

    Maryum Darby-Madison, the city’s director of youth workforce and development, says the grant project is in the very beginning stages, and it “will give us the opportunity to make [this issue] a priority and begin to have dialogue across the city in a very intentional way.” Living Cities will also give the city the tools and structure to address problems. 

    The city’s goal is to provide a career path to permanent employment for young adults, helping them get credentials and prepare for civil service exams. 

    The other cities awarded the grant are Albuquerque, Austin, Grand Rapids, and Louisville.

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