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6 ways to team up with Philly’s schools

Posted Friday, February 2nd, 2018

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On Monday, January 29, 2018 the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia hosted Roadmap for Growth: Exploring Business Engagement in Philadelphia’s Schools.

It was a crowded room at Girard College that night, with more than 200 business, education, and civic leaders with passionate ideas. Read on for a few takeaways from our education issue forum. You can also view our livestream:

Supporting education in Philadelphia doesn’t always mean writing a check

In fact, lots of opportunities to engage exist outside of monetary giving. Businesses and individuals can assist in after-school programming, curriculum development, student or teacher mentorship, job shadowing, internships and apprenticeships just to name a few options. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has opened its doors to Cristo Rey Philadelphia students to work in different parts of the hospital including research labs and information systems units.

Businesses don’t need a formal Corporate Social Responsibility unit to undertake initiatives

As we learned from Turn5, their engagement with Kensington Health Sciences Academy in embedded within their e-commerce business unit. This structure allows the company’s employees to have meaningful ownership over the relationship with the school and students and come up with creative activities to do in the classroom.

Lots of people and organizations will help you find a way to give back to schools

Whether it is one of the nonprofit partners highlighted last night, a community school coordinator from the Mayor’s Office of Education, the United Way’s Greater Philadelphia Corporate Volunteer Council or the School District’s Office of Strategic Partnerships, there are many organizations that will make it easy for a business plug in with whatever resources they have. Citizens Bank has formed a close alliance with Philadelphia Youth Network in order to seamlessly offer summer jobs to high school students.

Many businesses are giving back because it is a talent imperative.

From supporting Pre-K to STEM education in high schools, businesses are choosing to invest in education because it means a stronger future workforce. PECO views investing at both ends of the education spectrum as part of their workforce development efforts and has partnered closely with the Philadelphia Education Fund on strategy and implementation.

Long-term strategies can lead to bigger neighborhood-wide impact

Lincoln Financial described how beginning to collaborate with Read by 4th evolved into a partnership with William Cramp Elementary School in Fairhill and has now expanded to supporting other assets in the neighborhood like the local library and out of school programming. All of these efforts build on one another and enhance the impact on students and families in that section of the city.

Students and employees both win in these relationships

As Chief Education Officer Otis Hackney reminded the audience, students come away from these experiences with more than memories. They gain new skills, confidence and social capital that can serve them well into their careers. And employees don’t just feel good about giving back—it can lead to better employee retention and provide new ideas for the business. In the end, everyone walks away with value added.


Catch up on social media with #PhillyRoadmap »»
View the livestream »»

Upcoming Roadmap Event

Roadmap Vulnerable Populations Issue Forum – Wednesday, May 30th from 8:00-10:00 am at Taller Puertorriqueño

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