Opening Tech Job Opportunities for Hundreds of Young Professionals
Philadelphia, PA – October 25, 2022 – GreenLight Fund Philadelphia (GreenLight), a nonprofit funder investing in community-driven change, announced today a multi-year, unrestricted investment in Hopeworks’ expansion to Philadelphia. Hopeworks, a Camden, NJ based nonprofit social enterprise that serves young professionals ages 16-27 from under-resourced communities, breaks down barriers to economic mobility by providing professional training, internships and real-world business experience in fields such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), web design and trauma-informed training and solutions. Hopeworks’ model is designed to propel young professionals into long-term living wage careers in the tech field that will put them on a path for healing and financial stability.
“As a longtime partner in their work in Camden, we are thrilled to support Hopeworks’ expansion to the City of Philadelphia,” said Gwyneth Gaul, AVP of Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy at Comcast Corp. “Hopeworks has a proven model based on skill development, real-world job experience, and trauma-informed care that helps to propel young adults into sustainable wag careers.”
GreenLight led a year-long process in partnership with its Selection Advisory Council, a diverse group of community leaders and experts, to identify and respond to priority unmet needs in the Philadelphia community. Access to devices, internet connectivity and equitable pathways to training and employment in tech related fields were identified as opportunities for improving outcomes in the city. After thoroughly evaluating dozens of programs from across the country, GreenLight selected Hopeworks based on their proven track record of success. In Camden, NJ, Hopeworks has seen 85% of youth participants earning high-wage jobs at the end of their work experience with Hopeworks, a 12-month retention rate of almost 90% at those jobs, and earnings of over $43,000 annually.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to invest in the futures of bright and talented individuals in the Philadelphia community,” said Dan Rhoton, Executive Director at Hopeworks. “As tech continues to take off in the city we hope to help those who may not have traditionally been included lead the way. And, none of this would be possible without the backing of our amazing partners.”
Hopeworks provides participants with professional training and internship opportunities. Once completed, participants have the opportunity to work in one of Hopeworks’ social enterprises: Web Design, GIS, or the Youth Healing Team which provides trauma informed consulting services to local businesses. These businesses, such as American Water and Comcast, help generate jobs that lead to high-wage, permanent opportunities for youth in a growing tech industry. In Philadelphia, Hopeworks is poised to serve up to 50 participants in its first year, growing to 100+ participants annually.
“I’m happy that Hopeworks’ brand of magic is coming across the bridge to expand their pillar of equitable practices into a new community,” said Willem Schrieks, Product Designer at Compt and President of Hopeworks Camden Alumni Board.
In addition to GreenLight Fund, Hopeworks’ scale to Philadelphia is backed by a coalition of local funders and supporters, including Comcast, JP Morgan Chase, The NBA Foundation, the Connelly Foundation, and Dell Technologies.
“This coalition of funding partners is testament to Hopeworks’ proven success in creating access to economic opportunity for young adults, particularly those living in poverty, through trauma-informed technology-based workforce development,” said Jac Rivers, Vice President, Program Officer, Global Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. “An investment in young professionals with great promise but who lack access to opportunities is one we’re proud to support in Philadelphia.”
“As a longstanding partner, Bank of America has seen GreenLight’s community-driven process work effectively and is proud to continue supporting bringing results-oriented programs to Philadelphia,” added Debbie O’Brien, Market Executive, Bank of America. “I look forward to the impact Hopeworks will have as it expands to Philadelphia, making it possible for young adults to succeed in technology-related careers.”
The generous support from major partners will help fund the creation of this tech learning and development hub in Philadelphia, including office space, critical equipment and programs for individuals involved. In addition, Hopeworks’ partners will continue to provide networking and employment opportunities for the nonprofit’s graduates.
“Hopeworks’ program is designed to work with young professionals who are traditionally the hardest to reach, serving as a crucial addition to Philadelphia’s tech pipeline,” said GreenLight Philadelphia Executive Director, Felicia Rinier. “Many of Hopeworks’ participants are faced with housing instability, food insecurity, and some have not completed high school. While these factors would often make it harder to succeed in tech training programs, Hopeworks opens their doors to these individuals, offers wrap-around services and remains committed to their success, no matter what.”
Hopeworks Philadelphia office will be located in the heart of Kensington, making access easier for some of the city’s most vulnerable youth. The new location, slated to open by the end of 2022, will be led by local leaders with experience in Camden’s office helping this second location get up and running quickly.
“GreenLight Philadelphia’s comprehensive selection process has proven to bring effective programs to Philadelphia that fill gaps and make a real difference in our community. I am thrilled that GreenLight is helping Hopeworks scale to Philadelphia with its track record of changing trajectories through their innovative workforce development model,” said Josh Kopelman, Founder and Partner, First Round Capital and GreenLight Philadelphia investor.
Hopeworks will be GreenLight Philadelphia’s sixth portfolio organization, joining Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), Single Stop, ParentChild+, Year Up and Compass Working Capital.