Peirce College Leverages Applied Education to Boost Philadelphia’s Recovery

Aug 25, 2020, 13:12 PM by Amanda Hill

Launches Center for Workforce Innovation to Move More People into High-Growth Occupations Aligned with the Needs of Region’s Employers

PHILADELPHIA – Despite a pandemic, social unrest and high unemployment, Hassan Charles is optimistic about recovery in the greater Philadelphia region.

Charles – who is leading the launch of the Peirce College’s Center for Workforce Innovation and Partnerships – believes that a skills-based framework aligned with the needs of employers is one of the most effective ways to building bridges that take people from lower-wage jobs to in-demand occupations that pay family-sustaining wages. The center will also emphasize equity as a key component of recovery, especially for Latino and African American residents who have been disproportionately impacted by furloughs, layoffs and underemployment.

 “New job skills are needed today for the post-COVID marketplace, especially for retail and hospitality workers in low-wage jobs who have the core skills required to upskill,” said Charles, vice president for Workforce Initiatives and Partnerships at Peirce. “Employers and adult learners are looking for shorter, more relevant workforce training opportunities that include a clear demonstration of the mastery of those skills. This is what our center is all about.”

Through the center, Peirce is leveraging its unique model and adding shorter, stackable programs that prepare students with the skills and credentials that are recognized by employers and help move more people into high-growth careers and occupations.

“Gaining in-demand skills is not always about degree completion. It starts with identifying the skills and competencies that lead to in-demand jobs and it continues by serving employers and students in ways that meet their needs,” said Charles.

As part of the center’s launch, Peirce is partnering with Kaplan University Partners to offer courses that prepare students to earn a wide variety of industry-recognized certifications in the top industries in Philadelphia, including information technology (IT), healthcare, legal, finance and business.

"Peirce is rapidly responding to the needs of the U.S. workforce and those of the Philadelphia region in particular. Their leadership shows that universities can serve both degree and non-degree seeking students in valuable and timely ways," said Brandon Busteed, president of University Partners and global head of Learn/Work Innovation at Kaplan.    

Peirce currently awards credit for select industry-recognized credentials and training that apply directly to a certificate or degree and is expanding its evaluation of certifications to create more transfer credit options for students who possess these credentials.

“We stand at the nexus of higher education and workforce training,” said Dr. Mary Ellen Caro, president and CEO of Peirce. “The center positions us to respond more rapidly to create the type of customized solutions our partners and our students need today.”


Amanda Hill (717) 314-1315

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