Our Verticals


18-30 years

January, March, July, September

Visit powercorpsphl.org

Program overview & goals

Launched in September 2013, PowerCorpsPHL is designed to support environmental stewardship initiatives and further the City of Philadelphia’s youth violence prevention and workforce development priorities. As an AmeriCorps workforce development initiative operated by EducationWorks, PowerCorps engages out-of-school or out-of-work 18- to 30-year-olds in an immersive, paid 4- to 24-month program that results in connection to living wage jobs in energy, green infrastructure, and community-based careers.

Each year, PCPHL engages between 100-150 un- or under-employed young people in an immersive 4- to 24-month program. Working closely with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Philadelphia Water Department, and partners in the public and private sector, PowerCorps builds opportunities for young people to create promising futures, tackling pressing environmental challenges and developing the skills required to secure meaningful work. Currently, PowerCorpsPHL operates industry-driven training academies in solar and electrical, green infrastructure and engineering, and urban forestry and carpentry, all while completing green space improvement projects citywide.

In 2023 PowerCorps will celebrate ten years of operations, with total engagement of 850 young people, providing over 800,000 service hours to Philadelphia’s city park system and green infrastructure. Over 90% of our graduates transition into employment with starting wages ranging from $15-$22/hr, depending on the industry. Additionally, we recruit young people most impacted by the city’s gun violence and lack of opportunities. Returning citizens in our program have an 8% one-year post-program recidivism rate compared to the citywide average of 45%.

Current Program Model

PowerCorpsPHL currently offers a 2-phased, cohort-based model with cohorts starting twice per year. Foundations, the first phase of PowerCorpsPHL, provides individuals with a high-support environment to strengthen job readiness skills, explore suitable career options through four months of “on-the-job” training via crew-based AmeriCorps service tied to the City of Philadelphia’s environmental objectives and classroom-based professional development. During the second phase, participants progress into one of several Career Training tracks, offering immersive career-specific training connected to in-demand positions.

current program modelPCPHL’s core services are divided into two broad categories: individualized supports and career-focused skill building.

INDIVIDUALIZED SUPPORTS: PowerCorpsPHL’s supportive services delivery includes robust court navigation and advocacy, career counseling, vetted employment opportunities, technical skills training aligned to specific industries, and academic support in postsecondary education. Access to knowledgeable and caring adults, and support finding the best employment opportunities matching a young person’s interest and skills, are critical to career success and job retention.

PCPHL’s career counseling facilitates significant career exploration, career action plans, work-readiness coaching and training to reduce barriers to employment success. In addition, PCPHL is constantly active in building, maintaining, and curating a network of quality employment opportunities for its graduates to continuously support high quality outcomes.

Basic needs, instability and trauma are major barriers to employment for participants. PCPHL offers one-on-one counseling for mental health or trauma-related challenges. Counseling services are available five days a week for up to 30 traditional, weekly appointments as well as shorter check-ins. Participants receive intensive case management to support basic needs stability and connection to necessary resources such as childcare, health care, recovery counseling, transportation support, housing, food, and clothing.

CAREER-FOCUSED SKILL BUILDING: As PCPHL honed a strategy to aid young adult transition into careers, we found the need to refine and expand on two aspects of the basic Career Technical Institute concept. Thus, we have been able to 1) lengthen youth engagement with progressive phases, tapering support and increasing depth of industry skills taught, and 2) redouble our employer engagement to specifically support the co-creation of equitable solutions to business needs. Our efforts have resulted in 4 distinct training tracks. Each provides six months of paid, industry-specific, technical training aligned to high-need positions in related fields.

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