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District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund Opens Philadelphia’s 4th Financial Opportunity Center

Training Fund's new FOC will support career pathways for workers and job-seekers 

Philadelphia, PA - March 2nd, 2016 - Text by LISC: Luis Rosario was raised in North Philadelphia by two parents with roots in the Puerto Rican countryside who moved to Philadelphia for economic reasons. While hard work and integrity were always discussed at home, finances were a more mysterious topic.

“As a first generation college student at Pennsylvania State University, I accumulated incredible student loan debt,” Rosario said. “With a degree in education, it seemed like paying off loans would be a life-long pastime.”

Through research, however, Rosario took steps to gain and maintain financial stability and independence. He bought his first home in 2014, which he divided into rental units as an investment, and has begun to systematically lower his debt. This personal journey has given Rosario a passion for helping others with their finances.

Rosario was an easy choice when the District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund wanted to hire a Financial Coach for the Bridges to Career Opportunity program within their new Financial Opportunity Center. Rosario is ecstatic to share financial best practices with students and clients in the community.

The Training Fund’s new Financial Opportunity Center or FOC, which opened on February 25th, is Philadelphia’s fourth, made possible through a partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). LISC is supporting the new FOC as part of its Bridges to Career Opportunities program, with funding coming from the Social Innovation Fund (SIF)—part of the federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

“The District 1199C Training Fund is excited to become Philadelphia’s fourth LISC Financial Opportunity Center,” said Cheryl Feldman, Executive Director of the Training  Fund. “SIF funding will enable us to train people to enter healthcare career pathways that pay a living wage, investing in local talent by strengthening transferrable skills and providing credentials.”

The new program builds on the Training Fund’s existing work providing access to career pathways in healthcare and human services for incumbent workers and job seekers through education, training and work-based learning. Christine Covington-Hoess, the Program Coordinator/Employment coach, has been leading these efforts at the Training Fund. Opening an FOC with at the Training Fund will connect about 100 students with job-skills training, financial literacy, and career support.

Rosario’s position as a Financial Coach thus adds a critical component to helping Training Fund students achieve financial sustainability. In addition to providing occupational and academic training, the dedicated financial coach will help clients become adept at budgeting, increasing their net worth, improving their credit, and systemically removing debts and liabilities. In addition the financial coach will provide intimate support over the course of three years to ensure that clients achieve their financial goals. Rosario, a licensed Realtor, is especially excited to help clients purchase a home.

“FOCs bundle complementary services for clients to make the greatest impact in people’s lives. We help families secure and maintain employment, increase their income, build savings, and acquire assets. It is a proven strategy for improving families’ long-term financial outlook, while contributing to neighborhood revitalization,” said Andrew Frishkoff, the Executive Director of Philadelphia LISC. “At LISC, we build on strong existing programs in the community, like the District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund.”

Pioneered by LISC, the FOC is a one-stop-shop service approach being implemented across nearly 80 centers nationwide, including three others in Philadelphia, operated by People’s Emergency Center, University City District, and Asociación de Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM). Together, these FOCs have helped more than 400 people access jobs and provided bundled services to more than 1,000 people overall in the last 3 years.

In Philadelphia, the FOCs are made possible thanks to funding from United Way, Wells Fargo, Citizens Bank, Citi Foundation, State Farm, Walmart Foundation, and the William Penn Foundation.


About District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund

The District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund, a labor-management partnership between the National Union of Hospital & Health Care Employees AFSCME AFL-CIO and 50 contributing employers, has offered academic, career exposure and workforce development opportunities to Philadelphia youth and adults since 1974.

The Fund’s mission is: providing access to healthcare and human services careers for incumbent workers and job seekers through education, training and work-based learning; and, building the capacity of the Delaware Valley’s healthcare industry to create a highly-skilled workforce through on-the-job training and the development of an education pipeline aligned with career ladder steps.
Each year, the Fund serves over 15,000 people — with 5,000 students enrolling in academic and technical education programs. The Fund’s target populations include minorities, low-income residents, women, recent immigrants, youth, ex-offenders, people in recovery, the disabled, and the un- or under-employed.

Christine Covington-Hoess
215-568-2220 ext 5411

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About Philadelphia LISC:
Philadelphia LISC is the local office of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit community development organization that has invested $14.7 billion in 30 cities across the United States.

Philadelphia LISC is a catalyst for community change, working with partners to strengthen neighborhoods and improve the lives of residents. Philadelphia LISC combines corporate, government, and philanthropic resources to help community-based organizations revitalize underserved neighborhoods. Since 1980, Philadelphia LISC has invested $385 million to build or preserve 8,075 affordable homes and apartments and develop 1.8 million square feet of retail, community, and educational space.