Job Posting

Vice President, Workforce Solutions – University City District

December 05, 2017
Location: Philladelphia, PA

The University City District (UCD) is a partnership of world-renowned anchor institutions, small businesses and residents whose mission is to create opportunity and improve economic vitality and quality of life in the University City area of West Philadelphia. For nearly 20 years, UCD has worked to promote a vibrant, world-class University City through major investments in public space development, commercial revitalization, and public maintenance and public safety.  UCD believes that University City’s future is critical to the future of the Philadelphia region; the unique assets, opportunities and environment here are an engine of prosperity, and an exemplar of community.

In 2010, UCD extended its mission of neighborhood revitalization and economic vitality to include human capital, launching the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI).  WPSI provides an innovative solution to a complex economic challenge by connecting local employers seeking talent, such as Penn Medicine, CHOP and Drexel, with local residents seeking opportunity.  WPSI partners with neighborhood institutions to identify and respond to the “talent mismatch” between the skills of their local workforce and those essential to employers.  The anchor institutions benefit from bespoke recruitment and training programs and lower turnover while West Philadelphia residents achieve opportunities for employment, and life-changing professional and personal growth.  The average participant who enters the Skills Initiative has been unemployed for 62 weeks; last year, 93% of WPSI graduates secured employment and, since inception, partnering employers have paid WPSI graduates more than $15.4 million in wages.  A recent report by the Brookings Institution highlighted the Skills Initiative as a “national best practice” in employer-driven job training programs.

Position Overview

The Vice President, Workforce Solutions (VP) is part of UCD’s senior leadership team, and reports to the President.  The VP leads the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) and closely oversees all stages of program development; program goal-setting; and the recruitment, training and placement of jobseekers.  The VP will join UCD at a unique moment in the neighborhood and organization’s history. Buoyed by the region’s largest employers, the launch of major commercial development projects, and the evolution of an innovation-based economic growth strategy, the number of jobs in University City continues to reach unprecedented levels. The VP will lead UCD’s efforts to connect local residents to opportunity amid this employment growth. At the same time, UCD has secured resources to achieve ambitious goals for the growth of the WPSI, and the VP will support the organization in achieving its growth plan.

The VP will continue to build economic opportunity in neighborhoods by creating, maintaining and expanding relationships with employer partners, community organizations, and public and private sector stakeholders.

Position Responsibilities

  • Shape the strategic direction and growth plan for WPSI, and contribute to the development and implementation of the UCD’s overall organizational strategy, business plan, policies and budgets as member of the leadership team.
  • Provide overall leadership for WPSI, including management of a high-performing team and overseeing the full spectrum of program development and implementation.
  • Foster new ideas and partnerships through relationship-building with employers and community leaders.
  • Proactively monitor local labor market trends to identify opportunities for increased employer engagement.
  • Assist potential employers in determining their immediate employment needs and developing training programs to directly address those needs.
  • Foster an inclusive approach to recruiting, educating, and mentoring trainees to grow and diversify each graduating cohort.
  • Partner with UCD leadership staff on fundraising efforts to expand resources for launching new programs and to sustain existing programs.
  • Partner with UCD leadership staff to promote WPSI’s brand through a variety of communications approaches.
  • Support the continued evolution of UCD as a collaborative organization with a clear vision, mission and strategy.
  • Represent UCD while working with the broader community, including current business partners, potential employers, related organizations, media, public sector and civic leadership.
  • Meet regularly with the trainees to support progress in their work by providing guidance and leadership.

Professional Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree preferred
  • A minimum of ten years in HR, business development, corporate training or relevant professional experience
  • Familiarity and appreciation of the role and mission of UCD
  • Strong ability to articulate the role and interact comfortably with the broad range of individuals and constituency groups crucial to the advancement of UCD
  • Excellent written and clear and effective communication skills for diverse audiences
  • Collaborative leadership style that encourages teamwork and fosters creativity and innovation
  • Respect for the obstacles faced and talents possessed by prospective students, and ability to positively motivate different audiences
  • High motivation and capacity for hard work within the context of a goal-driven environment
  • Ability to function with a high degree of entrepreneurism and independence, yet relate comfortably to a centralized organizational framework
  • Adaptability, flexibility and diplomacy
  • The VP must be able to work and excel in a collaborative environment


  • Occasional travel for speaking engagements