Jefferson University Hospitals

The Federation Of Neighborhood Centers Partners With Thomas Jefferson University And Hospital To Create Career Support Network


The Federation of Neighborhood Centers, in partnership with Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital, will announce on December 7, 2011 at Diversified Community Services-Dixon House, the Career Support Network (CSN), a transformative academic-community partnership which aims to address the interconnected employment and wellness needs of Philadelphia residents. This new collaboration will combine job-finding skills with health services to address the medical and emotional issues that often hinder employment for many individuals.

“The Career Support Network is designed to provide special tools to underserved, but newly-employed adults to enable them to remove or remedy these barriers and hold down a job over the long-term,” said Diane Cornman-Levy, Executive Director of the Federation of Neighborhood Centers, a local organization which promotes and strengthens neighborhood-based, multi-service agencies that serve low-income people in the Philadelphia region.

Philadelphia currently confronts an unprecedented employment crisis. Less than half of working-age adults in the city are currently employed; 40 percent of those who have jobs earn poverty wages, and 50 percent of low-skilled workers who find work are again unemployed within a year.

The CSN, a new holistic approach in Philadelphia, will be an integrated, one-stop program housed in two neighborhood centers, one in South Philadelphia and one in Fishtown/Kensington region of North Philadelphia, and will weave together occupational counseling, job retention training, peer support, and mental and physical health services.

“The public workforce system recognizes the need for enhanced support services to help Philadelphians build skills to find, keep and advance in their jobs,” said Sue Hoffman, Senior Associate with the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board. “The Philadelphia WIB partnered with the Federation of Neighborhood Centers to pilot a green job readiness program over the past two years and looks forward to the results of their collaboration with a health care provider to offer increased support for Philadelphia's underserved.”

“Current workforce programs fund training and placement services to get individuals into jobs, but do not pay for the empowerment and counseling services to ensure newly-employed individuals keep and advance in their jobs,” said Jennie Sparandara, Director of the Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN), a collaborative that works to enhance the workforce system in the region to better meet the needs of 21st Century workers and employers. “The CSN will strategically address this systemic gap in the workforce development system, resulting in a stronger, higher-skilled workforce for area employers.”

The CSN was recognized as a critical piece of the unemployment solution and is underwritten by a significant grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and matching local grants from Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN), Thomas Scattergood Foundation, Independence Foundation and Boeing Foundation.

“We are pleased to partner with Philadelphia funders to support this community-based effort to address the physical and behavioral health challenges associated with chronic unemployment,” noted Curtis Holloman, deputy director of the RWJF Local Funding Partnerships program office. “A root cause of poor health outcomes is economic well being. The Federation of Neighborhood Centers and Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital offer real improvement with their integrated approach.”

“This unique collaboration combines job-finding skills with health services to address the medical and emotional issues that often impede sustainable employment for this population,” said Dr. James Plumb, Director of the Center for Urban Health at Thomas Jefferson University. “Our health care team will teach healthy lifestyle behaviors related to common chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, arthritis and mental health conditions, as well as prevention and disease management in the community.”

For vulnerable adults who fully participate in the CSN, it is anticipated that they will improve their physical, mental and behavioral health; be employed in jobs that pay family-sustaining wages for a minimum of one year; and, for the group of ex-offenders participating in the network, show a significant reduction in repeat incarceration.

"Right now I'm in the process of getting hired by CAS Homes as a certified Nursing Assistant (CNA),” says Wayne Byrd, a participant in the Career Support Network. “Before coming to the CSN, I wasn't able to get the necessary physical assessments and PPD testing to apply for the CNA position because I did not have insurance. The CSN staff was able to connect me to a free resource that completed the physical assessments and PPD testing. Without that and other supports I received through the CSN, I wouldn't be where I am right now- getting a great job!"

About the Federation of Neighborhood Centers

The Federation of Neighborhood Centers (Federation) was created in 1906 to help build stronger neighborhoods by strengthening families and civic life. Its mission is achieved by working with member agencies - a network of 10 community-based anchor institutions that collectively provide culturally sensitive programs and services to more than 25,000 disadvantaged children, youth, adults and families in 45 neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia per year. Using a three-pronged approach, we strengthen and promote our members through policy development, advocacy, and capacity-building activities.

About Job Opportunity Investment Network

The Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN) seeks to increase the number of Greater Philadelphia workers earning family-sustaining wages. JOIN accomplishes this mission by investing in and advocating for industry-led partnerships that prepare low-skilled adults for high-demand, mid-skilled positions. Through these efforts, JOIN ensures that workers have career pathways; businesses, a talent pipeline. JOIN is a public-private partnership of institutions who share a common interest in the prosperity and vitality of Greater Philadelphia including: the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the William Penn Foundation, the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, they work with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years they've brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those they serve. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit

Media Only Contact:
Lee-Ann Landis
Jefferson University Hospitals
Phone: 215-955-6300