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Bruce Van Saun, chairman & CEO of Citizens Financial Group (center) announces new $1 million funding to local workforce organizations. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Bruce Van Saun, chairman & CEO of Citizens Financial Group (center) announces new $1 million funding to local workforce organizations. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.

Citizens commits $1 million to address workforce development in Philly

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The quality of a city's workforce can go a long way towards determining its success and prosperity. 

There are many factors and challenges that can impact working needs of its workforce, many of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Some of those include the skills gap, and access to educational and training opportunities. 

In Philadelphia, the effort to improve the evolving workforce needs of the community is a collaborative one — and Citizens Financial Group is helping lead that effort.

On March 4 during an event held at the Community College of Philadelphia, Citizens announced a new $1 million funding investment for Philly organizations to help with local workforce development and financial empowerment opportunities. 

Bruce Van Saun, chairman & CEO of Citizens Financial Group, highlighted that helping strengthen the communities it serves “is at the heart of Citizens' credo.”

He added that doing so is only possible if there is a sustained effort around ensuring that the region’s workforce is equipped for the challenges and opportunities in the city’s evolving workforce. 

“With the disruption wrought by the pandemic here in Philadelphia and every city across our footprint, it remains crucial that the private sector, the public sector, and the nonprofit community are working together to ensure that workers have the skills that they need to thrive in this ongoing and accelerating transformation,” said Van Saun.

As part of this new funding, a number of local organizations in the public, private, non-profit and higher education sectors working to increase workforce opportunities in the region will be able to forge ahead in their respective efforts.   

Among the beneficiaries of the new funding include the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, Tech Impact’s ITWorks program, the Collegiate Consortium’s Citizens Bank Regional Maritime Training Center, and more. 

“We know that having a good job is about more than just a paycheck,” added Van Saun. “So the programs that we support, both in the community and within the bank, focus on enhancing people’s ability to meet their needs, pursue their goals and advance their careers.”

In addition, Citizens will partner with the Community College of Philadelphia to launch the new Citizens Community College Accelerator.

Supported by a $200,000 seed investment by Citizens in the Education Design Lab’s Community College Growth Engine Fund, it will set into place an increased effort to drive accelerated education-to-workforce opportunities and new pathways to connect learning to employment in high growth careers. 

“We need everyone and we need all these jobs filled because they all can lead to family-sustaining wages,” said Dan Fitzpatrick, president of Citizens Financial Group for the Mid Atlantic region. 

With the evolving needs of Philadelphia’s workforce, the new funding will go a long way towards providing innovative solutions towards addressing those needs. 

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