JPMorgan Chase today announced Philadelphia is one of seven winning cities in its AdvancingCities Challenge, part of the firm’s $500 million, five-year initiative to advance inclusive recovery and promote greater economic opportunity in cities. The collaborative will receive a $5 million philanthropic investment to connect diverse workers and businesses to well-paying jobs and contracts in the city’s construction industry.
Today’s announcement builds on JPMorgan Chase’s new $30 billioncommitmentto advance racial equity, address key drivers of the racial wealth divide and provide economic opportunity to underserved communities, especially the Black and Latinx communities.
The AdvancingCities Challenge supports collaborative and holistic solutions that tackle pressing needs and systemic challenges to help create more access to capital and opportunity. This year, the competition attracted more than 150 proposals from 78 communities across 35 states and territories.
Construction can offer family-sustaining careers for workers without college degrees, but women and people of color fill less than 3% and 34% respectively of the City government’s construction jobs, according to the City of Philadelphia’s FY 2019 Disparity Study.
Deep disparities also exist in access to capital and contracts for businesses led by women and people of color. Many of these businesses lack the ability to access enough financing to bid competitively on large public contracts which may enable them to grow.
PIDC, Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild), and Philadelphia Works, Inc. are collaborating to help address the vast underrepresentation of women and people of color in the local construction industry. This collaborative will leverage Philadelphia’s historic investments through Rebuild, enabling diverse workers and businesses to access jobs and contracts aimed at renovating and repairing local parks, libraries, and recreation centers across the city.
“JPMorgan Chase is proud to support Philadelphia through our AdvancingCities commitment by helping to create more opportunities in construction for women and people of color,” said Roxann Cooke, Chase Regional Director for Pennsylvania and New England. “This collaborative’s combined experience will add expertise at every stage—from training or capacity building to hiring and awarding contracts.”
With the support from JPMorgan Chase, Philadelphia’s winning collaborative will recruit, train, and place Black, Latinx, and female workers for expanded union apprenticeships and construction jobs on Rebuild sites. The group will also work with the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council to ensure that training keeps up with employer demand.
To support diverse-led small businesses, the collaborative will establish a flexible capital fund to expand working capital for small contractors and businesses. It will also provide technical assistance, professional networking and other capacity-building efforts for diverse businesses to be able to better compete for large public works contracts.
“We are thrilled that the Rebuild Collaborative won in the JPMorgan Chase national AdvancingCities Challenge,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “This collaborative represents a new approach to tackling entrenched inequities through investment, training, and ambitious standards for diversity and inclusion. From jobs to small business supports, the Rebuild Collaborative is working with businesses and candidates from traditionally underrepresented populations to make sure they have the resources needed to access job opportunities on Rebuild projects and in the building and construction trades.”
Over the course of the three-year philanthropic commitment, the collaborative looks to have powerful impact in Philadelphia, aiming to:
- Train 90 individuals with sector-specific skills
- Enable 100% of workers who complete the program to get hired into union apprenticeships and constructions jobs, earning a wage of $18+ per hour
- Assist 240 local small businesses with technical and capital assistance, helping them to create or retain 200 jobs
- Help businesses led by women and people of color access more contracting dollars for the City’s Rebuild projects, including up to 40% of professional services and 45% of construction spend
“Our family business has embraced Rebuild as a new avenue for small, diverse design and construction businesses to gain skills that will boost our growth prospects and open doors for more, larger contract opportunities,” said Rahsaan Hall, Founder, Brewerytown Construction. “The AdvancingCities grant is exciting not just for Brewerytown Construction, but for all the black- and brown-owned businesses that will be able to benefit from this new investment in the growth of minority enterprises in Philadelphia.”
The AdvancingCities funding is the second-largest commitment awarded to the Rebuild program, building on the William Penn Foundation’s historic seed grant in 2016, and will unlock $2.5M in matching funds from William Penn to expand the program’s impact.