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July 22, 2021

Digital platform PropelPHL aims to connect job-seekers to employers, social services

The "one-stop shop" is geared toward helping Philadelphians get hired as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic

Jobs Unemployment
072221-philadelphia-employment-jobs.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Hire! Philly spearheaded a new employment resource for Philadelphians, PropelPHL, that launched Wednesday.

A first-of-its-kind digital platform launched Wednesday to connect job-seekers in Philadelphia to employers, training opportunities, community resources and more.

PropelPHL is being dubbed a "one-stop-shop" to get people back into the workforce as the city bounces back from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The platform, which was led by Hire!Philly, allows job-seekers to create a free profile that includes details like their job history, education and skills to be matched with employment listings. Employers are able to register for free and PropelPHL will display a list of candidates that fit their job description.

"Our core focus right now is a mass effort to match current job-seekers, particularly those who have been displaced due to the COVID, with job opportunities in real-time … and we’re doing that through proprietary technology," Executive Director of Hire!Philly Kathryn Epps Roberson told WHYY.

She said other job boards like Indeed are powered by keyword search, not by matching skills.

So far, tens of thousands of jobs are listed on the website, and around 250 of them are from employers who have registered with the website, including Starbucks, City Council, PECO and the Lenfest Foundation, Epps Roberson said.

As of last May, the unemployment rate in Philadelphia is 7.8%, down from its peak of 18% during the pandemic, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

That's higher than other large cities, like New York City's rate of 10.9%, Chicago's 9.3% and Los Angeles' 10.10%.

Hire! Philly reached out to Philadelphians before launching the website and found many residents are interested in working, "but they want to do so with dignity and respect," Epps Roberson said.

"We now have an opportunity to think about things differently," she told Metro Philly. "If we are to build a prosperous and equitable future for all Philadelphians, we cannot afford to do business as usual."

The platform doesn't just form connections between job-seekers and employers. It actively identifies education or training gaps in applicants and connects them to financial resources. 

Later on, Epps Roberson said the platform will launch a phase that focuses on helping marginalized communities, including returning citizens and veterans, be considered for more jobs.

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