December 24th, 2007 by Campus Philly
Scandal and chocolate: is there anything more sinfully indulgent? Though it sounds more like a strip club, the only scandal is in the name of the Naked Chocolate Café. No need to be wary—massive windows give Walnut St. pedestrians a peep show of the confectionary variety.
Just beyond the regulars enjoying Aztec hot chocolate and filled macaroons at tables for two, stretches a gleaming glass-paned display counter lined with pyramids of chocolates, tiers of pastel frosted cupcakes, and pastries sculpted and drizzled to perfection. But until you step inside, you haven’t experienced anything.
Smell is half the fun of chocolate, and the second you step into Naked Chocolate you’re swept up on a wave of cocoa delight…until you slam into the last person in line. Everyone seems to want a bite, even on a random Thursday night, but the line moves quickly—giving you a guided tour of the goodies behind the counter. Pure chocolate shaped in hearts, peach filled chocolates, lip-shaped chocolates, white chocolate roses, and chocolate covered pretzels—all just begging to go home with you.
Somehow I managed to escape with just an Aztec hot chocolate, but then came the real challenge: finding a seat. It was nearly 10 p.m. on a Thursday and the place was packed to the brim. Artfully balancing her classic hot chocolate and chocolate chip nudo, one friend plops to the floor and begins happily sipping. I end up perched on a window sill, knees almost knocking against another party’s table.
Space is definitely an issue for Naked Chocolate, but will the goods make you forget the ornamental plant jabbing into the back of your neck? Yes. Yes. Yes. The hot chocolates are so intense they are served in small espresso cups with a tiny spoon for sipping—because chugging straight from the cup is not an option if you want to really enjoy.
The Aztec hot chocolate, with its mix of nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves, coats your tongue with a slightly spicy flavor. This is not your everyday Hershey’s cocoa. Even the classic hot chocolate is richer and heavier than normal.
In addition to the normal coffee options, Naked Chocolate offers a variety of fine teas, including one which incorporates whole dried flowers that bloom when added to hot water and chocolate teas.
Don’t forget about the pastries, either. Shaped like round-bottomed pyramids, the nudos will make you forget brownies ever existed.
No one can resist the pull of chocolate, and Naked Chocolate Café is the best place in the city to satisfy that craving. One word of caution however: if you don’t want to be stuck sitting on the floor of this popular place, try to plan your urge for earlier in the evening.
Naked Chocolate Cafe
1317 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
You can contact Prasana William at email@example.com
December 24th, 2007 by Campus Philly
Following countless hours of staring at a computer screen and tweaking your résumé, you’re all set, right?
Not quite. There’s one more step: the cover letter.
The very idea of writing a cover letter can inspire fear, but don’t worry. It’s a lot easier and more important than you think it is. It works hand-in-hand with a résumé to land you that perfect job, taking it one step further and filling in the empty spaces. The cover letter expresses your interest in landing the position; it provides a place for you to elaborate on any relevant skills, as well as hobbies, that don’t quite fit into a one-page summary of your skills and experience. It gives you the chance to stand out among other applicants, as this is what the hiring manager sees first, and it can determine whether or not he or she flips to the next page.
As with a résumé, the ideal presentation of a cover letter varies, but a few things remain the same. A cover letter should not exceed a page in length; it should be dated, much like a typical business letter; and be addressed to a specific person and company. If you don’t have the name of a specific person to send it to, it can be addressed to the hiring manager, but don’t hesitate to call the company and ask the receptionist.
Presentation can essentially be broken down into three paragraphs. The opening paragraph should state your interest in the position (and remember to mention what position it is) and intent within the company, as well as a mention of how you were informed of the opening. This is also where you would make mention of your enclosed résumé. For this, you don’t have to say more than that the enclosure will provide information on your background, qualifications and skills for the job in question.
The second paragraph is where you begin to dig in and reveal yourself to your potential employer. Here you explain your background, taking special care to highlight select qualifications that pertain to the position for which you are applying. These are things that might be in your résumé, but can now be slightly expanded upon. This is the paragraph where you really sell yourself. Don’t be afraid to reveal your personality; after all, that’s what will get you noticed and ultimately, you want your prospective employer to read your cover letter and remember you.
In the final paragraph, you set your plan into action by requesting a personal interview. This is also where you provide contact information and thank the addressee for his or her time. It doesn’t have to be lengthy; you just need two or three sentences to close your letter.
Once you have closed your letter, you have to sign it. For the closing, something simple like “sincerely” always works; however, you can think outside the box and use something else (as long as it is appropriate). Keep it professional. “Best wishes,” another popular closing, is also a good choice.
Now you’re in the home stretch. Once you have your closing, skip a few spaces, and then type your name. Below your typed name, add your enclosure. For this, all you have to put is “Enclosure: résumé” and anything else you may enclose, such as a reference page.
Once that is done, you’re finished. Print your letter, sign below your closing and your cover letter is complete. You are one step closer to landing your dream job.
Writing a cover letter is not a difficult process. Just remember to be professional and brief; remember to have fun with the writing process and let your personality shine through. After all, a prospective employer is looking to hire you, not your résumé.
You can contact Valerie Williiams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 19th, 2007 by Campus Philly
So you’ve polished your resume, landed the job interview and even bought yourself a new suit. However, when you were in the department store buying that suit, did you think about opening a store credit card? Probably not.
Experts say that opening up a store credit card is one of the first and easiest steps for new grads looking to build credit. You might ask why you need to build a credit line now. It seems like one of those things your parents have to worry about, right? Or maybe you already have a line of credit from college that isn’t so great, but you don’t need to take care of it right now, right?
Not quite. Everyone needs to build a decent line of credit in order to establish themselves in the world. Without a good line of credit, it is difficult (if not impossible) to lease an apartment or buy a car on your own–two of the first steps towards true adulthood. You’ll need at least six months of a credit history to apply for most auto and home loans, without getting gouged with high interest rates.
Many college grads, however, do leave school with at least two opportunities to start building credit. Most college students have a bank account and some kind of student loans to repay. You can use these two sources as a jumping point for building a credit history. Check with your bank about credit cards available to students and recent grads. The interest rates are often much better than the ones included in the myriad of credit card offers sent to you while you were in school. You can also apply for a secured credit card, which requires you to put down a certain amount of money in your account, anywhere from around $500 to $3,000, that will act as your credit limit.
The store credit card is often easy to obtain for those with little to no credit. Good places to get a credit card include your favorite clothing store or a gas station credit card. The important thing to remember is to pay off your balance each month in full because these cards, especially clothing store cards, can carry a high interest rate. Don’t open too many of these cards at once, as that can negatively affect your credit score. Experts recommend one or two of these cards.
Your credit score is a very important piece of information to have on hand as well. The three major credit bureaus, Transunion, Experian and Equifax, all offer a free credit report once per year. Order a copy of yours to see what is on there. Odd items such as unpaid utility bills and previous applications for credit cards can all be on that report.
For those leaving college with bad credit, you are not alone. According to a recent study conducted by NellieMae, a student loan provider, the average college student graduates with four credit cards and $2,200 worth of credit card debt to their name. What are some of the steps you can take to repair your undergraduate mistakes?
The first step is to stop spending. Although this can seem difficult in the midst of post-graduate expenses, such as a new work wardrobe and car payments, there are lots of little things, such as dining out and nights at the bar, that can be cut out to minimize costs.
Next, line up all your credit card bills and pay off the one with the smallest balance first. If it is a credit card you don’t really need, take it out of your wallet and leave it at home when you go out shopping. This will not only help you feel a little more in control, but it will also help to cut down on future spending.
Make sure you are making payments on all of your credit cards and make them on-time. Many companies offer automatic bill pay or e-mail notification of bill due dates, which can make it easier to keep track of when you need to pay.
Finally, if you are really drowning in debt, talk to a reputable credit counseling service. Avoid the ones with the flashy ads you see on daytime TV. One particularly good company is Consumer Credit Counseling Services, a national non-profit that has been in the credit counseling industry for nearly two decades. They also have local city chapters, including one in Philadelphia. The branch website is www.cccsdv.org
You might also check out the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at www.nfcc.org.
Whatever your credit history, make sure you obtain an initial credit report. Speak with reputable sources in regards to your credit, because scars on your credit report are permanent and difficult to fix.
You can contact Clare Herlihy at email@example.com.
December 18th, 2007 by Campus Philly
This week was a week like no other for the 76ers. They blew away most of the teams they played this week, impressing Philadelphia fans. The week started off on Monday night at home against the Houston Rockets. The seats were packed (at least for a Sixers game), having the biggest turn out of this season so far.
It was a good game for the Sixers, having, at times, a 31-point lead over the Rockets. Andre Miller scored 17 points, Andre Iguodala scored 16 and Willie Green added 20 to the final score of 100-88.
Tuesday night’s game was just as prosperous for the 76ers. The Sixers played the Minnesota Timberwolves at home. The Timberwolves are the worst team in the NBA right now, so the win over them was easy, but still required some work. The game appeared to be close for awhile, but the Sixers stood strong and came out with the win.
Andre Iguodala came away with 25 points, while the other Andre, Andre Miller made 18 points, along with Samuel Dalembert. The final score of the game was 98-94, making this the fourth straight game that the Sixers have won.
Friday night’s game wasn’t as great for the Sixers as the past few games have been. The Sacramento Kings came to Philadelphia and won their first away game of the season. The Sixers tried their best, but they couldn’t pull off another win like the previous games.
Andre Miller topped the score board for the Sixers that night, making 24 points. Willie Green scored 16, while Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams both added 15 points. The final score was 109-to-99.
On Saturday night, the 76ers went on the road and faced the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Sixers showed that they were planning on getting their winning streak back and they played like a team. The Sixers walked away with another win, winning six out of the last five games played. The Andres, Miller and Iguodala, both scored 20 points, while Samuel Dalembert scored 16, but had a season high of 19 rebounds. The final score was 92-86.
Let’s just hope that this winning streak can last for the rest of the season.
You can contact Noelle Roby at firstname.lastname@example.org .
December 18th, 2007 by Campus Philly
Over the past few months, most of the press regarding SEPTA has been negative: disrupted routes, increased fares and service cuts. The ever-more-expensive SEPTA pass, however, has its perks.
In fact, SEPTA has listed these perks online at www.septapassperks.comand in a printed pamphlet available at locations where you can buy the pass. Anyone with a valid SEPTA weekly or monthly pass is eligible for the discounts.
It is important to note that the discounts change frequently and are often valid only at certain locations of a chain. Times for discounts may also vary, with certain discounts only available at certain times of day. For instance, SEPTA Pass Perks offers a “happy hour” discount of 30 percent on ice cream treats purchased at the Coldstone Creamery locations in Wayne and Ardmore, along with a 15 percent discount any time.
Need to grab a cup of coffee on your way into work in the morning? Get 20 percent off any purchase at the Bucks County Coffee Company located at 30th St. Station with your SEPTA pass. Perhaps you’d rather try Joe’s Coffee Bar at 1100 Walnut St. for a 10 percent discount off any purchase.
Are you hungry while shopping at The Gallery? The Quizno’s at the Gallery Food Court (located at 9th and Market streets) offers 10 percent off your total meal and beverage bill with a SEPTA pass. Snack on a discounted Auntie Anne’s pretzel after flashing your pass for 20 percent off.
Discounts are not limited to downtown locations, either. If you’re looking for a nice place for your parents to take you to dinner, The Temperance House in Newtown offers 10 percent off of any meal check over $20.00 and an additional 10 percent off lodging at their hotel.
Looking to be pampered at a reduced price? The Massage Studio of King of Prussia offers $5 off any massage and a free gift when you show your pass. Dermavive Unlimited in Bryn Mawr offers 10 percent off of services as well.
The shopping discounts are another thing not to be missed. With your pass, you can save 15 percent off of flowers, plants and accessories at All Occasions Flowers, located on South Street. Environmentally-conscious shoppers can enjoy 15 percent off their purchases at the Ecochic Boutique on Sansom Street. For the health conscious, Edible Arrangements in Villanova is offering $4 off any fruit bouquet arrangement with your SEPTA pass.
Many more discounts are available online at www.septapassperks.com; these discounts are only valid from June to August. The perks frequently change with season, so it pays to check the site regularly. If you can’t remember to check the site, you can sign up for update e-mails that will keep you posted on the latest discounts.
The site contains several search functions so it is easy to find the discounts nearest you. Flash your pass whenever possible and start seeing some of those hard-earned dollars stay in your wallet!
You can contact Clare Herlihy at email@example.com.
December 11th, 2007 by Campus Philly
The holidays may be seem far off in the distance, lost underneath piles of finals, papers and projects, but winter break is less than three weeks away (you can see it if you really squint). While this news is hopefully joy to your eyes, you probably also just realized something else you have to do on top of all the school work: go shopping for presents.
This could become a problem if your checking account balance is down to $12 and you still have to find a way to pay your rent, but there are creative ways to spread the joy and cheer of the holidays on a student/young professional budget.
One idea is provided by everyone’s favorite procrastinating device, facebook.com. Although you can’t buy real tangible items, the networking website provides a number of gifts for about $1. Your friends and family are sure to get a kick out of the “box with a hole” (think back to Justin Timberlake on SNL last year).
Got money left on your student ID? Hit up the campus bookstore and shop for “free”. Coffee mugs and baseball caps are perfectly acceptable gifts, even if they are emblazoned with your college mascot. Your parents are paying for you to go to school, so they might as well represent your school. Many bookstores are also home to DVDs, stuffed animals and (oh yeah) books.
Never underestimate the power of making gifts. Whether you have artistic ability or not, you can definitely come up with something. Write your best friend a poem. Cook dinner for you and your significant other. Make a collage of pictures for your mother. Anything goes.
You can also use this opportunity to take up a new hobby. Have you always wanted to learn how to knit, but never had the time? Knit your grandmother a scarf and teach yourself.
Also, you may never have stepped foot in a dollar store (but as a college student, I’m sure you have), but you can find some true gems in them. I once decorated an entire apartment with things I bought from the dollar store and it only cost me $46.
Lastly, I’m going to suggest something that others might see as really cheap but I’m going to go with it anyway. Re-gifting never hurt anyone. Just make sure you don’t give the present back to the person who gave it to you in the first place. Try to be thoughtful when doing it. Take into consideration whether or not the other person would actually even like it. Don’t just give your friends and family any old thing. Remember, you love them.
That’s the point. The saying, “It’s the thought that counts,” never meant more than when you are a college student or young professional. Milk it for what it’s worth now, because sooner or later they might start to expect some real gifts.
You can contact Kristian Glover at firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 5th, 2007 by Campus Philly
You may be under the impression that thank-you notes are a thing of the past; no one spends their time doing thoseanymore…right?
Actually, according to Peter Hill, a Certified Professional Resume Writer and President of Distinctive Resumes in Honolulu, HI, “Interview experts agree that EVERY job hunter MUST send thank-you notes after EVERY interview. They also point out that most people completely ignore this bit of wisdom.”
Now that you know this important fact, you may be wondering who you should send thank-you notes to and what you’re supposed to say. Hill advises that you send one to everyone you met on the day of the interview, including administrative assistants, managers and interviewers. After all, these people are where you want to be.
If you’re concerned about what you should write, here are a number of examples.
Basically, you want to do the same heading as you would on a cover letter or resumé: your name, address, phone number, and email address, followed by the date, and the addressees name, title, organization, and address. Next, is the greeting: “Dear Mr./Ms. So-and-So.”
The body of your letter should first remind the person reading it who you are; they most likely have interviewed a number of people for the same position and have seen hundreds of faces everyday, so you want to jog their memory a bit.
Then, make sure to thank them for taking time out of their schedule to meet with you. You want them to know that you value their time, just as much as they do.
In the next paragraph, you want to state why you believe that you are a good fit for the position. State your skills and aspects of your personality (determination, adaptability, etc.) that make you the perfect candidate for the position.
Lastly, let them know when they can contact you and the best number to reach you. Make sure to thank them again for their time and consideration. Include an ending (‘sincerely’ is a popular one), your signature and your typed name.
Hill also offers some other tips:
-Address the note to the specific individual with which you spoke. Personalize it. Avoid an obligatory, mechanical tone. Mention something about your conversation or how the individual treated you.
-Thank-you notes following an interview should be printed out on quality stationery with letterhead matching that of your résumé. Remember to sign it!
-A conservative, handwritten thank-you card is appropriate for all those friends, colleagues, and casual contacts that have helped you along the way.
-Send thank-you notes the very next day, at the latest. If it arrives a week later, the meaning is lost.
-If you e-mail a sentiment of gratitude, follow up with a thank-you note or card in the mail.
In regards to e-mail, you may have to make a tough decision. If most of your contact, prior to the interview, has taken place through e-mail, this may suffice as your thank-you note. On the other hand, think how great it feels to get a letter in the mail. Taking your time to write a card or note out by hand will prove to the employer that you actually care about the job.
Either way, a thank-you note in any form will set you apart from other candidates. It will indicate to the employer that you a serious about your job search, organized and good with people— all qualities that make up a good employee.
You can contact Kristian Glover at email@example.com.
December 5th, 2007 by Campus Philly
This week, the Flyers played three games, including a re-match against the Boston Bruins. Randy Jones was suspended for a hit against a Bruin in their last game.
The Flyers faced the Bruins Monday at home. It was a very rough game between the two teams, with a fight and a lot of hits. Forward Scott Hartnell put a hit on defenseman Andrew Alberts, which resulted in another two-game suspension. This is the Flyers’ fourth suspension of the season.
When the scoring started, the Bruins took full control, taking a 4-0 lead. The Flyers got on the board midway through the second period, with a power-play goal from Mike Knuble. Two minutes later, Danny Briere added another power-play goal. The Bruins scored again and led 5-2, after two periods. Scottie Upshall scored another power-play goal, but the Flyers ended up losing, 6-3. Marty Biron was pulled for the third time this season in the loss.
On Wednesday, the Flyers tried to rebound with a win in Carolina. This is their second and final visit to Carolina in a week. The Flyers continued to play well on the road, as they jumped out to a 3-0. Goals were scored by Derian Hatcher (in his return from injury), Kimmo Timonen and Mike Knuble. Carolina did score in the third to prevent the shut-out. Marty Biron rebounded as well and made 40 saves in the win.
According to the team’s website, John Stevens said this about Biron, Marty was terrific, Especially early he made some big saves and late he made a lot of great saves. He just plays great on the road.”
The final score was 3-1.
On Saturday the Flyers welcomed the Dallas Stars to the Wachovia Center for the first time in three years. The Flyers scored first, with a goal by Randy Jones. The Stars then took over scoring four straight to win, 4-1. This is the Flyers fifth straight loss at home, after starting 6-0.
This week, the Flyers finish up their schedule against the Northwest Division, with games against the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche.
You can contact Colin Fry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 4th, 2007 by Campus Philly
This week was one to be proud of the 76ers. They may not have won all of the four games that they played this week, but they gave it their all and won half. These wins weren’t just small menial wins; the 76ers dominated over the Bucks on Tuesday night, and on Friday, they snuck by the Wizards to run away with a win.
The week started off in Milwaukee against the Bucks. The game against the Bucks kept both team’s fans on the edge of their seats. This was Kyle Korver’s first game since his injury that he experienced a week ago. The Sixers actually played like a team against the Bucks and it showed. The 76ers came home with a win, which is remarkable, taking into consideration that the Bucks haven’t lost a home game since the beginning of the season.
Top scorers in the game were Kyle Korver, Andre Iquodala and Samuel Dalembert. Together, the three of them had a combined score of 62 points. Korver and Iquodala scored 20 points each, while Dalembert had 22 points and eight rebounds. Andre Miller also contributed to the win with 18 points of his own. The final score of the game was 114-to-99.
Wednesday night’s game against the Utah Jazz held hope for the Sixers. Just coming off a win, it was suspicion that they could come away with their first consecutive win of the season. Unfortunately, they couldn’t hold on to the teamwork that they exhibited the night before in Milwaukee.
The Jazz were playing a strong game, not giving up much. Jazz starter, Carlos Boozer was on the ball, becoming the MVP of the game to his team. The only highlight that any Philly fans could muster for their team was having Jimmy Rollins in the stands. Andre Igodala tried his best to be the lead scorer, coming away with 20 points. Andre Miller added 16 points, Lou Williams contributed 13, while Willie Green and Samuel Dalembert walked away with 11 points each. The final score of the game was Jazz 106, 76ers 95.
On Friday night, the Washington Wizards came to Philadelphia and played a horrendous game of basketball. The game was back and forth, each team being up by at least one point at a time. The Sixers weren’t playing their best game, missing 14 three-pointers. Somehow, though, the Sixers won. Unlike every game lately, Andre Igodala wasn’t the top point scorer in Friday night’s game; he only contributed eight points. Samuel Dalembert, however, was on the top of his game with 19 points and Andre Miller made 18 to help the 76ers to their win. The final score was 85-to-84.
The final game of the week was against the New Jersey Nets at their home. It was a good game for both teams. At the end of the half, the Sixers felt that they had another victory in their pocket, because they were up by 16 points. When half time was over though, the Nets stepped up their game and outscored the 76ers in the third quarter by 15. The Nets ended up walking away with the win. The final score was Nets 94, Sixers 92.
You can contact Noelle Roby at email@example.com .
December 3rd, 2007 by Campus Philly
Two manufacturing support organizations are ramping up efforts to measure the number of unfilled manufacturing jobs in the Philadelphia region and better train workers to fill those jobs.
The Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center has gotten $500,000 from the Lenfest Foundation to recruit retired Navy members to teach advanced manufacturing skills. The group plans to use the teachers in its Applied Engineering Technology program, which received $150,000 from the Lenfest Foundation in 2003.
The Urban Industry Initiative, meanwhile, contends that nearly all of the 1,300 manufacturing companies in Philadelphia have job openings. The assumption is that the companies could grow more quickly if they had a trained labor pool.
UII expects to complete a survey by the end of the year that will gauge the needs of the city’s manufacturers now, in the next three years, and five years from now.
The information gathered from the manufacturers will help UII connect the companies to private and public training resources, an often burdensome process, President/CEO Stephen Jurash said. UII will also use the information to try to shape programs offered by the region’s educational institutions to better serve the needs of the companies.
“We want to foster the kind of training that leads to degrees,” Jurash said. “I think it’s an old thought that the dumb kids go to [vocational and technical schools] — we need to get past that, manufacturing is changing and the level of training has to step up.”
Even with the movement toward automation and other technology, skilled labor will always be needed by the region’s manufacturers, said Anastasia Branco, senior manager of recruitment and retention at the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
“We do have a large applicant pool and sometimes the challenge is finding skilled people,” Branco said of the firm, which employs 1,200 locally.
UII is working to increase partnerships between the Philadelphia School District and the city’s manufacturing industry, which is the fourth largest contributor to the city’s wage tax. Mayor-elect Michael Nutter spoke about the need to improve vocational-technical training in the city school system Wednesday during a speech at the Franklin Institute.
“We need to bring that training back to school because I know for some young people, that may be the only reason to come to school in the first place,” said Nutter, who had cited the school district’s dropout rate of 45 percent earlier in his speech.
UII is also in discussions with the Community College of Philadelphia about the creation of an associate degree program for applied engineering.
Those workers in manufacturing had an average total compensation of $56,000 last year, 20 percent above that of U.S. workers overall, reported the DVIRC. Its CEO, Joseph Houldin, doesn’t believe more vo-tech schools are the answer. DVIRC is pushing an initiative with community colleges that focuses on STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math education.
“In this world of manufacturing there are virtually no entry-level jobs,” said Houldin, who estimates that 13,000 of the region’s 175,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled. “What we’re talking about is not training our way out of this, but educating our way out of this.”
While manufacturing jobs have declined in recent decades, retiring baby boomers are beginning to leave a vacuum and skilled replacements aren’t ready.
DVIRC’s AET program is designed to give young people the skills they need for today’s manufacturing jobs by offering them a curriculum that begins their junior year in high school, continues through their first two years in college or their entire stay at a community college, and ends with their last two years of college.
Students in the program can earn associate or bachelor’s degrees that allow them to work in modern factories, where people more commonly work with computer-controlled machines that do the labor, rather than doing the labor themselves.
The AET Program was kicked off in 2002 with a $500,000 Opportunity Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
It since has received $300,000 more from the DCED in a grant that provided money to Delaware and Montgomery county community colleges; $3 million from the U.S. Department of Labor; the initial grant from the Lenfest Foundation, which was more than matched by $300,000 from manufacturers; and the latest Lenfest Foundation grant.
The program has 2,153 students, of whom 1,134 are in participating high schools, 800 are in certificate and associate degree programs and 219 are in bachelor’s degree programs.
Eighteen high schools in Philadelphia and its four surrounding counties are involved, as are the community colleges that serve Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery counties, plus Pennsylvania State University’s Berks and Abington campuses and Drexel and Philadelphia universities.
The DVIRC wants to get 10,000 students in the program by 2010, but is concerned that when it does, the program won’t have enough people capable of teaching the applied skills the curriculum requires.
As it began looking for teachers with those skills, it talked to Bruce Melgary, the executive director of the Lenfest Foundation.
“He said, ‘We might be interested in providing you with more support on that if you were willing to take a look at retired Navy teaching people,” Houldin said.
One reason for the suggestion was that the Lenfest Foundation’s founder and namesake, cable-TV magnate H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, is fond of the Navy, having spent two years in it followed by 24 in the Navy Reserve. He commanded a reserve destroyer in Philadelphia and retired at the rank of captain.
Another was that not only would Navy trainers be familiar with applied skills, they would also be accustomed to working with young people from all types of backgrounds.
The DVIRC came up with a proposal for bringing ex-Navy people into the AET program, the Lenfest Foundation approved it, and the DVIRC is now beginning to work with the Navy on implementing it.
The DVIRC and the Navy should be able to tap into an existing program called Troops to Teachers. Funded by the U.S. departments of defense and education, it helps military personnel become public school teachers.
“Because Philadelphia is so much a Navy town, I’m sure there are lots of retired folks in the Philadelphia area that we’ll be going after,” Houldin said.
Aker Philadelphia Shipyard’s operations in the Philadelphia Navy Yard employs 1,300 workers, nearly half of which are subcontractors. While the work force is large enough to meet the company’s needs, Aker would like to reduce its reliance on subcontractors if not for the problem in finding qualified, skilled, local talent, said Tom Marinucci, business information specialist for the firm.
Aker is continually in need of skilled welders, fitters and machine operators and in 2004 founded an apprenticeship program, Marinucci said. By the end of this year, nearly 100 people are expected to have participated in the program, which will graduate its first class of professional shipbuilders next year.
“A lot of schools have stopped programs,” Jurash said of the shortage of trained manufacturing laborers. “These are good living wage jobs, but the problem is the work force that is out there is just largely untrained.”