District Celebrates 2nd Annual Kickoff of U.S. Navy’s PA Talent Pipeline Project

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Katherine Gilmore Richardson’s Office, School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Tony B. Watlington, Sr., Ed.D., and Command Master Chief of the U.S. Navy Josh Sturgill joined regional employers and educators for the second-year kickoff of the Pennsylvania Talent Pipeline Project. In May 2021, The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the U.S. Navy launched an initiative with the mission of energizing and engaging the Defense Industrial Base through the creation of maritime focused manufacturing pipelines that recapitalize the defense workforce and address critical trade skill gaps required across the maritime and defense ecosystems. The United States Navy selected the Philadelphia region and Pennsylvania as a target investment area due to a high concentration of maritime-related businesses that provide goods and services to the U.S. Navy.  The U.S. Navy and Secretary of Defense have more than $300 billion planned for investments in new submarines, aircraft carriers, and ships, over the next several decades. Pennsylvania has the most defense suppliers (~300) and critical suppliers (40+) of any state for the Navy’s submarine and aircraft carrier programs, but suppliers nationwide are struggling to meet their workforce needs.

In a proactive effort to build its workforce in the face of national labor shortages, the U.S. Navy, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Philadelphia Navy Annex teamed with local employers and academic institutions to develop a program committed to building sustainable talent pipelines in this region and energizing the regional economy. The program focuses on teaching small- and medium-sized employers how to improve their talent acquisition and retention by building talent pipelines in area high schools, community colleges, and Career & Technical Education (CTE) Centers.

The first year of the program touted significant outcomes, including the participation of 29 employers, 21 educational partners, and the creation of 224 jobs. The program recently expanded to Pittsburgh and southern New Jersey as well. The Pipeline Program will aim to exceed employment numbers in 2022-23, while also prioritizing job retention efforts for those hired in year one.

“For far too long, Philadelphians have dealt with generational poverty, with many of our constituents unable to move out of low-wage, low-skill positions without expensive advanced degrees,” said Councilmember Gilmore Richardson (At-Large). “Programs like the Pennsylvania Pipeline Project, which connect the dots between local employers, educational institutions, and job seekers, are helping us bring family supporting and sustaining careers back to Philadelphia. I am so grateful for the leadership and partnership of Superintendent Tony B. Watlington, Sr., and Command Master Chief of the U.S. Navy Josh Sturgill.”

“The School District of Philadelphia and our Office of Career and Technical Education is proud to continue this impactful partnership with the U.S. Navy so that more students have the opportunity to access high paying jobs when they graduate high school,” said Superintendent Tony B. Watlington Sr., Ed.D. “When the District is able to work directly with companies to prepare our students for the current workforce, both our students and community thrive.”

The District offers 120 total CTE programs throughout more than 30 high schools and serves nearly 6,000 students. Students enrolled in these programs acquire both technical and academic skills by industry professionals, using state-of-the-art equipment in over 40 occupational areas. Students also have the opportunity to earn industry-recognized certifications related to their respective career focus.

“The Pennsylvania Talent Pipeline Program is a critical component of our nation’s security initiatives and submarine building operations. In order to bolster our national defense and continue to ensure freedom of the seas, we must expand our industrial capacity to deliver one Columbia Class Ballistic Missile Submarine and two Virginia Class Attack Submarines.  We will need to add thousands of American workers to our workforce to meet this critical national security mission. We feel confident that the Talent Pipeline Program will help us in meeting our expanding workforce needs”, added U.S. Navy Command Master Chief Josh Sturgill.

Current Participating Employers in Greater Philadelphia:

1. Philly Shipyard Inc.
2. Rhoads Industries
3. Derbyshire Marine & Tool Co.
4. Naval Surface Warfare Center
5. Bridesburg Foundry Co.
6. Effort Foundry
7. DC Fabricators Inc.
8. Greiner Industries
9. Kingsbury Inc.
10. L3Harris Technologies
11. Navy Supply Systems Command
12. Philadelphia Ship Repair
13. American Hydro
14. Q.E.D. Systems
15. Fairmount Automation Inc.
16. Metals USA
17. Lehigh Heavy Forge
18. Jenkins Machine
19. Lehigh Carbon
20. General Dynamics Electric Boat
21. Holtec
22. Marine Tech Wire and Cable, Inc.
23. York Precision Machining and Hydraulics
24. Cleveland Cliffs, Inc.
25. Billet Industries
26. Curtis Wright
27. Lehigh Valley Plastis
28. Precision Custom Components
29. Everson Tesla
30. PRL

Partner Academic Institutions in Greater Philadelphia:

1. Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing
2. Bucks County Community College
3. Community College of Philadelphia
4. Delaware County Community College
5. Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
6. Williamson College of the Trades
7. Father Judge High School
8. Benjamin Franklin High School
9. Jules E. Mastbaum High School
10. A. Philip Randolph Technical High School
11. Swenson Arts and Technical High School
12. Thomas A. Edison High School
13. Lehigh Career and Technical Institute
14. Lancaster County Career and Technology Center
15. Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School
16. York Tech
17. Northampton Community College
18. Carer Institute of Technology
19. Welding Testing & Training Institute