PHA opens doors to self-sufficiency -- 114 students to begin New Year with greater opportunities
Construction trades and health care students become latest graduates of model PHA programs

PHILADELPHIA, PA (December 11, 2001) - Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) Executive Director Carl R. Greene is saluting the latest public and assisted housing residents to graduate from PHA's successful career training programs. The new graduates include 32 residents from the Pre-Apprenticeship Building, Maintenance and Construction Trades Program, 32 PHA residents in the Certified Nursing Assistant program, 39 residents in the Pharmacy Technician program, and 11 students participating in the Professional Healthcare Institute class of Medical Billing.

The graduation ceremony takes place Wednesday, December 12, 2001 at 10 a.m. in the Harold Prince Theatre at the University of Pennsylvania, 3680 Walnut Street. Mayor John Street, Rep. Robert A. Brady (D-Pa.) and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell are the commencement speakers and will offer their congratulations to the program participants.

So far, 179 public and assisted housing residents have benefited from the Pre-Apprenticeship program since the first graduation took place on June 30, 1999. More than 250 PHA residents have successfully completed the Certified Nursing program since its inception in 1998.

In announcing the success of the latest graduates, Greene said, "Our continued commitment to change and improve the lives or PHA residents is evidenced by the accomplishments of these graduates and through the realization that these programs work and will be continued in the future. We have proven to our community and to the State of Pennsylvania that PHA residents are capable, knowledgeable and hard-working."

The Pre-Apprenticeship program provides vocational and educational skills through a hands-on, 21-week training program designed to help participants pass the apprenticeship test for the construction unions. Upon completion of the program, graduates can work in the construction in industry as qualified apprentices. The trainees will work with PHA and union contractors to rehabilitate, modernize and build at various Housing Authority properties and private construction projects.

Pre-Apprenticeship graduates will have starting salaries of between $8 and $10 per hour as apprentices and, if successful, should expect to see pay increases every few months. After four or five years as apprentices (depending upon the specific union they are in), the graduates will be eligible to become full-time members of the union. Once they are full-time members, they will earn a minimum of $20 per hour in the construction trade, according to union officials.

The Pre-Apprenticeship Program is a joint effort sponsored by the PHA; The America Works Partnership; The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Metropolitan Regional Council; the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 21; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union No. 98; and, Plumbers Union Local 690. Special recognition should also be given to a host of local Philadelphia businesses including Dewalt Tools, Diamond Tools & Fasteners, Inc., The Home Depot, and Arbill Glove & Safety Products. These businesses have consistently supported the PHA Pre-Apprenticeship program by generously donating equipment and other awards.

The Certified Nursing Assistant program provides classroom and clinical training through an 8-week training program designed to help participants gain the necessary skills to assist in the medical field. The Professional Healthcare Institute conducts the training and is culminated with certification testing administered by the American Red Cross. The final three weeks of the course consists of "hands-on" training and instruction at the Cheltenham-York Nursing Home. Other well-rounded educational programs including Medial Billing and Pharmacy Technician courses are also offered through PHA and its partners.

Nursing Assistant graduates are placed at nursing homes and hospitals in the Philadelphia area and their starting salaries range anywhere from $7.50 to $11.00 per hour in addition to benefits.

PHA continues to be nationally recognized for its innovations in public housing. It has the distinction of being the first housing authority in America to be designated by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) of the National Association of Realtors as an "Accredited Management Organization". This designation is awarded to firms engaged in property management, which have met IREM's high standards in the areas of education, experience, integrity and financial stability.

PHA is the nation's fourth largest public housing agency serving more than 70,000 residents through conventional and scattered site public housing and Section 8 programs.