Building Family Income & Wealth

Center for Culinary Enterprises

48th and Pine Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19104

The Center for Culinary Enterprises will house three commercial kitchens for area food entrepreneurs. The kitchens will be accessible at a low-cost to the entrepreneurs in order to lower barriers of entry into the food and catering industries. The Center will also offer business development services, maintain a community garden that produces fresh vegetables for residents, and house a youth-run restaurant, where local teens will learn key aspects of the business of food. LISC's early financing of the Center's predevelopment costs has helped secure construction financing. In this quarter there have been a number of developments to bring the Center closer to fruition. These include:

  • Project financing has advanced, including receiving preliminary approval from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.
  • The project's permanent financing sources have been assembled and the project is tentatively scheduled for a fall groundbreaking.
  • Revised project designs have been completed by the design and development team.
  • An Advisory Council of food industry experts assembled, and the first meeting was held.
  • In connection with the project, TEC's Philly Food Ventures business development program has been designed-- it is prepared for launch in Fall 2010.
  • TEC-CDC has obtained a $37,000 grant from Claneil Foundation for programming.
  • TEC-CDC has obtained a commitment from Bon Appetit to phase University of Pennsylvania baking contracts to CCE clients.
  • The CDC has raised $10,000 in private donations to support the project.


Digital Inclusion Program (Peoples Emergency Center)


The People's Emergency Center Digital Inclusion Program (PECDI) brings low-cost computers, broadband access, and computer training to affordable housing units throughout the SCI-West community. By providing computers and broadband access to low income families, along with free computer training for adults, teens and sixth graders throughout the year, the program increases access to information that can help with employment, education, and services.
While LISC, through grant funds from WPF, provided initial funding for expanding PEC’s Digital Inclusion Program, recent federal stimulus money (provided through a partnership with One Economy, the City of Philadelphia, and the Urban Affairs Coalition) has allowed the program to increase its scale and serve up to 450 families in the target area. This program will provide adult learners, sixth graders and teens with expanded computer training resources at 20 Public Computer Centers across the city. PEC will also be able to double the number of teens trained in computer technology and media literacy.
PEC has hired Tan Vu as the Director of the Digital Inclusion Program to lead this project. He is currently recruiting additional students and coordinating the installation of the wireless devices and other hardware in the affordable housing units.
For more information on PECDI computer classes, please click here.


Green and Healthy Neighborhood Initiative (The Partnership CDC)

After a pilot in the spring of 2009, The Partnership CDC has launched its Green and Healthy Neighborhood Initiative. The centerpiece is the Green Professionals Training program, which trains residents from the SCI-West target area to install green roofs and cool roofs and provides the skills they need to pass the Green Roofing Professional Certification Exam.

Green roofs are roofs of a building that are partially or completely covered with vegetation) and cool roofs are roofs that are painted white to reflect incoming solar rays and lower temperatures in the home. The Partnership CDC has selected two low-income blocks (one in the SCI-West target area) to provide residents with green roofs and cool roofs at no cost. In exchange for a free roof, residents are required to attend a Green and Healthy Neighborhoods workshop. The Enterprise Center, an SCI-West partner, hosts and co-leads these sessions. They feature information on improving energy efficiency within the home, financial literacy and budgeting skills, alternative pest management, lead and radon awareness, asthma triggers, and bicycle safety and repair.

The Green and Healthy Neighborhood program started on April 17th with eleven students. To date, nine students have completed the program and on June 17th they flew to Chicago to take the certification exam given by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the national certification agency. The picture to the right shows the greenhouse built by The Partnership CDC to grow sedum for the roofs.

The 300 Block of Holly Street in Mantua in the SCI-West target area was one of the two blocks selected to receive free roofs. Nine houses on the block have been completed so far: two have received a green roof, and seven have received a white roof. The remainder of the block will be completed by the class of nine graduates. The Partnership staff is currently working with Roofscapes, a local roofing company, to arrange internship opportunities for the class.

West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (University City District)

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative is being carried out by University City District and places young adults in the SCI-West target area on a career path by providing apprenticeship positions in area medical institutions and tuition-free courses at Community College of Philadelphia.

With the help of a subsidy from the program, employers will offer participants a salary of $25,000 a year while they work part-time and attend classes part-time. Program participants will graduate with an associate's degree and at the very least will have acquired valuable on-the-job experience. While the participating health care institutions have made no guarantees, it is the hope of SCI-West and LISC that these apprenticeships will turn into solid offers of employment at the end of the program.

UCD hired Sheila Ireland as program director in May 2010. She comes to UCD with more than 15 years experience in human resources management. Before joining UCD, she was human resources director at Encore Health. For seven years prior to that, Sheila served as training and organizational development manager for the Philadelphia Water Department, where she led the growth of a $1.4 million skills development program for employees.

Sheila and UCD staff members are currently finalizing the details of the apprenticeship program with Penn Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Mercy Health, and United Lab Animal Research. The official launch date is planned for September 2010.