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August 30, 2014, 4:09 am

City tackles jobless issue with new panel

Members of the city’s new Jobs Commission were formally named this week and held their first meeting as they move toward drawing up a series of recommendations for the city in an effort to spur job growth.

“Taking a comprehensive approach to dealing with jobs is one of the most important things we can do,” said Council President Darrell Clarke, who, along with Mayor Michael Nutter, announced the members of the 17-member panel. “What we have to do is make sure, in a very comprehensive way, that we’ve taken an approach to creating job opportunities, and insuring that there are opportunities for the City of Philadelphia.”

Clarke was a primary force behind the creation of the commission.

Voters last year gave city officials the authority to seat the group approving a change to the Home Rule Charter to establish the panel. The political watchdog group, the Committee of Seventy, argued against the idea, contending that it was simply another layer of government bureaucracy.

Members, who are not paid, will meet monthly and are expected to produce their first report within the next 6 months.

Robert C. Nelson, president and CEO of Philadelphia OIC, will chair the group, which has been charged with coordinating public/private efforts to identify “effective jobs creation policies and initiatives.” The commission’s report will address a number of topics: job training, workforce development, economic development, land acquisition and disposition, education, licensing, zoning, tax and regulatory policies.

Nelson said that despite the long list of priorities, it all boiled down to one thing — people.

“The face of unemployment is now multi-ethnic. It’s multi-cultural. It’s multi-educational. It’s multi-experiential,” Nelson said. “We need to take those faces and the sensitivity of the plight of those people in Philadelphia and, as a commission, they ought to be indelible in our mind.”

Other commission members are: Sultan Ahmad, former director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Services; Ruta Bastos of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Ryan Boyer, business manager, Laborer’s District Council; Steven Scott Bradley, board chair of the African American Chamber of Commerce; David Donald, founder and CEO of PeopleShare; Mark Edwards, president and CEO of the Workforce Development Corp.; David Glancey, director of special projects, University of Pennsylvania; Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr.; James Gratton, president of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association; William Hart, director of the Mayor’s Office of Re-integration Services for Ex-offenders; Eden Kratchman with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; Jaine Lucas with Temple University; Bilal Qayyum, president of the Father’s Day Committee; Narasimha Sheno with the Asian American Chamber of Commerce; Al Taubenberger with the Northeast Chamber of Commerce and Julie Welker with Caldwell Banker Welker Real Estate.


Contact staff writer Eric Mayes at (215) 893-5742 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .