Newswise — Shirley Moy has dedicated most of her career to working on various community and workforce development initiatives in a number of her roles at Temple University.
So when Temple began its search earlier this year for the person who would lead the new North Philadelphia Workforce Initiative (NPWI), Moy was a natural fit. As of July 1, Moy, SSW ’88, who has overseen the Center for Social Policy and Community Development (CSPCD), now housed in the College of Public Health, since 2009, takes the helm of the NPWI as executive director.
“It’s a marriage of my two passions: community development and workforce development,” Moy said.
Moy’s wants to ensure the community’s needs inform the NPWI. Its first phase will focus intensively on identifying opportunities and programs that already exist and ensuring they are accessible and collaborative, she said. She also plans to work with the City of Philadelphia to support its overarching workforce development strategies, which focus on high-priority occupations—jobs in fields that are growing.
“The first six months are about really getting a pulse of what Temple is doing so that we as a collective can figure out where the gaps and challenges are that could be supported by additional funding or collaboration,” Moy said.
She plans to engage community leaders to design a truly community-informed initiative that will provide the resources that would be most beneficial to the people living in the ZIP codes immediately surrounding Temple’s Main Campus and Health Sciences Center.
The NPWI is being funded in phases by a grant from the Lenfest Foundation. The first phase, funded at $512,000, officially launched this month as Moy moved into her role.
“In this community, we have people who have this spectrum of skill sets, from those who have very advanced degrees to those who are still working toward their high school equivalency,” Moy said. “My vision is providing opportunities for folks along the spectrum of their abilities, plus the spectrum of their desired abilities. So it’s not about keeping them where they are, but if they’re aspiring to advance or acquire additional skills, to help them get those skill sets and get those opportunities they’re seeking through whatever resources the university can offer.”
Moy’s North Philadelphia roots run deep: She earned her master’s of social work at Temple in 1988 and immediately began working for the CSPCD as a program coordinator, a role through which she managed numerous city-, state- and federally funded programs, including a community outreach center, violence prevention projects and a neighborhood grant program. She spent a decade at that position before moving to Ontario, Canada, for several years, where she worked as a community developer and data management coordinator for nonprofits.
In 2007, Moy returned to Philadelphia—and to Temple—and rejoined the CSPCD as the director of the EARN Center, which administered numerous workforce development programs independently and in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia. Two years later, she took the helm at Temple’s CSPCD.
In her role as CSPCD director, Moy has served as principal investigator on numerous grants that helped to develop the community and enhance workforce and educational opportunities for local residents. Grants on which Moy is currently principal investigator include a $614,000 project funded by Philadelphia Works Inc., Employment Connections for Opportunity Youth, which provides services for young adults who are aging out of foster care, as well as on a $637,000 Adult Basic Education grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which provides education and training for adults who are working on obtaining their high school equivalency diplomas.
“I welcome the opportunity to meet individually with leaders of community organizations and community leaders in general to help me understand what direction they would like to see this initiative go,” Moy said. “We want to engage in authentic dialogue and open dialogue so we can hear from each other about the opportunities and challenges.”
If you are interested in collaborating with the North Philadelphia Workforce Initiative, contact Shirley Moy at [email protected].