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Updated Oct. 7

It’s not surprising that in the poorest big city in the country, there are nearly 40,000 people without a job.

Philadelphia’s unemployment rate in June 2018 was 5.7 percent, according to Philadelphia Works, a rate 1.7 percent higher than the national average. One month later, unemployment in Philly was even worse, up by 0.7 percent.

Those figures don’t take into account all the people looking for work, however, because unemployment rates don’t factor in underemployment, a phenomenon that includes people who are involuntarily working part-time. A recent study by the Strada Institute and Burning Glass found that underemployed recent graduates, on average, can earn $10,000 less annually than their peers who work in traditional college-level jobs. Forty-three percent of workers are underemployed in their first job.

This year, the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington region has a collective underemployment rate of 33.8 percent, per Chmura Economics & Analytics. One in three people in the region is on the hunt for good work.

Finding solid employment is no easy task, but there are numerous organizations and trade schools in Philadelphia that are dedicated to providing adults and older youth with the tools, guidance and confidence that they need to master a new career — and you don’t have to go into debt to attend them.

Here are a dozen job-training and readiness programs, workshops and courses that are free, affordable or have financial aid and scholarship options available. (Looking for even more? Try a search at PA CareerLink Philadelphia.)

Note: This is Part I of this resource list; Part II is here

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American Red Cross

2221 Chestnut St. 

Nurse assistant training and testing, lifeguard and water safety training, phlebotomist paid training (mix of classroom instruction and field practice). The phlebotomy program is a paid-training career opportunity. The CNA program is free in most need-based instances.

Fill out this contact form for more information.

Brightwood Career Institute

3010 Market St. 

Education and skills training through accredited diploma programs for dental assistant, medical assistant, medical billing and coding and electrical technician career paths.

Chat with a live representative on Brightwood Career Institute’s site for more information.

Center for Social Policy & Community Development 

1509 Cecil B. Moore Ave. 

Temple University offers a myriad of workforce development programs, including New Choices Career Development, Community Health Workers and WELL.

Contact for more information.

City of Philadelphia Office of Human Resources

1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd. 

A civil or non-civil service job with the City of Philadelphia has numerous benefits. Opportunities range in skillset needed or education requirements, but some may offer on-site job training. Current listings can be accessed here.

Email for more information.

Community College of Philadelphia

1700 Spring Garden St. 

Workforce training programs are offered in four different career pathways: healthcare (nurse aide, dental assistant, pharmacy technician), automotive (emissions and safety inspection, braking, steering), advanced manufacturing (CNC precision machining, electromechanical/mechatronic technology, blueprint reading, gas distribution pipeline mechanic, welding), business and technology (bookkeeping, customer service and call center representative).

All programs begin with “21st-century skills” training, defined by the college as computer literacy, workplace essentials, core communication and orientation to careers.

Email for more information.

Congreso de Latinos Unidos

216 W. Somerset St. 

Offers a child development associate training program and a licensed tractor-trailer driver certificate program.

Contact and for more information.

Connection Training Services

2243 W. Allegheny Ave. 

Specializes in re-entry vocational training for ex-offenders, but also provides training for young adults ages 16 to 24, veterans and the homeless.

Fill out the CTS contact form for more information.

District 1199CC Training & Upgrading Fund

100 S. Broad St. 

Early childhood education, healthcare delivery, behavioral health specialist and nursing aide programs for entry and mid-level positions available, as well as transition bridge programs and GED classes.

Call (215) 568-2220 for more information.

Home Care Associates 

1500 Walnut St. 

If you are successfully admitted to the Home Care Associates home health aide or attendant program, you receive paid, on-the-job training for twelve weeks.

Email for more information.

JEVS Human Services

Multiple locations

JEVS has a variety of services and programs for job seekers, including CareerLink, The Choice is Yours, the Vocational Research Institute, Work Ready and Orleans Technical College.

Fill out the JEVS contact form for more information.

Lincoln Technical Institute

9191 Torresdale Ave.  

An accredited automotive technician training program with two career-specific paths to choose from: automotive technology and automotive service management.

Chat with a live representative on Lincoln Technical Institute’s site for more information.

Philadelphia Job Corps Life Science Institute

2810 S. 20th St. 

Work-based learning and training programs to become a facilities maintenance worker, certified nurse assistant, clinical medical assistant, emergency medical technician, pharmacy technician or a culinary artist are offered, as well as GED classes, driver education and English language learning.

Call (215) 861-5500 for more information.