Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN)

Research Associate, Career Readiness


Project Goal: We expect that the Philly Fellow will help PYN and community stakeholders, including providers, employers, the City, and the school district, to develop a common framework and set of tools for defining and understanding a shared definition of career readiness that is inclusive of both employment and postsecondary opportunities.


Agency Information


Agency Mission
To create coordinated systems which promote the attainment of academic achievement, economic opportunity and personal success

Address  400 Market Street, Suite 200
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2535

Total number of Agency Staff Members  54

Agency Budget  $25 million

Job Description

The fellow’s duties and responsibilities:         

  • Roll out framework elements and assessment tools with providers during six-week summer experiences in Summer 2017
  • Gather information and data from summer providers and youth about value of content and tools to their work
  • Work with internal PYN stakeholders to synthesize and analyze data collected and make refinements to stakeholder tools and framework as needed
  • Vet new refined framework and tools with employer stakeholders
  • Finalize framework for public roll out citywide
  • Test and support additional refinements to internal PYN assessment instruments
  • Engage in awareness-building and sharing events with multiple city stakeholders to support take up and use of framework
  • Help prepare for use of framework and tools in Summer 2018


Skills/qualifications a fellow should have to succeed in the position:    

  • Interest in youth development, and specifically career development of youth
  • Interest in research and evaluation
  • Ability to manage and support work that includes multiple and varied external and internal stakeholders
  • Presentation and consulting skills
  • Strong project management and communication skills, including writing
  • Experience analyzing and synthesizing qualitative data


Community Need

Specific community need that the Philly Fellow will address:

Data from the 2013 American Community Survey indicate a staggering discrepancy among youth employment rates:  for 16-19 year olds, 27.6% are employed nationally; 30.3% are employed in Pennsylvania, and 15.6% are employed in Philadelphia. Furthermore, in an Aspen Institute survey of youth workforce development service providers, respondents cited lack of sufficient socio-emotional and/or behavioral skills (79%) as one of the greatest challenges young people face in connecting to stable employment.  However, the institutions that promote work readiness in Philadelphia lack a unifying framework that allows youth serving providers to understand the developmental needs of young people and ways to assess growth of social-emotional and behavioral skills. To that end, PYN has begun to develop a framework for youth success based on the most current literature on 21st century skills and college and career readiness.


How the new capacity created by this fellow will help strengthen the community and alleviate the problem:   

The Philly Fellow will provide PYN with dedicated support for continuing to move PYN’s youth success framework based on 21st century skills and behaviors, and in particular ensuring that this framework aligns with the work and needs of key stakeholders like the School District of Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia, and other collaborative efforts like Generation Work and Project U-Turn.  We intend to focus of the Fellow in three key ways:    (1) ensuring the inclusion and integration of employer perspectives, helping to align definitions and language across employers, nonprofit youth development organizations, and large institutional partners like the School District of Philadelphia    (2) rolling out and testing early drafts of the framework and its content across our provider community to support both stronger programming and a stronger framework, and     (3) helping to support the development of aligned assessment tools that allow PYN and its partners to measure and understand more about youth progress in developing 21st century skills and behaviors and making progress towards career readiness (inclusive of postsecondary and employment readiness).     Through this multi-faceted strategy we hope to change practices within our provider community through communication of clearer expectations about what it takes to support the success of young people. By using this research-informed framework to communicate a common understanding and message to a variety of stakeholders, we believe we can move in the same direction to support young people and ultimately support greater employment and education success, which we know are critical to addressing inequity and poverty in Philadelphia.


Level of community involvement in the fellow’s project:

The Philly Fellow will engage with multiple stakeholder groups in their role – including with providers in our provider network and the youth they serve, key system stakeholders like the district and City, as well as employers.  The nature of this position is to be a key representative of and advocate for this work as we seek various community perspectives to inform the framework, as well as share the framework with the community for use.


The organization’s experience operating anti-poverty programming of this nature:

PYN has developed a new strategic plan that elevates addressing poverty and inequity as central to our work.  This has been an important focus of our work over the last 16 years focusing on youth workforce development and our strategic plan provides the opportunity to formalize this focus.      We see our role as an incubator and system-builder as critical to addressing education and employment inequities at scale in Philadelphia.  We have a long history supporting programming in Philadelphia at scale, through efforts like WorkReady Summer, and convening stakeholders around youth workforce and education issues.  Through our work with the Council for College and Career Readiness and Project U-Turn, we connect stakeholders and help build shared understanding and common languages for engaging more young people in successful education and employment opportunities in Philadelphia. Part of this work has been elevating research and developing common frameworks and reference points for guiding work across multiple providers and system stakeholders.    Furthermore, as a national thought partner in youth workforce issues, we offer a connection point to the national dialogue and current research on promising practices in a variety of youth-focused areas – particularly around conversations focused on career pathways, postsecondary bridging, supporting opportunity youth, and engaging in system change efforts.


Fellowship Logistics


Fellow orientation plan:

The Philly Fellow will report to the Director of Research and Evaluation.  In addition taking part in PYN’s standard onboarding processes and connecting with individual Research & Evaluation team members, the Fellow will have opportunities for learning early on about the research base on which the draft framework is based. The Fellow will have opportunities to immerse herself/himself in the original research, as well as, engage in discussions about the information with team members.  Another critical aspect of orientation will be meeting with key individual stakeholders, particularly from our Program Strategy and Integration and Partnerships for Employment Pathway teams, who in addition to Research & Evaluation, the fellow will work with closely.      Given that the Philly Fellow’s potential start date will be very close to the start of our summer program, we will also develop a plan for quick exposure to the WorkReady Summer system – including an overview of the work and connection to key team members like the Project Manager of WorkReady and the Contextual Learning Specialists that the Fellow will collaborate with in the field.


Name and title of the fellow’s immediate supervisor:  Sarah Singer Quast; Director, Research & Evaluation


Plans for supervision of the fellow:

The Fellow will report to the Director of Research and Evaluation and take part in weekly Research & Evaluation team meetings as well as formal monthly one-on-one supervision sessions.  However, additionally, we expect that the Fellow will have daily contact with the Research & Evaluation team.


Will fellow be working at the same address listed above? 



Will the fellow have their own…             

Office?  Fellow will not be provided with           
  Fellow will have their own
 Fellow will have their own


The approximate percentage of time the fellow will work…

Independently  50%          

As a team member in a group setting  30%

As a team leader in a group setting   20%


Will the fellow be expected to travel as part of the position?  Yes

If so, how often and where?   locally in Philadelphia


Will the fellow need the following to carry out the position…

A driver’s license?  No

Their own car?   No