Parker Plan for Creating Economic Opportunity
- $17.53/hour minimum wage tied to the rate of inflation
- Soft-skills training for people entering the workforce
- Business-friendly environment to encourage employers to locate to Philadelphia
- Schools that teach to needed jobs and better prepare kids for college
- Schools open from 7:30am – 6:00pm so parents can get to work without worrying about before- and after-school care
- Double the number of diverse businesses and the number of small businesses in Philadelphia
- Supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs with free business training
First and foremost, we need to offer everyone a path to self sufficiency. For the working poor, that begins with addressing our current minimum wage of $7.25. This wage is set far below a level that is a liveable, family-sustaining wage and creates a class of working poor that are forced to rely on public assistance, hitting Black, Latino, and women-led households the hardest – the vast majority of the 350,000 philadelphians living in poverty.
According to the MIT living wage calculator, a living wage in Philadelphia is $17.53/hour for someone with no children. Ultimately, any meaningful minimum wage change will need to come from Harrisburg or Washington, and Cherelle has the experience to get it done – not just once, but to have it permanently tied to the rate of inflation so we don’t have to have these fights again.
But for some, a higher wage isn’t enough. We need to have programs that help Philadelphians who haven’t participated in the workforce the soft skills they need to be competitive. That’s one of the reasons, while on City Council, Cherelle started the PHL Taking Care of Business (PHL TCB) program. PHL TCB hires local residents with little or no work experience to sweep and clean in and around commercial corridors in the city while providing soft skills job training like resume writing so that they are prepared to enter the workforce.
That being said, a higher minimum wage doesn’t do enough if there also aren’t jobs here.
To support and help grow existing businesses and entrepreneurs in Philadelphia, Cherelle started Power Up Your Business in conjunction with the Community College of Philadelphia. This free course teaches basic business skills to people who need them the most, and it has assisted and continues to assist more than 1,000 small businesses. The program has been so successful, it is now the number one feeder to the national Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program that provides continued education, capital, and business support services to take businesses like these to the next level.
As Mayor, Cherelle will ramp up Power Up Your Business so that every small business has the opportunity to scale and grow to be the next major Philadelphia success story.
The city also needs to support our existing mid- and large-size businesses, and be a welcoming place for businesses located outside of Philadelphia to locate here. Cherelle will be working with the business community to create an environment that encourages growth by cutting through the red tape and impediments to doing business in the city.
To support businesses of all sizes, Philadelphia schools must be geared toward training a workforce that is ready to get to work. A key component of the Parker Plan for Education is to partner high schools with businesses, city departments, and the Building Trades to provide training for jobs that are available and needed, as well as partnering with colleges and universities to provide best-in-class college preparatory training for students who are college-bound.
But that is not all that our schools will be doing. By being open from 7:30am to 6:00pm, working parents (especially working mothers who are heads of households) will be able to drop off and pick up their children from school and still get to work on time, while their children participate in enrichment programs and eliminate the need for costly child-care before and after school.
As businesses grow and locate here, we’ll be looking at them to hire Philadelphians. This may mean providing additional training, but also provide an “earn as you learn” model. This is currently happening for the city’s blooming life-sciences industry where low-skilled workers are learning how to clean bio-labs with a path to good paying, union jobs. We need to highlight these models and encourage others to do the same.