More than Three Dozen City Business Leaders Attend City Council’s Opening Session to Build Support for Inclusive, Neighborhood Focused Growth to Fight City’s Poverty
The Chamber Commerce for Greater Philadelphia (the “Chamber”) today welcomed Council members back from summer recess with the kickoff of the new “Council Connectors” program designed to build and strengthen relationships between city job creators and decision makers on City Council. More than three dozen business owners and executives from across the city, representing neighborhood and downtown businesses, attended today’s Council session, and more than 100 have signed up to be part of this critical new initiative. The Council Connectors program is part of the broader effort the Chamber and its allies began this spring to foster support for inclusive, pro-growth policies as a way to attack some of Philadelphia’s biggest challenges, most importantly the poverty that afflicts too many communities.
“Philadelphia is at a remarkable point in its history – after years of struggle, the city’s population and workforce are growing and the skyline is dotted with new development,” said Rob Wonderling, the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber. “But not every neighborhood and community are sharing in the city’s progress and with today’s announcement of the Council Connectors the business community is ready to be an active partner with City Council in working toward a more inclusive, economically diverse and strong economy.”
This spring, the Chamber and its allies – including the African-American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and dozens of civic and business leaders from across the city – announced the PHL Neighborhood Growth Project (PHL-NGP), a long-term initiative building on the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s “Roadmap for Growth. The PHL-NGP ’s Inclusive Policy Agenda addresses both the short-term need to help people find jobs as well as the longer-term investments needed to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs and to become entrepreneurs.
“The business community in Philadelphia is far from monolithic, and just as each of us have different needs to be successful, so do our neighborhoods,” said Ronald Murray, who attended City Council’s session today and owns PA Barber School. “The business community is more than just businesses. They are neighborhood people caring about the neighborhood. That’s why the PHL-NGP Inclusive Growth Agenda isn’t a single program or policy, but is a multi-part plan built around four policy pillars — Inclusive Growth and Good Jobs, Education and Workforce Modernization, Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, and Putting People First at City Hall.”
The business leaders who have signed up to be Council Connectors are committed to being partners in a coordinated, broad effort across government, businesses and community leaders. They believe the best way to confront our city’s stubborn poverty is by increasing the number of city residents employed at good, family sustaining wages. Some communities may require increased job training, others improved safety, and others still transportation options. All will require a tax and regulatory system that is easy to understand and applied consistently and fairly.
The Council Connectors effort is the latest action taken since the Chamber announced the PHL-NGP in the spring. Hundreds of businesses have joined the coalition, there have been more than a dozen community and business roundtables and forums, and there are store front signs pledging support for “Neighborhood Jobs” hanging across the city. In the primary, ten sitting members of City Council have signed onto the Growth Agenda. This fall, Councilman Derek Green is sponsoring a series of hearings in City Council and in neighborhoods focused on what neighborhoods actually need to address Philadelphia’s biggest challenges.
“We are excited about the city’s future, we are thrilled by the strong support the inclusive, pro-growth agenda is garnering from people in every neighborhood, and we cannot wait to continue working with partners and allies to make Philadelphia a city that works for all of us,” closed Wonderling.