Fifteen small and women business owners and Philadelphia International Airport employees recently graduated from the Construction Management Certificate Program, a comprehensive nine-month series of classes designed to provide business management tools to existing and aspiring independent contractors. The program was provided by Temple University and Temple’s Small Business Development Center and was sponsored by PHL.
“PHL has an unwavering commitment to opening opportunities to all the communities we serve, especially small and diverse businesses. The increase capacity and professional expertise of the graduates of this program will help them manage larger projects and progress to competing as prime contractors on our projects,” said Kathleen Padilla, Deputy Director of Aviation for Diversity and Inclusion. “PHL benefits from stronger business partners with increased abilities to work on our projects, a larger pool of qualified bidders for our opportunities and broader economic development in our community.”
The course, which started in September and met twice a week, offered a full package, including blueprint reading, estimating, project management, accounting, and understanding safety regulations.
“Temple’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is excited to have delivered its Construction Management Certificate Program (CMC) to Philadelphia International Airport, marking the first time the CMC was replicated off-site. The program, now in its 32nd year, empowers small contractors with the knowledge to advance their businesses. With ongoing construction projects, the airport is an excellent fit for this collaboration,” said Jamie Shanker-Passero, Associate Director, SBDC Temple University.
PHL solicited applications from the general public, the ethnic business chambers and small business organizations. Likewise, PHL partnered with the nonprofit SELF, Inc., the largest provider of emergency housing services for single adults in the City of Philadelphia experiencing homelessness, to enroll a participant who previously worked or had experience in the construction industry to take part in the program.
Korin Smith, an electrical apprentice who completed this challenging course while living in emergency housing, learned about the program when his case manager asked if he would be interested in participating, to which he immediately responded yes. “I was touched that Kathleen Padilla wanted to offer help to people that really need opportunities like this,” said Korin.
“In the beginning, I felt a little discouraged because I didn’t know anyone and everyone seemed to be well connected and more experienced, but as the classes progressed, the other learners were nice and took me under their wing. They supported me by helping me find my strengths to fully participate in the program. I appreciate the program instructors, the learners, and the PHL team very much,” continued Korin. “Now I want to start networking and meeting with people who can give me a chance to prove that I’m worth a chance. Finishing the course helped me feel better about my situation and gave me a boost of confidence.”
For his part, Mike Hinson, president and COO of SELF, Inc., said “this initiative provided Korin with a life changing opportunity to grow his capacities and become an entrepreneur and business owner. He learned management operations and networked with business owners who embraced his participation in the program. Being homeless does not equal being hopeless and this project demonstrated this. It provided this talented homeless individual with invaluable lessons that will only enhance his transformation and help him reach his goals. For this, Korin and our entire organization are so, so thankful.”
“The commitment made by graduates to complete this program while running their businesses, taking care of families and juggling other responsibilities is even more impressive as it occurred during a pandemic and worldwide crisis. We were able to switch to a virtual class model on the fly; Temple’s creativity and commitment to serving our students is equally impressive,” stated Padilla.
A special congratulations to the PHL employees who completed the program: Marjorie Chance, Yuba Dahal, Cobi Duncan, Marshall Evans, Alec Gever, Adam Mitchell, Kyle Schreiber, and Deneen Wilson.