PHL staff recently participated in a virtual panel discussion with 50 students from Bartram High School for a special Black History Month Edition of the Workforce Development Unit’s Career Profile Series. The panel discussion was also part of the airport’s Southwest Initiatives for Neighborhood Growth (SWING), an effort focused on building stronger relationships with PHL’s surrounding neighborhoods through impact-driven engagement and connectivity to resources.
Students had the unique opportunity to hear from airport employees who work in different fields and reflect diversity in aviation. The discussion was moderated by Jonathan Todd, PHL’s Director of Workforce Development. Panelists included:
- Delicsha Wilds, Chief Administrative Officer
- Shaquana Duncan, Budget Officer
- Milton Robinson, Airport Facilities Manager
- Will Bayne, Civil Engineer
- Ashlee Franklin, Service Representative
Todd started the program by introducing the panelists and asking them to share their favorite off-hours activities. This icebreaker led into a fun discussion that highlighted the positive work environment and camaraderie at the Division of Aviation. When asked what advice panelists would give their younger selves, the answers included helpful life hacks such as taking responsibility for your mistakes without being unkind to yourself for those mistakes, developing the ability to pivot from one task to the next, not limiting yourself, and to keep learning.
Wilds said, “Employees who demonstrate positivity and enthusiasm about their work and their work environment tend to be more engaged and more productive. This combination often results in better outcomes for both the employee and the employer, such as greater retention, pride in their work, and more motivated employees. Employees with good overall well-being are invested in the organization’s success.”
The panelists also discussed how skilled trades careers are high-demand, financially lucrative professional options. Panel member and Airport Facilities Manager Robinson is well-equipped to speak about those opportunities. He leads the units responsible for facility management and supervises hundreds of HVAC, plumbing, custodial, electrical and grounds keeping staff. Robinson encouraged students who are not sure about college to look at skilled trades. He shared, “There are many opportunities for young skilled trades workers with the airport and the City of Philadelphia.”
Job openings in the trades for PHL and other departments can be found on the PHL job portal.