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United Way Appoints Carniesha Kwashie Director of Workforce Development

PHILADELPHIA–March 16, 2017 – United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) today announced the appointment of Carniesha Kwashie as director of Workforce Development. In this role, Kwashie will lead UWGPSNJ’s Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN), a partnership among philanthropy, government, community organizations and employers that develops and supports innovative efforts to eliminate the gap between workers’ current skill levels and those needed for high-growth jobs.

“Our community is facing a workforce crisis: businesses lack strong talent to fill critical jobs, yet the majority of eligible workers are underemployed or not in the workforce at all,” says Jim Cawley, president and CEO of UWGPSNJ, the managing partner of JOIN. “JOIN helps to fill that gap and create a strong job pipeline in the region. Carniesha’s ability to motivate teams, inspire buy-in and develop solutions-oriented approaches will be critical in positioning JOIN to continue to drive coordinated systems- change to increase impact and scale across the workforce system.”

Prior to joining UWGPSNJ, Kwashie served as grant manager of the Better Bike Share Partnership for the City of Philadelphia, where she implemented and managed Indego, the City’s bike share program. She has extensive workforce development experience, having spent more than four years in a number of capacities with Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) of America. A resident of Philadelphia, she is an alumna of Temple University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and African-American Studies. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Interior Architecture and Design from Drexel University.

“We know that community and economic prosperity occurs when employers have a strong pipeline of skilled workers to fill high-demand jobs,” adds Maari Porter, director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives, Managing Directors Office, City of Philadelphia, another partner in the JOIN initiative. “To elevate JOIN’s exceptional work and expand high-quality programming we sought a dynamic, visionary leader – and we found that in Carniesha. We're thrilled to have her lead this initiative and the City looks forward to a strong and continued partnership with JOIN as we build the skills needed for a world-class workforce.”

Founded in 2008, JOIN invests in industry-led workforce partnerships that prepare low-wage workers with the skills to advance into high-demand jobs; collaborates with employers, educators, job trainers and other funders by sharing information, educational and job-training opportunities, organizing employer feedback and enhancing the capacity to meet employer demand; develops and tests evidence-based models; and advocates for the adoption of best practices. As a result of JOIN’s work, $4.2 million in new Federal resources have been directed into our region; 3,700+ lower-skilled workers obtained industry-recognized credentials or degrees; 2,500+ lower-skilled workers gained new jobs or increased wages; and nearly 200 employers were connected to trained workers to fulfill talent needs. For more information about JOIN, visit

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