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April 8, 2021

Opportunities In Tech Surging But Employers Having Trouble Finding Trained Workers


PHILADELPHIA (April 8, 2021) – Unemployed and underemployed Philadelphians will have the chance to train for family-sustaining jobs under a major expansion of the Urban League of Philadelphia’s Urban Tech Jobs Program, funded by longtime partner Comcast.


“The digital revolution has not presented Philadelphians of color with their fair share of employment opportunities,” Urban League of Philadelphia President and CEO Andrea Custis said. “Forward-thinking companies like Comcast recognize that building a stable and vibrant post-pandemic economy depends upon expanding these opportunities in underserved communities.”


Tech-related job openings are surging, both nationally and in the Philadelphia region. Of the 20 top high-priority occupations for Philadelphia, 13 are tech-related. Computer jobs were the third-most advertised positions in the final months of 2020. In fact, the top 10 in-demand roles listed by a World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report are all tech-related — but four in 10 American employers report that they struggle to fill tech vacancies, according to a survey.


When tech companies do hire, few of the jobs are going to workers of color. The National Urban League’s 2018 State of Black America® found that of the 40,000 employees of four major Silicon Valley technology firms, only 1,000 were Black. To address the racial opportunity gaps in the digital economy and broadband availability, the National Urban League has developed the Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion.


“As the National Urban League’s Latimer Plan makes clear, it’s imperative that we create new opportunities for underserved communities to participate in the growth of the digital economy,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Comcast. “We are excited to partner with National Urban League on the expansion of their Urban Tech Jobs Program to help ensure that more adults are able to gain tech skills that will help them progress into higher-wage occupations.”


The Urban Tech Jobs Program is an accelerated training program that recruits unemployed and underemployed adults and provides them with workshops to build solid job readiness and personal resiliency/adaptability skills while offering nationally recognized certification coursework and paid work experience.


Before enrolling in the Urban Tech Jobs Program at the Urban League of Philadelphia, Sirron Carractor experienced a personal hardship that left him feeling “defeated and alone,” he said. Though he had prior IT experience, he learned several new concepts during the accelerated five-week course and has earned certifications in CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications. Now a full-time employee in the City of Philadelphia’s IT department, he is “Fired up and invigorated.”


More than 800 workers and jobseekers have taken advantage of the program nationally since 2016, leading to jobs in technology such as network administrator, office manager, installation technician, helpdesk specialist, systems analyst, programmers, and developer.


Comcast’s $3 million commitment will enable a total of 240 individuals to be trained through an expansion of the program at six Urban League affiliates:

  • Urban League of Philadelphia (Andrea L. Custis, President & CEO)
  • Chicago Urban League (Karen Freeman-Wilson, President & CEO)
  • Houston Area Urban League (Judson Robinson III, President & CEO)
  • Urban League of Broward County (Germaine Smith-Baugh, President & CEO)
  • Urban League of Greater Atlanta (Nancy Flake Johnson, President & CEO)
  • Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh (Esther L. Bush, President & CEO)


Individuals who are interested in applying for Urban Tech should send their resumes to Regular updates regarding future Urban League of Philadelphia and National Urban League initiatives can be found at and .


About Urban League of Philadelphia


The Urban League of Philadelphia, an affiliate of the National Urban League, is a nonpartisan civil rights organization that has empowered African Americans and other underserved communities for more than a century. Through housing, employment, entrepreneurship, youth development, health and wellness and advocacy, we impact more than 15,000 children, youth and families a year. To learn more about our work, visit or connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


About The National Urban League


Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research, and advocacy. Today, the National Urban League has 90 affiliates serving 300 communities in 37 states and the District of Columbia, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than two million people nationwide.