Whether you lost your job, want to transition to something else, or need help figuring out what options are available, looking for a new job can be stressful. So, to make the search a bit easier, here are some resources that can help.

What’s the job market like in Philly?

Before the pandemic, the Philadelphia job market was growing steadily — sometimes even outperforming the rest of the country. However, the pandemic hit Philly pretty hard, according to the Pew Research Center.

Since March 2020, Philadelphia has underperformed in job growth compared to the national growth rate. Right now, Philly is losing a lot of relatively lower-wage jobs and it’s affecting Black and female workers the most.

At the same time, many people left the workforce in 2021 in Philadelphia, which is putting pressure on employers to pay people more.

The fastest-growing job sectors in Philly in the past year are leisure and hospitality, transportation, business services, and health and education, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Before you start

Think about what you want and need from a job. Consider:

  • What salary/wage you want to receive
  • What hours you are available to work
  • How far you are willing to commute 
  • If you want to work remotely
  • If you need a job with benefits (healthcare, parental leave)
  • If you want a job that requires a degree, certifications, or training
  • If you are legally allowed to work in the U.S.
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Teen jobs for the summer

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation — Lifeguard

Pay: $16 per hour, 35 hours per week, (June through August)

Parks & Recreation hire lifeguards each year to supervise the pools around the city. You must be 16 years or older to work as a lifeguard with the city. To become a lifeguard you must complete a lifeguard screening test and receive certification.

To become a lifeguard:

  • Contact your local pool supervisor to apply. Use this online tool to find a pool near you.

  • Attend a lifeguard screening test before or during your application process. There are two locations where you can complete your screening test. You will need to bring a bathing suit and towel. If you do not pass, you can take the test again.

  • After you pass your screening test, your lifeguard instructor will enroll you in a certification course. If you are 16-24, certification and recertification is free; if you are 25 or older, it costs $110 to be certified and $65 to be recertified. Once you complete the course you will take an exam. If you pass, you will be a certified American Red Cross Lifeguard. Certification is valid nationwide for two years.

  • After you have applied, passed the screening test, and become certified, you will attend an employee processing appointment and complete a drug test. If you progress through this stage, your local pool supervisor will be notified that you are able to work and get in touch with you to start working. Clearance for employment can take from three to six weeks.

To apply: 🌐 phila.gov/services/working-jobs/find-a-job-or-internship/become-a-lifeguard 📞 215-683-3663 ✉️ lifeguard@phila.gov (email preferred)

WorkReady

Pay: up to $1,000 for the summer

If you’re between 12 and 24 years old, WorkReady can help you find a summer job. The program operates from July through August each year and provides youth with at least three days of in-person work per week and pay up to $1,000 a summer.

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is not required to apply for WorkReady. However, proof of COVID-19 vaccination may be required depending on where you are placed for work.

  • If you are 12 years old, a parent or guardian will need to complete the application for you. If you are 13 to 24, you can complete the application yourself.

To apply: 🌐 workready.org/summer. If you have questions call 267-502-3900 or email WorkReadyHelp@pyninc.org.

Play Streets Initiative

Pay: $11/hour

Play Streets is summer program that helps teens work to support communities, operated by Fab Youth Philly. If you’re between 15 and 19 years old, you can get hired as a Play Captain from July through August to oversee sections of the city that are blocked off to traffic and designated as “Play Streets” for local youth. In Philadelphia, there are more than 500 designated Play Streets. As a Play Captain, you will help lead programming and activities for kids on a designated street. Follow Play Streets on Instagram for updates at @phillyplaycaptains.

To apply: 🌐 playcaptains.com/apply

Philadelphia Works

Philadelphia Works is a nonprofit organization from the City’s Workforce Development Board. They provide free employment services and can connect youth and young adults with workforce programs all year round. Find the list of programs at philaworks.org/workforce-services/young-adults.

🌐 philaworks.org 📞 833-750-5627

Jobs for seniors

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA)

PCA is nonprofit organization that helps older Pennsylvanians with day-to-day services and has two free programs that help older people find jobs. For more information, call or visit the offices in person.

  • Mayor’s Commission on Aging provides job counseling, job search training, job referrals, and placement in federally subsidized employment. You have to make a less than a certain income to qualify. 📞 215-686-8450,📍100 S. Broad St., 4th Floor, from Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

  • JVES Career Solutions for 55+ provides job counseling, job placement, workshops, referrals to social services, and computer labs at PA CareerLink’s Suburban Station career center. 📞 267-647-7137, 📍1617 JKF Blvd., 2nd Floor (Entrance on 16th Street), from Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Jobs that only require a high school diploma

myPLACE

MyPLACE is an adult education program operated by the city’s Office of Children and Families. The program offers free courses in work readiness, reading/writing/math, computer skills, high school equivalency preparation (GED), and English courses. The city maintains a list of myPLACE adult education campus in the city.

🌐 phila.gov/programs/adult-education ✉️ adultedu@phila.gov

JEVS World of Work

The JEVS Human Services offers a free 22-week training program for adults ages 18-24 who haven’t finished high school. This program provides hands-on training in building trades (property maintenance and repair). To be eligible, you must be a Philly resident, between 18-24, with no high school diploma, and make below a certain income.

🌐 jevshumanservices.org/project-wow-form 📞 215-728-4444 ✉️ wow@jevs.org 📍 2770 Red Lion Rd.

Jobs for people with disabilities

hireAbility

HireAbility is a free workforce program that helps workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey who have a disability or chronic disease find employment. This program is available for both youth and adults. Take courses like work readiness and IT services, and get preemployment and follow-up support to help you succeed.

🌐 jevshumanservices.org/program/hireability 📞 215-854-1817 ✉️ hireAbility@jevs.org 📍 123 S. Broad, 7th Floor

People Acting To Help (PATH)

PATH operates the Community Integration Employment Service to help people with an intellectual disability, behavioral health issue, or substance use disorder find and keep a job. The service pairs you with a job coach who will help you look for a job, get hired, and find success in your career. Eligibility: You must be a Pennsylvania resident and registered with Philadelphia Intellectual Disabilities Services (IDS), or have behavioral health or substance use problems and be registered with the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). Not registered? PATH can help you register for both.

🌐 tinyurl.com/PATHemployment 📞 215-305-6932 ✉️ information@pathemployment.org 📍 7552 Frankford Ave.

Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) — Philadelphia

The OVR is a state agency that provides services for people with a disability. OVR has a district office in Philadelphia that will help you find a job, learn skills, receive support after you get the job, and more. OVR can help you no matter what your education or work experience is.

📞 215-560-1900 📍 801 Market St., Suite 6034, open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Jobs for people with criminal records

There are a lot of groups that will help you find a job. You can learn more about your rights when you’re looking for a job and have a criminal record and how to expunge or seal your criminal record.

Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO)

CEO is a nonprofit organization that connects formerly incarcerated people with jobs. They provide free training, transitional employment, and full-time job placement. To join the program you will need to receive a referral from your parole or probation officer.

  • Once accepted, you will do a weeklong training and then immediately be placed in paid transitional work — usually work offered by state and local agencies or community organizations.

  • During this time you will work with a CEO counselor to prepare you for placement in a permanent full-time job.

  • When you get the job, they provide support to help you keep your job, including monthly bonuses for hitting career milestones and goals.

🌐 ceoworks.org/locations/philadelphia 📞 215-309-7220 📍 245 N. Broad St., Suite 300, open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Looking Forward Philadelphia

Looking Forward Philadelphia is a free workforce program that helps people who have been incarcerated get connected to employment and support services. The group can help you get a job or plan your career. Take part in job training, get your record expunged, and can get help starting a business. Get started by filling out their online form.

🌐 jevshumanservices.org/looking-forward 📞 267-621-0375 ✉️ LookingForward@jevs.org 📍 1526 Cecil B. Moore Ave., open Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Philadelphia Reentry Coalition (PRC)

PRC is a group of more than 80 nonprofits working together to provide a network of services for people who have been incarcerated. They maintain a Reentry Career Services Catalog of programs you can apply to in the city. You can contact PRC directly to get help or use their online Employment Tool Kit.

The Reentry Career Services Catalog is available at philadelphiareentrycoalition.org/career-catalog. The Employment Tool Kit is available at philadelphiareentrycoalition.org/employment.

🌐 philadelphiareentrycoalition.org 📞 215-685-0779 ✉️ philareentrycoalition@gmail.com

PA CareerLink

CareerLink offers free employment services to people in Pennsylvania including specialized services for people reentering the workforce after incarceration. They can help you look for a job, connect you to criminal record expungement services, job training, and prepare you for interviews. Contact or make an appointment online to receive help at pacareerlinkphl.org/contact/#appointments.

🌐 pacareerlinkphl.org 📞 1-833-750-5627.

Formerly Incarcerated College Graduates Network (FICGN)

FICGN is a network of college graduates who have been to prison, and provides job leads, support, and a community of other college grads who have been incarcerated. You can follow their social media accounts for updates and resources. To join the network, visit the website or fill out this online form at ficgn.org/join.html.

🌐 ficgn.org , facebook.com/FICGN, instagram.com/ficgnetwork, twitter.com/FICGN

Jobs for non-English speakers

The Welcoming Center

The Welcoming Center is nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia that helps immigrants and refugees. They offer employment programs for various education levels and English literacy.

  • International Professionals Program (IPP) is a free workforce program for people educated outside the U.S. It offers an eight-week intensive training program and help connecting to jobs. Eligibility: You must be Philadelphia resident, have a university-level degree from a non-U.S. school, have work authorization without a need for future sponsorship, and speak English at a professional level. Apply by calling 215-557-2626 or filling out this online form.

  • Foundations for Communication in the U.S. (FOCUS) is a free program for immigrants with limited English to receive English language, digital literacy, and career-readiness skills. To participate, you should have some formal education. Apply by calling 215-557-2626 or filling out this online form.

🌐 welcomingcenter.org 📞 215-557-2626 📍 211 N. 13th Street, 4th Floor

Congreso de Latinos Unidos

Congreso is nonprofit organization that provides economic and social services to Philadelphians, with a focus on the Latinx community. They offer youth and adult employment programs, and can help with job readiness, searching for a job, preparing for an interview, and English literacy. Harcum College also runs an Associates Degree program at Congreso where you can earn an accredited degree.

🌐 congreso.net 📞 215-763-8870 ✉️ info@congreso.net 📍 216 W. Somerset St.

Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association Coalition (SEAMAAC)

SEAMAAC is a nonprofit organization that helps immigrants and refugees in Philadelphia, regardless of nationality or country of origin. They offer courses in job readiness, citizenship applications, English and digital literacy, and more. SEAMAAC can help you apply for citizenship, search for jobs, prepare you for interviews, and access affordable internet/computers. They also offer free virtual workshops through Zoom and WhatsApp.

🌐 seamaac.org/hss 📞 215-467-0690 ✉️ info@seamaac.org 📍 1711 S. Broad St.

Resume help in Philadelphia

PA CareerLink

PA CareerLink is a one-stop-shop for free employment services provided by the state government, including helping you create a resume. Call or make an appointment online to get started.

🌐 pacareerlinkphl.org 📞 1-833-750-5627

Philadelphia Works

Philadelphia Works provides free employment services including help making a resume. Call or use their online resume builder.

🌐 philaworks.org 📞 (833) 750-5627

Job training in Philadelphia

PA CareerLink

PA CareerLink offers free employment services to people in Pennsylvania including free job training, skills workshops, and counseling. Check out their Career Skills resource page to see what’s available at pacareerlinkphl.org/careers/skills. If you want job training, fill out this online form. Call or make an appointment online for additional help.

🌐 pacareerlinkphl.org 📞 1-833-750-5627

Career One Stop

Career One Stop is a national online job assistance service funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. They provide free employment services including help finding job training, certifications, and apprenticeships. Check out their online tools to search for job training and education in your area and how to apply.

🌐 careeronestop.org

  • If you need training, Local Training Finder can help you find job training or schools in your area that specialize in the job you are searching for.

  • If you need a certification, Certification Finder can help you find certifications required for specific jobs, as well as which organization or agency provides the certification.

  • If you need a license, License Finder can help you learn about and find licenses required for specific jobs, as well as which state agencies that oversee them.

  • If you need technology training, Tools & Technology Finder can help you find training for machinery, equipment, or computer programs and software required for specific jobs.

Pennsylvania Career Zone

PA Career Zone is a free online workforce development platform by the PA Department of Education for students searching for education, training, and certifications. You can search for local training programs and schools that fit your desired career. You can also explore their Certifications Catalog to learn more about the certifications you need for a specific job and how to apply for them.

🌐 pacareerzone.org

PA Smart

PA Smart, from the PA Department of Labor, provides information on job training and apprenticeships statewide. This site can help you identify and learn what certifications you may need, identify skills for specific jobs, and connect you to other resources for finding job training.

🌐 pasmart.pa.gov

I need other kinds of help

Free job workshops

JEVS Human Services hosts free weekly workshops for job seekers of all ages. Workshops include finding a job on LinkedIn, finding a job if you’re older, answering tough interview questions and more. Sign up at:

🌐 jevshumanservices.org/events.

PHL Careers Portal is a local online employment platform operated by PA CareerLink. Create a free account to access employment training and courses or introduction courses (no account needed).

🌐 myphlcareerportal.org

PA CareerLink hosts free virtual workshops for job seekers on topics including networking, using online job search tools, stress management, and computer skills. Create an account with PA CareerLink — which is free — to sign up.

🌐 pacareerlinkphl.org/calendar.

PA 211

PA 211 is a free resource line operated by the United Way of Pennsylvania that can help you with job finding assistance, financial literacy courses, tax assistance, and more. It’s open 24 hours, 7 days a week to all Pennsylvania residents, and available in more than 180 languages. Your conversations with PA 211 are confidential and you do not have to provide your name or other personal information.

🌐 pa211.org/get-help/employment-expenses 📞 Call 211 💬 Text your zip code to 898-211

Free online job search tools

There are many free online job search tools, with varying degrees of credibility. Before you start using these websites, try local and public resources first. Keep in mind that the jobs posted to job websites may not always be the most credible or transparent. Be aware of what information you’re giving job recruiters and double-check a company’s standing on GlassDoor, the anonymous company review website.

Nonprofit search tools:

For-profit search tools:

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The Philadelphia Inquirer is one of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push toward economic justice. See all of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org.