Opportunities for Workforce Leadership Hub building

Mission and History

Our Mission

Temple University's Lenfest Center for Community Workforce Partnerships engages communities and social service agencies throughout the Commonwealth to address issues that impact health and well-being of individuals and communities. 

This mission is accomplished through teaching, research and service activities that:

  • Advance the knowledge and resources of individuals and communities;
  • Create innovative health and social services that promote health and wellbeing in the individual and the community; and
  • Ensure a comprehensive and diverse health and human service workforce.


Our Origins

The origins of the Lenfest Center for Community and Workforce Partnerships was born out of the work of the Center for Social Policy and Community Development, which was founded in 1969 by CSPCD Founder/Director Professor Seymour J. Rosenthal.  Grounded in Temple University's Founder Russell Conwell’s vision of working people succeeding in higher education, the launch of the Center for Social Policy and Community Development coincided with a dramatic national political event.  Richard Nixon resoundingly won his first election which marked the beginning of the end for the Great Society and New Deal programs. In the wake of Nixon’s election, the War on Poverty arrived at its demise and workforce development emerged to change dramatically the focus of national social policy.

Locally, confrontations and tensions between Temple University and the surrounding community were growing over the physical expansion of the University into North Philadelphia neighborhoods.  The Center’s Director, Seymour Rosenthal, participated in implementing the Charrette (a conflict resolution methodology) to bring agreement between the University and community interests.  Through this conflict, the Center emerged as a link between the interests of the community and the University.

Also coinciding with the origin of the Center, was the creation of the School of Social Administration at Temple University. While the Center was initially under the Office of the President, within several years the Center moved under the auspices of the School of Social Administration. The School of Social Administration was deemed to be the closest related program in terms of the mission of the Center.

The Center also had a brief tenure under the School of Business and Management before it eventually returned to the School of Social Administration (renamed the School of Social Work).   

History of CSPCD's Programs

Professor Rosenthal along with his colleague, Professor William Perry, developed the Perenthal Planning Model, which was based on their combined experience within the Center and the School for Social Administration. This model became the core for the community development and planning sequence within the Master’s program of the School of Social Administration.

The Center made contributions in the areas of aging, mental health, public housing, child welfare, juvenile justice, violence prevention, child abuse and neglect, adult education, and provided training and technical assistance. The Center has developed workshops, classes, and conferences both nationally and internationally. The Center’s training has included working with various local government agencies and U.S. Departments, and resulted in the development of a series of staff training manuals and videos. The Center also designed and coordinated an Interdisciplinary Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Child Abuse and Neglect.

Under funding by the Department of Education, the Center planned and implemented violence prevention curriculum and leadership training programs for persons in neighborhoods with unusually high levels of violence.

The Center has also been influential in planning and impacting policies throughout the Commonwealth in regards to juvenile justice, child welfare, public housing, and aging. Interest in policies and issues related to aging culminated in the Center assisting in the development of initial proposals to create Temple University’s Institute on Aging.

The Center had been concerned with researching and evaluating programs so that they are better able to meet the real needs of targeted populations. The Center’s research and evaluation efforts have included: programs targeting the elderly; neighborhood organizing on drug and crime prevention (Weed and Seed); pregnancy prevention programming; programs servicing at risk children in schools; Welfare to Work programs; campaigns for increasing awareness of adoption services; and career education programs for youth. The Center has also conducted a city-wide needs assessment for the Mayor's Office of Community Services to identify the needs of low-income Philadelphians and to assist in the strategic planning efforts of city agencies.

The Center was the original publishers of the Professional Development: The International Journal of Continuing Education.  This journal provided a forum for national and international subscribers and authors to find out the most recent research and policy formulations for persons within the social work practice field.

In 2012, the School of Social Work moved under the College of Public Health, and the Center for Social Policy and Community Development moved under the Dean's Office under the College of Public Health.


CSPCD Founder/Director Seymour J. Rosenthal - Served from 1969 to 1999

CSPCD Director John H. Trudeau - Served from 1999 to 2007

CSPCD Interim Director Anita Lyndaker - Served from 2007 to 2009

CSPCD Acting Director Thomas Armstrong - Served from 2009 to 2010

CSPCD Director Shirley Moy - Served from 2010 to 2018


Transition to Lenfest North Philadelphia Workforce Initiative

In 2018, Temple University was a recipient of an award from The Lenfest Foundation, headed by Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest.  The Lenfest Foundation was committed to making an investment in North Philadelphia aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty that exists for many North Philadelphia residents.  With these funds, Temple University created the Lenfest North Philadelphia Workforce Initiative (LNPWI), under the leadership of Shirley Moy, LCCWP Executive Director.   As the Principal Investigator for all of the programs under the original Center for Social Policy and Community Development, Ms. Moy was able to move programs from the College of Public Health to a new Center for Community Partnerships under the Community Relations Office Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs, which was headed by Acting Director Michael Clemmons.

In the first year, LNPWI embarked on a Period of Discovery to better understand the barriers to sustainable employment for North Philadelphia residents, the gaps in the workforce development system that needed to be addressed, and the strengths of the system that should be uplifted. During this Period of Discovery, LNPWI took a community-driven approach to its exploration, engaging community residents, education & workforce development providers, employers, and workforce leaders to share their candid feedback and knowledge about the workforce development system, employment trends in the City, and how Temple University can best support its neighbors in securing employment with family-sustaining wages. This period of discovery resulted in the creation of LNPWI Strategic Plan, Driving Workforce Development Solutions for North Philadelphia, which identified priority populations of individuals who experience higher barriers to employment and outlined key areas for strategic investment and programming. 

Since then, the LNPWI has been working towards providing workforce-related programs and resources to local residents that respond to unmet needs. In addition to our program offerings, we also partner with stakeholders, including other workforce development providers and employers, to strengthen the workforce development system’s ability to connect all North Philadelphia residents with career pathways that result in meaningful, family-sustaining employment. 

Special Target Area: 19122

The Lenfest Center for Community Workforce Partnership will continue to focus its North Philadelphia Career Pathways Model on the Norris Homes Community. The Opportunities for Workforce Leadership (OWL) Hub, which was opened in August 2021 in the former The Norris Homes Community Center at 11th and Berks, will continue to serve as the centralized location to providing intensive education, digital equity, employment, and supportive services to PHA Norris Homes residents and other resident residing in the special target area, which encompasses 6th Street on the Eastern border to Broad Street, and from Master Street on the Southern border to Susquehanna Avenue.  A total of 11,495 people reside in this .75 square mile with 297 households living in Norris Homes, once all construction is completed, as well as the immediate community surrounding Norris Homes.  Norris Homes is part of the Choice Neighborhood Initiative HUD initiative to transform neighborhoods of extreme poverty in to functioning, mixed income communities. 

The OWL Hub offers the following services to Norris Homes and surrounding residents:

  • Adult literacy education and personal enrichment courses 
  • Digital Literacy courses 
  • Career coaching and job readiness workshops 
  • Hiring events 
  • Customer Service Training Program
  • The Digital Equity Center, which offers a public computer lab, free at-home technology and internet for eligible households, tech support, and IT & Tech training opportunities

In addition, the OWL Hub has quickly become a valuable asset for the OWL Collective partners in the North Philadelphia education and workforce systems to better connect with and serve members of 19122. Partners use the OWL Hub as a recruitment site to share information about their programs and resources, as well as a space to bring programming directly to the North Philadelphia community. For residents of the area, the importance of having a resource like the OWL Hub cannot be underscored enough. Having a go-to resource within walking distance where they can meet one-on-one with someone who can get them connected with virtually everything they need to begin the journey of achieving their education and career goals is invaluable.

Future Directions: Lenfest Center for Community Workforce Partnerships

In 2021, with the growing number of initiatives resulting from the work of the Lenfest North Philadelphia Workforce Initiative, Temple University's Board of Trustees endorsed the creation of the now named Lenfest Center for Community Workforce Partnerships, which is under the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Community Impact.  The Lenfest Center for Community Workforce Partnerships now houses all of the programs under the Center for Community Partnerships and the work of the Lenfest North Philadelphia Workforce Initiative.

LCCWP will continue efforts to improve employment outcomes for North Philadelphia residents, increase coordination of the workforce development ecosystem, and deepen the impact and sustainability of the work overall.  Our goals include:

  • Goal #1:  Develop and support a comprehensive workforce development and education system that serves community residents and employers, and stabilizes the economic well-being of the North
  • Goal #2:  Collaboratively identify, create, and provide outcome-driven education programs geared to individuals with a range of experiences and literacy levels
  • Goal #3:  Provide and connect the North Philadelphia community to education and job opportunities by offering targeted employment-related training, development and professional coaching, job placement, and on-the-job guidance to area residents.  Develop career pathway programs, from application to placement and beyond, for educationally or economically disadvantaged adults and youth, including returning citizens, English Language Learners and immigrants.
  • Goal #4:  Increase the economic base of the local community by creating new or better access to jobs at Temple University and Temple Health and to outside employers
  • Goal #5:  Engage small to large regional and local employers in the private and public sector, dedicated to providing employment opportunities, workplace experience, and skills-based curriculum expertise
  • Goal #6:  Build credible community relationships through a coordinated and focused approach across outside organizations serving North Philadelphia and among internal departments within Temple University and Temple Health.
  • Goal #7:  Continue working with the City of Philadelphia on its Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Local Plan and the Southeast Pennsylvania Workforce Regional Multi-Year Plan
  • Goal #8: Bridge the digital divide through comprehensive, individualized digital literacy training and digital access opportunities to every participant of an LNPWI-funded program.