FUMO, PHILADELPHIA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE CREATE "philaCITY" STUDENT RETENTION PROGRAM
PHILADELPHIA, October 4, 2001 – In an effort to increase the number of college graduates who live and work in the Greater Philadelphia region, State Senator Vincent J. Fumo and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce have started philaCITY, a new student retention initiative.
PhilaCITY’s goal is to enhance awareness of the cultural and career opportunities available in Greater Philadelphia among college students and young professionals, in the hope that they will remain in the area when they finish school. It will develop and promote events and reward sponsor businesses for their participation.
Greater Philadelphia possesses one of the largest college markets in the United States, educating approximately 250,000 students yearly. A majority of each year’s 50,000 seniors, however, leave the region following graduation.
"This program, more than anything else, is geared toward changing the perception that Philadelphia is not a hot place for college graduates to live and work," Fumo said. "There are tremendous career and leisure-time opportunities available in this area, and we want to make sure that our young professionals know about them."
PhilaCITY is joint public-private venture. Fumo (D-Philadelphia) provided seed funding of $45,000 and Philadelphia Commerce Director James Cuorato added financial support of $20,000. The program has been developed by the Philadelphia-based youth culture marketing firm, Monsoon Microstudios (monsoonmicro.com), under the leadership of President Charlie Szoradi, the philaCITY director. To date, Monsoon has contributed in-kind services worth more than $30,000 above the seed budget, bringing the development commitment to approximately $100,000.
"The City of Philadelphia recognizes the importance of a strong student retention program and we are enthusiastically supporting the philaCITY initiative. This campaign will clearly demonstrate to our student population that Philadelphia is a city that is young, progressive and relevant to their interests," Cuorato said.
The philaCITY committee members include a diverse group ranging from recent graduates to civic, business, and academic leaders.
The program name is inspired by the momentum generated through the veloCITY and authentiCITY of Philadelphia’s cultural renaissance.
The philaCITY initiative comprises four elements, each designed to provide cultural and career opportunities for its target audience:
"The four key components of the philaCITY initiative will send a powerful message that the city and local and national businesses have joined forces in support of attracting youth to the region," Fumo said.
During Phase 1 of its operation this past summer, philaCITY has created planning committees and conducted focus groups. It has developed marketing campaign strategies, visual identity, events concepts and sponsorship packages. It also developed a print and online Media Kit that is being distributed today.
In Phase 2 this fall, philaCITY will concentrate on its sponsorship program, attracting media contributions for the campaign, product contributions for the accelerator rewards programs, and corporate funding for events. It will also prepare for the events and the marketing campaign.
To date, philaCITY sponsors include Comcast Cable and Media Bureau.
Phase 3 will be the formal initiative launch in January 2002 of the four-year program.
In the meantime, philaCITY has agreed to sponsor the College2CareerFest on October 25, 2001 at the Holiday Inn, King of Prussia.
Since 1997, Fumo has been involved in efforts to persuade college graduates to remain in the area. That year, he helped create the College Student Retention Committee. In 2000, he provided seed funding for the online resource ePhiladelphiaInsider.com, which will serve as the non-profit alliance partner for philaCITY. Fumo’s Special Assistant Christian Marrone has been actively involved in those efforts."The students who attend the many outstanding universities in this area provide our community with an enormous potential pool of talent," Fumo said. "We want as many of them as possible to stay here after they graduate. It helps our businesses and our cultural community to grow and thrive. Plus, we think they’ll enjoy living here."
PhilaCITY has worked in partnership with the Greater Philadelphia CollegeTown Project (GPCP,) which is dedicated to engaging students in the process of planning this and other related initiatives. The project's mission is to enrich the lives of area college students and young professionals, forging links between campuses and across communities while encouraging greater exploration of the region's lifestyle and resources. GPCP is building a student leadership network and interactive web site, housed at www.ePhiladelphiaInsider.com, to provide area students with the tools to increase their participation in regional life and the public community.