West Philadelphia skyline

People & Partners

University City District:
Parent Organization

University City District is a partnership of world-renowned anchor institutions, small businesses, and residents that creates opportunity, and improves economic vitality and quality of life in the University City area of West Philadelphia. UCD’s primary mission is community revitalization. We work within a place-based, data-driven framework to invest in world-class public spaces, address crime and public safety, bring life to commercial corridors, connect low-income residents to careers, and promote job growth and innovation.

West Philadelphia train

Our Team

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative is staffed by individuals who are committed to the success of both job seekers and employers.
The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) | Matt Bergheiser

Matt Bergheiser

President of University City District
Matt leads University City District (UCD), a partnership of anchor institutions, business leaders, and community groups invested in the shared vitality of the 2.4 square mile area of Philadelphia.
Patrick Bayer headshot

Patrick Bayer

Senior Manager of Economic Development and Analysis
Patrick oversees WPSI’s data systems, and works to assess the program’s overall effectiveness through the development of formal evaluation metrics.

Lauren Bishop

Lauren Bishop

Manager of Employer Services

 

Lauren is responsible for maintaining and growing WPSI’s employer relationships, supporting targeted recruitment efforts, and lending her expertise to grow our impact within our employer partners’ organizations.

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) | Cait Garrazo

Caitlin Garozzo

Managing Director

Cait designs and manages the WPSI participant experience both during and after the program.

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) | Fontaine Guiterrez

Fontaine Gutierrez

Manager of Outreach and Communications
Fontaine works across the team to increase the effectiveness of WPSI’s business practices.
The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) | Mariya Khandros

Mariya Khandros

Senior Manager of Civic Strategies

Mariya works to export successful UCD ideas to other communities, and import impactful ideas from other places to try to embed within our work to help our place-shaping initiatives.

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) | Joshua Park

Joshua Park

Senior Manager of Strategy and Partnerships

Josh fosters WPSI’s relationships with employers, funders, and other workforce organizations to open new career pathway opportunities for talent across Philadelphia.

Natasha Pratt

Natasha Pratt

Manager of Participant & Alumni Engagement
Natasha brings 15+ years of training, advising and career coaching to the organization, and is passionate about personal and professional development, community empowerment, and is a natural relationship builder.

Romaine Thrower

Dr. Romaine Thrower, Ed.D

Senior Manager of Training Programs

Romaine serves as an expert on instructional design methodologies that allows her plan, implement, and supervise key aspects of WPSI’s nationally recognized job training program.

Jennine White

Jennine White

Coordinator of Operations and Administration

Jennine works across WPSI and UCD to provide logistical support and coordination across projects.

Funders

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative would not be possible without the continued support of our funders. Their funding has been instrumental in connecting over 1,000 opportunity seekers to jobs with clear career paths and family-sustaining wages since WPSI’s inception. Our thanks to the following organizations who have made substantial, enduring investments in our success: West Philadelphia Skills Initiative is grateful to University City District’s Board of Directors for supporting its founding, growth and operations. We are thankful for our board members’ generous financial contributions to University City District and their partnership in building this organization.
WPSI graduation