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1700 Spring Garden Street

Community College of Philadelphia: Winnet Student Life Building

Philadelphia, PA 19130

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Americans, according to Brookings[1], have been getting better educated in the last half-century, but class gaps in post-secondary educational attainment remain large. College drop-outs have average earnings levels and unemployment rates closer to that of high school graduates than college graduates; Individuals born into families at the bottom of the income distribution who get a college degree have more upward mobility than those who do not; and parents pass on their educational advantage to the next generation. Most higher education models focus on getting students into college, but fewer focus on, and more importantly, tracking the obtainment of a diploma. Without the diploma, good intentioned individuals, organizations, and colleges cause HARM rather then help these students who are left without a diploma but with significant loans.

The theory of disruptive innovation teaches us that the establishment needs to pay attention to the exceptional or “non-consumers” of the social mobility system who have developed alternative models to current practices to what if offered by those in power. As background, a disruptive innovation is an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leading firms, products and alliances. The term was defined and phenomenon analyzed by Clayton M. Christensen and coworkers beginning in 1995[2]. Since the early 2000s, "significant societal impact" has also been viewed as an aspect of disruptive innovation[3]. Disruptive innovations tend to be produced by outsiders and entrepreneurs, rather than existing market-leading companies. A disruptive process can take longer to develop than by the conventional approach and the risk associated to it is higher than the other more incremental or evolutionary forms of innovations.

We have learned that the best correlation for individuals to earn family sustainable wages is either a higher education degree or a vocational certificate tied directly to a trade. Without a higher education degree or vocational certificate we know that individuals are usually “stuck” in the cycle of poverty for even if they successfully increase their earning potential their public benefit subsidies decrease at the same rate keeping them poor.

At this time of heightened time in which we are operating in a global economy this edition and symposium of the Social Innovations Journal titled: SOCIAL INNOVATIONS TO ADVANCE SOCIAL MOBILITY MODELSIN URBAN CITIES, examines successful and innovative social mobility models in corporations, higher education, institutions, and social enterprises and offers strategies for them to scale or scale their impact. The edition concludes with policy and scaling recommendations that allows for a greater number of urban city residents to move up the economic – social mobility- ladder.

[1] https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2015/02/06/three-reasons-college-matters-for-social-mobility/

[2] Bower, Joseph L. & Christensen, Clayton M. (1995)

[3] Assink, Marnix (2006). "Inhibitors of disruptive innovation capability: a conceptual model". European Journal of Innovation Management. 9 (2): 215–233.



Donald Guy Generals, President Community College of Philadelphia

Nicholas Torres and Tine Hansen-Turton, SIJ Co-Founder

2:15 Cat McManus, PennGSE Educational Leadership Moving Toward ​Efficien​cy​and Legitimacy​: ​ A Research Example from Higher Education and College Access ​Partnerships

2:30 Ginger Zielinskie, President Benefits Data Trust: From Safety Net to Safety Ladder: Focusing on What Works to Build Pathways out of Poverty.

2:45 PM Greater Philadelphia’s College Rankings based on affordability; graduation and retention; social mobility; and class size college data presented by Michael Clark.

3:00 PM ROUNDTABLES DISCUSSION: Policy and Scaling recommendations that allows for a

greater number of urban city residents to move up the economic – social mobility – ladder.

Donald Guy Generals, President of Community College of Philadelphia

David Griffith, Executive Director of Episcopal Services

David Castro, President of I-LEAD

Sylvie Gallier Howard, City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce

Joe Coyle, President of Year-Up Philadelphia

Tinesha Banks, CEO Tabor

Diane Corman-Levy, President of Women’s Way


Nicholas Torres and Tine Hansen-Turton, SIJ Co-Founders

4:45 PM Reception



  1. Dear Reader/Foreword by Nicholas Torres & Tine Hansen-Turton
  2. Greater Philadelphia’s College Rankings by Michael Clark


  1. The importance of the business community supporting public schools by Sylvie Gallier Howard
  2. A city wide workforce strategy emphasizing a holistic approach to impact those in poverty and deep poverty by Heloise Jettison, Department of Commerce, Philadelphia by Heloise Jettison, Department of Commerce, Philadelphia and Mitch Little, Executive Director Community Empowerment and Opportunity
  3. Economic Mobility as a Coaching Model by David Griffith
  4. The importance of Social and Emotional Development in Higher Education by David Castro and Cynda Clyde
  5. Moving from Social Services to Social Enterprise by Jodi Rosenbaum Tillinger, Ed.M Founder and CEO, More Than Words (BOSTON)
  6. Wealth Building for self and family investments by Sherry Riva, Founder and Executive Director, Compass Working Capital (BOSTON)
  7. Employment Without Barriers -- A Wager for Inclusive Labor in Colombia by Zaira Campo Zrias and Jesús Cardenas Camargo (Colombia)


  1. Guided Pathways: a transformative model for community college completion by Guy Generals.
  2. The role of higher education in reimagining cross-sector partnerships as poverty disruptors and architects of quality jobs for marginalized communities by Uva Coles.
  3. Year Up’s Solution to addressing The Opportunity Divide defined as the gap between companies seeking diverse talent and young adults who are disconnected from a career. Professional Skills Training relevant for in-demand entry-level positions in Business Operations and Information Technology by Joseph Coyle and Anan Johnson.
  4. It All Starts With The Rubik's Cube...How Children Deserve a Chance Foundation's Attollo Program uses the Rubik's Cube to create a path to Higher Education and to Leadership for Diverse Students by Dana Myers.
  5. Living-Wage Hiring Halls: A Model Solution for Improving Job Quality by Rebeca Harris (CHICAGO)
  6. The 5X JOBS Model: A Sustainable Business Solution by Kathryn Eastham (CHICAGO)
  7. Medical-Financial Partnerships by Megan Kiesel (Clarifi)
  8. Aspire Career Academy - Paving Career Paths for the Next Generation of Workers by Jim Kales (CHICAGO)
  9. JEVS TechServ Scholars: Bridging the STEM Divide through Service by Sarah Hollister, Edison Freire & Keighan


  1. Saga: Disrupting the Power of Higher Education by Eric Boby and Matthew Neary (Netherlands: EUROPE)
  2. Worker Owned Apps by Stefan Baskervill and Ioana Sirca (New Economics Foundation: EUROPE)

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1700 Spring Garden Street

Community College of Philadelphia: Winnet Student Life Building

Philadelphia, PA 19130

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