The Economy, Jobs, and Innovation in the City of Philadelphia: Past, Present, and the Future

Various reports, including Pew and the Philadelphia African American Forum, indicate that there are opportunities for entrepreneurial growth in the City of Philadelphia; however, the number of African American owned businesses in Philadelphia is relatively small in comparison with the percentage of African Americans in Philadelphia.

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology will host a  free series in Fall 2019 at its Philadelphia location on the economy, jobs, and the potential for innovation in the City of Philadelphia, specifically addressing the youth, underserved populations, college students, and small and medium-sized enterprises.  A look at the past, present, and future opportunities in the city of Philadelphia will be highlighted.  There are no costs and the events are open to the public.

Upcoming lectures include:  “The Problem of Jobs – The Philadelphia Story” featuring Jeff Hornstein, Executive Director of The Economy League—Greater Philadelphia, on October 22nd; and “Getting to Equal:  United not Divided” featuring Andrea Curtis, President and CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia, on November 20th.

All the lectures will take place at Harrisburg University—Philadelphia, which is located at  1500 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA, Ground Floor.   There are no costs for the events but an RSVP is required.

RSVP at:

Presentations:  4:30-5:30 pm

Light Refreshments/Networking: 5:30-6:00 pm

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Philadelphia location,
1500 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA
Ground Floor (use the side entrance at 486 N. 16th Street; along the same side entrance as CBS-Philly)


The Problem of Jobs – The Philadelphia Story

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Executive Director, The Economy League-Greater Philadelphia

Once the “workshop of the world” with a diverse manufacturing economy, the City of Philadelphia has lost a huge proportion of its historical economic base in the past 60 years. Today, Philadelphia struggles to find its competitive advantage. Yet it has tremendous assets that can be leveraged. This talk will explore the rise and fall of Philadelphia’s manufacturing economy, efforts to forestall its decline in the 1960s and 1970s, the racial and gender dynamics of its employment ecosystem, and contemporary strategies to create a sustainable local economy.

Prior to his appointment as Executive Director of the Economy League, Dr. Hornstein served as Director of Financial and Policy Analysis for the Philadelphia City Controller where he advised the Controller and worked on critical issues relating to Philadelphia’s fiscal health. Under Jeff’s leadership, the Policy Unit produced numerous data-driven policy analyses on topics including the City’s property tax system, tax delinquency and receivables issues, tax incentive programs, charter school finances, the efficacy of the City’s tourism and convention promotion entities, and the state of retirement security in Philadelphia. In collaboration with the City’s Commerce Department, he began coordination of a citywide initiative to increase local spending by Philadelphia’s major eds-and-meds anchor institutions, and will continue to coordinate Philadelphia Anchors for Growth and Equity as Executive Director of the Economy League.

In his civic life, Jeff serves on the boards of Queen Village Neighbors Association, a civic association in Philadelphia, as well as the Philadelphia Crosstown Coalition, a citywide organization representing 25 civic associations. He helped convene the Friends Of Neighborhood Education, a citywide initiative to build community support for neighborhood public schools. He has also participated in several of our Leadership Exchanges and ran for City Council in 2011.

After leaving academia in 2001 with a PhD in business history and publication of a well-regarded book on the real estate industry “A Nation of Realtors,” Jeff spent a decade in the labor movement. He helped low-wage workers in the service and education sectors build workplace and political power. Born in Brooklyn, a product of public schools in Matawan, NJ, with degrees from MIT, Penn, and the University of Maryland, he has called Philadelphia home since 2001.

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“Getting to Equal:  United not Divided”

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

President and CEO, Urban League of Philadelphia

This talk will discuss the importance of civic engagement, the power of one and impact of collaboration.  We will focus on GOTV (Get Out The Vote) and the 2020 Census.

Andrea Custis was named President & Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Philadelphia (ULP) in July 2017.

A seasoned corporate executive, Ms. Custis has 30 years of sales, marketing, human capital and operations experience with Fortune 50 companies. In 2011, she retired from Verizon Communications Mid-Atlantic region. She was President & COO of Verizon Avenue providing bundled communication services to multi-dwelling communities nationwide. Ms. Custis was Group President of Sales and Marketing for Advanced Services. A change-agent in her own right, Ms. Custis led massive culture change efforts across Verizon in various departments.

Throughout her distinguished career with Verizon, Ms. Custis was known for her innovative and performance driven results. She managed a team that was rated first in the nation for three consecutive years in consumer phone, data and television product sales and services and maintained the highest customer retention rates nationally.

A respected public speaker, board member and mentor to many, Ms. Custis has established herself as a true public servant. For six years, she proudly served as a member of the Urban League of Philadelphia Board of Directors, where she sat on the Fund Development Committee. Ms. Custis served on the Board of Directors of Verizon Communications of Washington, D.C. She has also shared her talents and enthusiasm for community engagement by sitting on boards for Inroads, Inc. (Philadelphia, PA); Delaware Valley Child Care Council (Philadelphia, PA); Academy of Applied Electrical Sciences Board of Governors (Philadelphia, PA); DC Scores (Washington, D.C.); Atlas Performing Arts Center (Washington, D.C.) and Capitol VoIP Solutions (Washington, D.C.).  A strong advocate for education, Ms. Custis is a former member of the Board of Trustees at Lincoln University (PA) and was a member of the Advisory Council for Career and Vocational Education with the School District of Philadelphia. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Ms. Custis has been recognized by Ebony magazine as “One To Watch,” one of The Network Journal’s “25 Influential Black Women in Business,”, and “Executive of the Year” by the Consortium of Information and Telecommunications Executives and Hispanic Support Organization.

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