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Serve Philadelphia VISTA Corps

Company Description

A best-in-class city that attracts best-in-class talent, Philadelphia is an incredible place to build a career. From our thriving arts scene and rich history to our culture of passion and grit, there are countless reasons to love living and working here. With a workforce of over 30,000 people, and more than 1,000 different job categories, the City of Philadelphia offers boundless opportunities to make an impact. 
As an employer, the City of Philadelphia values inclusion, integrity, innovation, empowerment, and hard work above all else. We offer a vibrant work environment, comprehensive health care and benefits, and the experience you need to grow and excel. If you’re interested in working with a passionate team of people who care about the future of Philadelphia, start here.
What we offer:
  •   Impact - The work you do here matters to millions. 
  •   Growth - Philadelphia is growing, why not grow with it? 
  •  Diversity & Inclusion - Find a career in a place where everyone belongs.
  •   Opportunities in Tech - Don’t wait for the future, shape it.
  •   Benefits - We care about your well-being.

Agency Descriptions
The Mayor's Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service is now accepting applications from qualified candidates to join the 2022-2023 Serve Philadelphia VISTA Corps. Serve VISTAs serve full-time for a year working on systems level change in City government. Our administration, led by Mayor Jim Kenny, has invested in a multi pronged approach—focused on stabilizing households, increasing skills and incomes, and investing in education— to lift residents out of poverty and to break the cycle for future generations. The work of Serve VISTAs is an important part of moving the City’s anti-poverty strategy forward.
What do Serve VISTAs do?
  • Each VISTA position is unique to the City department or initiative, but all VISTAs will build capacity.
  • Capacity building activities can include, but are not limited to:
  • Creating tools, systems and guides like databases, policy briefs and marketing materials.
  • Generating resources through partnerships, volunteers and/or grant-writing.
  • Developing, organizing and/or assessing programs, events and/or meetings.
  • Supporting, establishing or strengthening cross-departmental and cross-sector partnerships.

Job Description

The Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity is seeking four VISTAs to be directly involved in one of these four projects. If selected, VISTAs will work on one these projects:
Promise Zone VISTA
  • Project Goal: The West Philadelphia Promise Zone will begin the ninth year of the ten-year federal designation. With a strong foundation of more than 100 Promise Zone partner agencies implementing a collective impact strategy, Promise Zone VISTAs will focus on the work that supports resident capacity building and resources needed to make our work sustainable for community-based organizations, civic and resident groups. Project goals include: Comprehensive data, reporting, and policy analysis; Greater community capacity building and volunteer engagement; Targeted youth engagement; Continued communications and resident engagement; Funding sustainability.
Benefits Access Policy & Program VISTA
  • Project Goal: Local, state, and federal benefits are among the most significant poverty-fighting tools we have. They reduce the cost of living, offer cash assistance, and stabilize households. Accessing the benefits for which an individual is qualified can be overwhelming, and programs are often designed to keep people out. Philadelphia has made great strides in strengthening benefits access, but too many still lack access to the benefits they deserve. The VISTA will conduct research, coordinate work with partners, and identify policy solutions that would maximize benefits enrollment for Philadelphians. The VISTA will help create the systems, communications channels, and policy changes that staff would implement during and after the project concludes.
Youth Strategies Data & Evaluation VISTA
  • Project Goal: The PromiseCorps College&Career Readiness program, founded in 2015, was a response to West Phila's PromiseZone (WPPZ) designation. With a poverty rate of 48%, higher than the citywide rate of 26.3%; 45% of households in the WPPZ earn less than $15K annually. The VISTA will create data collection & analysis tools that will track program impact, allow the program to address areas of improvement & better support youth after they matriculate from school; something that no local org or the Philadelphia School District does well.
Landlord Engagement and Education VISTA
  • Project Goal: Small landlords provide an estimated 51,000 units of rental housing in Philadelphia, including units in high poverty neighborhoods and immigrant communities. Many small “mom and pop” landlords endured financial hardship during the pandemic, yet lacked the information needed to access programs or adjust to regulatory changes. This project will create a strategy for identifying and reaching out to the most economically vulnerable small landlords, targeting those with low incomes and/or language or cultural barriers. The project will involve research and program design. The outcomes will include a network of small landlords, tested materials and tools to be maintained going forward, and recommended procedures that can be replicated or scaled.
Essential Functions
  • Expand and improve Promise Zone data systems, including increased alignment of data collection to Promise Zone outcomes.
  • Conduct policy research
  • Identify policy and programmatic impacts of improved data collection and evaluation
  • Provide a comprehensive evaluation of strategies for better aligned, efficient and strengthened systems of data collection and impact collection tools.
  • Review any relevant literature on small landlords and research national best practices on outreach and communication
Competencies, Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
  • Demonstrated interest in anti-poverty efforts, social justice and volunteerism.
  • Able to work and collaborate with diverse communities and stakeholders.
  • Strong organizational, time management and communication skills.
  • Open to new experiences and growth.


  • 18 years or older, high school degree or equivalent GED
  • US citizen or permanent resident*
  • Criminal background check (if accepted)
  • the City of Philadelphia requires all employees and contractors (including VISTAS) be fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Additional Information

  • Bi-weekly living stipend (approx. $575.40)
  • Segal Education Award ($6,495) or End of Service Award (approx. $1,800)
  • Relocating 50+ miles to serve: settling-in allowance of up to $750 and relocation travel allowance of $0.40/mile
  • Monthly SEPTA transportation pass (Zone 1)
  • Ten days of personal leave and ten days of medical leave
  • Healthcare Allowance or Health Benefit Plan
  • Loan Forbearance or Deferment for Federal Student Loans
  • +5 points on the City of Philadelphia’s Civil Service exam
  • Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) for federal jobs
  • Monthly professional development and team building
  • Valuable work experience and networking with local government and partners

Did you know?
  • We are a Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program qualified employer
  • Employees are eligible for a 25% tuition discount program (and sometimes spouses and dependents as well) in partnership with area colleges and universities
  • We offer comprehensive health coverage for employees and their eligible dependents
  • Our wellness program offers eligibility into the discounted medical plan
  • Employees receive paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays
  • Generous retirement savings options are available 
The City of Philadelphia is an Equal Opportunity employer and does not permit discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, marital status, source of income, familial status, genetic information or domestic or sexual violence victim status. If you believe you were discriminated against, call the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations at 215-686-4670 or send an email to For more information, go to: Human Relations Website: