College graduates have had a difficult time finding jobs in the past several years, but a Philadelphia organization is giving them a boost, matching recent grads with non-profit organizations for a year-long placement.
The Philly Fellows program is open to college seniors who apply in fall semester for the positions, which begin in July.
This year, 123 people applied for 15 positions.
“We look for people who want to engage in the community in Philadelphia and get connected to their neighbors, and who want to dive into the non-profit sector and make a real splash,” says Tim Ifill, the executive director and co-founder of Philly Fellows.
Andrea Amanullah is among four University of Pennsylvania May graduates selected as fellows for the 2012-13 year. Amanullah is working at Philadelphia Youth Network, which works to improve educational and job opportunities for youth.
“I was toying with quite a few options for my first year after graduation, with a move as far as Australia on my radar,” Amanullah says. “But Philly feels like home to me now, after living here for the past four years and over the past three summers.”
Amanullah hopes her year spent as a Fellow will help guide her to choosing a career.
“I'm not sure if I want to teach, or work in education in another context, or stay out of it entirely,” she says. “There are many reasons why I might want to pursue something else. I'm hoping that with this perspective, I can make that decision.
The students each receive a $12,000 stipend for the year, and the organization provides free housing for the Fellows in homes in the Center City, Northern Liberties and University City neighborhoods.
Ifill co-founded Philly Fellows in 2005 as a way to help new graduates find jobs in non-profits and to encourage them to stay in the Philadelphia region after graduation.
“Non-profits aren’t sending recruiters to campus like some industries are,” Ifill says. “So, we wanted to make it an easier process for students who have those kinds of goals to build a pipeline between college and the nonprofit sector.”
The Fellows work at more than one dozen non-profit organizations in the city, including the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center, Consumer Credit Counseling Service and Juvenile Law Center.
Additional information about Philly Fellows is available at