The Future Works Alliance PHL is for citizens and leaders to align efforts, share knowledge, collaborate and design viable solutions for a stronger talent pool and greater economic opportunity for all.

We work with the public and private sectors so Greater Philadelphia can plan, prepare and act to shape our future. We will thrive during this age of rapid technological change and realize a better quality of life for more people in coming decades. 

Our Story

In 2017, the City of Philadelphia created the Office of Workforce Development with Sheila Ireland at the helm. Under Ireland’s leadership, Anne Gemmell created collaborative strategic responses to the future of work. Together with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and many others, the Office of Workforce Development learned that all workers would need unprecedented support during this time of rapid change. The most vulnerable workers are disproportionately low-wage, Black, Hispanic and women. 

Throughout 2018 and 2019, Gemmell consulted hundreds of experts from the public and private sectors to assess Greater Philadelphia’s ability to prepare for the age of automation. Practitioners and thought leaders studied how other nations are responding to automation and made an authentic evaluation of our region’s resiliency. Clear consensus emerged around four urgent strategic areas.

In late 2019 and early 2020, an internal City of Philadelphia working group, led by Ireland, Gemmell and First Deputy Chief Administrative Officer DeWayne Gordon began designing a future of work council. This council would foster and formalize the emerging civic dialogue to bring about actionable change in each focus area and actively shape our region’s future.

In March 2020, COVID-19 arrived, and changed everyone’s plans. By June, a pandemic-induced fiscal crisis led to the dissolution of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Workforce Development. In summer 2020, Gemmell launched Future Works Alliance PHL. With the creation of the independent nonprofit, Gemmell recommitted to devising a strategy to ensure the economic resiliency of Greater Philadelphia. She convened the Advisory Board and secured the support of Original Founders. In November 2020, Future Works made its public facing debut, engaging new audiences in the development of collaborative strategic responses to the future of work.    

The Future Works Alliance PHL has grown larger every day since. All members are united by the values of trusted collaboration among diverse participants and the shared goal of establishing Greater Philadelphia as an adaptable, resilient and forward-thinking region. We work together now so more people can thrive during and after an era of rapid technological change. 

Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board includes thought leaders from the areas of technology, education, finance, labor, and public policy. They support the vision, function, and sustainability of Future Works Alliance PHL.

Anne Gemmell

Founder of Future Works Alliance PHL

Anne is a pragmatic futurist who translates vision into concrete and actionable playbooks. As Director of Special Initiatives at the City of Philadelphia, she built the culture needed for deep and intentional collaboration across sectors and systems and led the future of work policy response. In 2016, she led the equitable design of the PHL-PreK program which now provides thousands of children with a quality start to learning and life. In 2012, Anne played a key role leading the effort to decriminalize marijuana in Philadelphia. She is an educator, writer, advocate, policy expert and social entrepreneur.

Chad Womack, PhD

Senior Director, STEM Programs and InitiativesUnited Negro College Fund

How has your upbringing shaped how you manage risk? 
I am a 3rd generation Philly native and an African American citizen of this country. So, risk sometimes takes on not-so-subtle meaning. I often need to define, understand, and manage personal and professional risks. 

Join Us

Future Works Alliance PHL values diverse perspectives. Together, we create a thorough and inclusive Future of Work Playbook. Join us as we position Greater Philadelphia to thrive through unprecedented change.