Hiring Locally — A Priority

By Malik Majeed, President, CEO & General Counsel

This August PRWT Services, Inc. will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. Of course, reaching milestones like 30 years of business excellence prompts one to reflect on the highs and the lessons learned of the last three decades. While I’m sure my colleagues and I will be doing more reflecting and celebrating as we get closer to our anniversary date, today I can’t help but think of one of the most important parts of what helped us reach this point, and that’s our employees.

At PRWT we’re very proud of the fact that we hire from local neighborhoods and surrounding communities. And even as we’ve grown our business into a nationally renowned firm, we’re still committed to the city where it all began for us — Philadelphia.

We understand that even though we’re the largest minority-owned firm in the city, we may not be a household name that young people are thinking about working for one day. So that requires us to step away from our desks and spend time recruiting in the community. To do this, we often partner with others, including:

  • Temple University Annual Neighborhood Job Fair
  • Girard College Job Fair
  • Southwest Philadelphia with Kenyatta Johnson Job Fair
  • Grays Ferry Ave Job Fair

We also host internal job fairs at least twice a year, including our job fair tomorrow, May 2 from 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. Anyone interested in attending can register here.

Some may think job fairs are old school. But without a doubt these events help us to reconnect with our community members and find talent for every position, right in our own backyard. And that’s what has kept us true to our mission and values for the past 30 years, and will be what continues to drive us forward for the next 30.

Optimistic About Philadelphia’s Leaders of Tomorrow — Generation Z

By Malik Majeed, President, CEO & General Counsel

I recently read an article in Black Enterprise Magazine about six African-American teenagers who are leading the charge in innovative business solutions. Some are developing apps, others are conducting motivational tours and one is even making deals with the NBA. These teens and the work they are doing greatly impressed me, but I wasn’t the least bit surprised. I know this young generation, known to researchers as “Generation Z” or “iGeneration,” is going to change the world — and for the better.

Because of a partnership with the Adopt-a-School Program, PRWT Services, Inc. has the opportunity to follow students from 9th to 12th grade at Martin Luther King High School in the School District of Philadelphia. There, my colleagues and I get to support and interact with tomorrow’s leaders on a regular basis. We conduct three annual themed workshops where we talk about a variety of topics, including leadership, post high school options, career choices and job readiness.

Beyond interactive lectures, we sit down and talk with students regarding their social engagements, travel activities and political awareness. These young adults never fail to amaze me with all that they do in their school and community.  For instance, some of the students take a business course at school that teaches them about taxes and tax preparation.  Other students go home and help support family businesses, e.g., a family owned landscaping company.

As the President, CEO & General Counsel of the largest minority-owned firm in Philadelphia, I know how important it is to spend time mentoring the next generation of leaders in the communities in which we live and work.  Since our company’s inception nearly 30 years ago, PRWT has made it a point to hire from the local neighborhoods and surrounding communities. So, it is beyond encouraging when I sit down with or read about inspiring, motivated teens. Despite the stigmas that may befall young people, I am confident they will leave our world in a better place than they found it.


Philadelphia Tribune – Minority-owned businesses are big economic drivers

Minority-owned businesses are big economic drivers

Feb. 24, 2018
by Malik Majeed

On Feb. 8, like many of my fellow Philadelphians, I attended the Super Bowl victory parade. I stood next to thousands of screaming fans and I beamed with pride with celebrating our beloved Eagles. It made me realize just what we can accomplish when we focus. However, it also made me realize how much we have to do to become a first-class city. A rising tide does indeed lift all boats, and this is as good a time as any to harness that energy into actions that benefit everyone, especially those who need it the most.

Although Philadelphia is a majority-minority city, Philadelphia consistently lags far behind other major U.S. cities in terms of its number of minority owned businesses. Pennsylvania Department of Labor statistics measure Philadelphia’s unemployment rate at nearly 6 percent, significantly higher than the national average. This number is most likely a conservative estimate as many people have simply given up on looking for work.

Philadelphia’s poverty rate is the highest of the top 10 U.S. cities, at 25.7 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Broadly, there is an enormous racial wealth gap.

Janelle Jones (Economic Policy Institute) states the following:

  • Average wealth for white families is seven times higher than that of Black families, while median wealth for white families is twelve times higher than for black families.
  • More than 25 percent of black households have zero or negative net worth, meaning they have no wealth. That number is less than 10 percent for white households.
  • A typical Black family with a head of household who holds full-time employment has less wealth than a typical white family with a head of household who is unemployed.

These numbers emphasize the seriousness of the situation. When MBEs have access to economic opportunities it puts money into households that are striving to break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. Openings are created for entrepreneurs to build and grow. Employment prospects expand.

The importance of diversity and inclusion has been mentioned quite often by Mayor Jim Kenney before and after his successful campaign. The Mayor has also discussed his new citywide workforce development strategy aimed at preparing residents for careers in family-sustaining jobs, most recently during his speech at last week’s Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Diversity and inclusion, a growing economy and family-sustaining jobs go hand and hand.

According to The Institute for Thought Diversity, “minority-owned businesses reinvigorate the stagnant economy, and continue to create sustainable jobs and positively contribute to the tax base. As the U.S. economy gets back on its feet, it cannot do so effectively without supporting and growing these important economic engines.”

As president and CEO of PRWT, the largest minority-owned provider of facilities-related services in the United States founded in 1988, I can speak from first-hand experience about the impact of minority-owned businesses in the community. PRWT provides opportunities to those who have been disenfranchised, those who are living in impoverished conditions, those who are looking for opportunities to re-enter the workforce from the criminal justice system. We use the success we have found to provide mentoring to smaller firms and give those firms opportunities to grow their business. We provide support to other diverse firms creating economic opportunities that extends beyond our firm’s doors. Together with our subcontractors, we employ hundreds of city residents, dozens of whom are considered to be living in areas at or below the poverty line.

While winning on the field is great, we need to also work just as hard at winning off of it.

Malik Majeed serves as CEO and general counsel of PRWT Services Inc.