Philadelphia wants health systems to buy local, help create jobs

The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and the city of Philadelphia, have  introduced an effort to spur local purchasing by city universities and health systems, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.  

"This is a unique collaboration between the city, a nonprofit, and all of our major eds and meds institutions. They're all lined up to figure out how to use their purchasing power to create more jobs," Jeff Hornstein, executive director of the Economy League, told the publication. "This is the first time in this city that anyone has built a citywide collaborative to do this stuff."

The Economy League said the initiative, Philadelphia Anchors for Growth and Equity, aims to get Philadelphia health systems and universities to localize $500 million in contracts for goods in services and create up to 5,000 living wage, middle-skill jobs for city residents. Contracts would apply to goods and services such as office supplies, lab equipment and food, and job creation would take place over the next eight to 10 years, according to the report.

Founding partners, which provided seed money to launch the initiative, include the city of Philadelphia's Commerce Department, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, University of Pennsylvania and University of Pennsylvania Health System, Temple University and Temple University Health System.

The initiative follows a January 2014 report from the city controller's office that showed city health systems and universities spend $5.3 billion annually on goods and services in contracts, and about 52 percent, or $2.7 billion, is with local vendors.

"Each year Philadelphia's anchor institutions spend over $5 billion on goods and services in contracts, with nearly half being spent outside of Philadelphia. These contracts could be channeled towards local businesses as a way of addressing problems of unemployment and poverty," the Economy League said. "Cities such as Baltimore, Chicago and Detroit have developed effective local purchasing strategies to leverage the power of institutions to create jobs and build wealth."

More information on the initiative is available here.

 

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