From her fifth-floor office window at the headquarters of Congreso, Cynthia Figueroa can look down at Kensington's past and see what she hopes is its future.
A block to the east, at American and Cambria Streets, an abandoned textile factory has been razed, and her Kensington-based human service organization is building an education center and charter school campus in its place.
The center will also house a branch of Harcum College, where local residents will study leadership and management, juvenile justice, human resources, and child care. It's a far cry from the factory jobs once available to anyone with a high school diploma – or perhaps with just a strong back.
Figueroa, president and CEO of Congreso, is confident that with adequate resources, Kensington's youth can be trained for the 21st century job market.
The School District's on-time graduation rate climbed 3 percentage points last year to 61 percent, the first time in memory that more than six of ten Philadelphia students have graduated on time. That figure is the percentage of students who entered 9th grade in fall 2007 and finished high school by 2011.