Reimagining the Role of Post Secondary Education and Its Impact on Poverty


  • Carniesha JOIN/United Way if Greater Philadelphia of SNJ
  • Dr. Owens


As unemployed Americans prepare to re-enter the job market and compete for jobs, what impact will postsecondary education have in a world that is forever changed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? How employers, job seekers, and policymakers work to reimagine a competitive American workforce will heavily rely on postsecondary policies, practices, and programs. Communities living in poverty are at greater risk of falling deeper into economic disparity. Access to postsecondary supports is key for communities living in poverty being able to overcome the impacts of the pandemic. The following article provides examples of effective postsecondary education programs and practices throughout the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region.

Author Biographies

Carniesha, JOIN/United Way if Greater Philadelphia of SNJ


Carniesha Kwashie, MS


Carniesha Kwashie is a national and regional award winning non- profit professional known for her social and economic justice driven initiatives. She has extensive management experience working on large scale national programs in the government, non-profit and private sector. Mrs. Kwashie currently serves United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey as the Director of the Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN).  To increase the capacity and improve performance of workforce agencies, Carniesha designed and implemented in partnership with the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) and Race Forward a racial equity driven Workforce Benchmark Network initiative- the first of its kind in the nation. Prior to leading JOIN, Carniesha directed and managed the Better Bike Share Partnership and Indego Bike Share Program with the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems (OTIS). Under Carniesha’s leadership and focus on social justice driven innovative transportation solutions both programs served as a national model for an equitable bike share system. Currently, Mrs. Kwashie is serving as co-chair of the PHL COVID-19 Fund which has funded nearly 400+ non-profits in order to rapidly respond and deploy resources throughout the region. Carniesha earned a Bachelor of Arts in African- American Studies and Psychology from Temple University and a Master of Science in Interior Architecture and Design from Drexel University.


Dr. Owens


Nikia Owens, Ph.D.

Dr. Nikia Owens is Managing Director of Financial Empowerment at United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ).  Prior to joining UWGPSNJ Dr. Owens served in capacities as Vice President and held several Director positions overseeing Internal and Executive Communications, Housing and Basic Needs, Information Manager/Planner/Evaluator  and Family Violence with national nonprofit and county agencies.  Dr. Owens is the Founder/Owner of 3Ps N U, LLC a consulting agency offering services in strategic planning, management, evaluation and training.   Dr. Owens has taught at the collegiate level and within her leadership roles she has served on State and local boards, presented before State officials, analyzed public policy, garnered bipartisan support on state programs and most recently is serving on Mayor Barbarann Keffer’s transition team within the Upper Darby Township. Dr. Owens holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Social Work from Howard University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work Planning, Administration and Social Science from Clark Atlanta University. 





How to Cite

Kwashie, C., & Owens , N. . (2020). Reimagining the Role of Post Secondary Education and Its Impact on Poverty . Social Innovations Journal, 2(2). Retrieved from