Wednesday, September 30, 2009

PathWays PA Special Budget Alert - September 30, 2009

Sunday, October 3rd (which is over three months after the constitutionally mandated deadline) is the new deadline set by Governor Rendell for a final budget. The House and Senate are scheduled to resume voting sessions today and they plan to keep working until there is a budget, but many call the Sunday deadline the best-case scenario.

While there may be an agreement and a new tentative deadline, until a budget is passed and signed, counties, non-profits, schools, hospitals, and many other organizations will continue to struggle to make ends meet without funding.

As we wait for a signed budget, preschools and other pre-kindergarten programs continue to shut their doors, along with child care centers and many other state programs. If you work for one of these organizations or if the services you rely on have been cut, please tell your story! Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, or tell your story to PathWays PA. We will share these stories on our blog and in our e-newsletters.

While there is much hope that we have reached the end of the budget impasse, there are no guarantees that this is the final version. Please continue to contact legislators and remind them of the programs that are important to Pennsylvania’s families, like the Industry Partnerships, Child Care Works, and Adult Education, and the need for funds to be distributed to service providers as quickly as possible after a budget is passed.


Budget Update

On September 18th, Governor Ed Rendell and the leaders of three legislative caucuses announced a $27.95 billion budget agreement. The Governor announced his support of a modified version of the "three-caucus" budget proposal.

Almost two weeks later, negotiations continue on the budget agreement. There continues to be concern on a number of issues, including the removal of a tax exemption for cultural events and the leasing of state forest land.

The House of Representatives will return to session today, when members plan to consider legislation that would enact a severance tax on natural gas production and a levy on cigars and smokeless tobacco. These revenue options were not in the state budget agreement announced by Governor Rendell and legislative leaders on September 18, however, the House is voting on the legislation after several members voiced concerns about the budget agreement.

While the budget continues to be worked on, the Department of Revenue is processing invoices so it can begin sending out payments for things like child care reimbursements, basic and special education funding, and CHIP as quickly as possible. The goal is to have priority line items receive payment within four to six days after the budget is signed and all other payments should be received in ten business days after the budget is enacted.

Please continue to visit our PathWays PA Policy Blog for updates on the budget and other important policy issues.


Local Impact of Working Without a State Budget

While an agreement has been reached and a new tentative deadline set, many departments, organizations, and agencies are still without any funding. Below are some local examples of how the delay and the budget agreement continue to affect different parts of the state.
  • Local child care providers have not been paid for months, forcing some to take out loans, cut hours, and even close their doors. The ripple effect is that low-income working parents who rely on state assistance to pay for child care are having to cut back their hours at work or quit all together.
  • Without funding, no Head Start classrooms in Lackawanna, Wayne, Pike and Susquehanna counties have opened this year, effecting 238 three and four year olds. For the 180 students in Pre-K Counts, their continued enrollment depends on when and how much funding they will receive.
  • In Lawrence County, the courthouse will be closed during the Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks in order to save money. Employees will take those holidays unpaid, and anyone not effected by the holiday furloughs, those at the county’s jail and 911 center, are being asked to take a 3 percent pay cut.
  • The Hamburg School District learned that they will likely receive less funding than they had anticipated. Having already started the school year with those funds prepared to be spent, the School Board needs to revise their plans and make difficult decisions and potential cuts.
  • Industry Partnerships cannot offer classes to provide training and upward mobility.


Action Alerts

Urge Your Representative to Support the Tax on Natural Gas, Smokeless Tobacco, and Cigars

The House of Representatives returns to session today, with plans to take up legislation that would enact a severance tax on natural gas production and a levy on cigars and smokeless tobacco.

A natural gas severance tax would not only provide needed revenue for the state, it also would ensure that state and local governments would be reimbursed for infrastructure, environmental, and social costs associated with increased drilling activity.

A tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco would help eliminate the price differential between cigarettes, which are subject to tax, and other harmful products which escape taxation. Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation without a tax on other tobacco products.

Call your House Representatives today to ask them to support a natural gas severance tax and levies on cigars and smokeless tobacco.


Continue to Urge Your Legislators to Support Critical Programs

While an agreement has been reached, the budget will not be final until it is passed and signed. Until that time, legislators continue to work on the amount of funding programs and services will receive. Please continue to contact legislators and remind them of the programs that are important to Pennsylvania’s families and ask them to fast-track funding to service providers so they can keep helping those in need.


Industry Partnerships

Take Action! Industry Partnerships are consortiums that allow employers to improve and expand their workforce by bringing together companies committed to the development of their workforce.
  • This program provides workers with access to training that gives them the skills necessary to maintain jobs and obtain employment with sufficient wages so workers can adequately support their families.
  • In Pennsylvania, more than 6,300 businesses are involved with more than 70 Industry Partnerships across the state. More than 70,000 workers have been trained since 2005.
  • On average, those workers have seen their wages rise by 6.62 percent within the first year after receiving the training.
  • Read more about how the Industry Partnership program is helping in one county.
  • Please see two recent posts on the PathWays PA Policy Blog - Recent Op Ed: Killing Industry Partnership workforce training would be bad for Pa. and Another Op-Ed in Support of Industry Partnerships.

CHIP – Cover All Kids

Take Action! During the past three years, CHIP has provided comprehensive health insurance coverage for thousands of children throughout Pennsylvania who would not have been eligible without the Cover All Kids program.
  • However, current budget proposals rescind this CHIP provision, which could result in up to 12,000 kids being cut from the program.
  • Even during an economic crisis, it is important to pay attention to the long-term effects of short-term cuts.
  • A recent report from Rice University puts the cost of health insurance through age 18 at $7,451, while the benefits equate to as much as $15,000.

Child Care Work Subsidies

Take Action! The Child Care Works Subsidies allow parents to afford to work by assisting them with the expense of child care.
  • For many parents the cost of child care may be more than they bring home in a paycheck.
  • Currently in Pennsylvania, over 16,000 are eligible for the child care subsidies but are currently on the waitlist, where some families remain for months.
  • In the meantime, they must pay more than they can afford for child care, provide childcare through an unreliable patchwork of friends, family, or substandard facilities, or risk losing their jobs at a time when employment is hard to find.
  • For more information please see a new report from PCCY, “Child Care Works, A Program with a Growing Need

Adult Education and Family Literacy

Take Action! Adult education and family literacy are especially important during this recession to ensure that families have the opportunity to gain the education they need to be or become self-sufficient. Please contact your representatives today to let them know the importance of this program!
  • These services have seen an increased demand in recent months.
  • According to a new report from the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board, over 202,000 adults in Philadelphia do not have a high school diploma, and 40 percent of Pennsylvania adults struggle with basic literacy skills.
  • Overlooked and Undercounted: Struggling to Make Ends Meet in Pennsylvania shows that 40.9 percent of all Pennsylvania households have a high school education or less, and of those households, 49% of those with less than a high school education earn less than the Self-Sufficiency Standard


We're looking for the top 5 answers on how to get the budget passed sooner. Share your ideas in the comment section below.

Prevent the Most Common Chronic Disease for Children: Give Them Dental Care

The most common chronic disease among children is something that can be prevented with a toothbrush, floss, and a visit to the dentist. More than three quarters of adolescents are suffering from tooth decay, yet a rising number of children are not going to the dentist and there is little push to include dental care in current health care reform.

Tooth decay can be very painful for children and leads to expensive procedures from the filling of cavities to root canals. When minor tooth decay and dental problems are ignored or untreated, they lead to more painful and expensive procedures, and worse. Not long ago, a 12-year-old boy died from the failure to treat a dental infection, which spread to his brain. A routine $80 extraction may have saved his life, but without insurance, the boy did not receive care.

Insurance coverage is critical to obtaining dental care. A survey from the Public Health Management Corporation found that in Southeastern Pennsylvania, 40 percent of children without private or public health insurance did not see the dentist in the past year, while 92 percent of those with health insurance did go to the dentist. Nationally 26 million children lack dental insurance, more than twice as many that lack overall health care.

While health care reform is debated, it is critical that the need for overall health, including dental health, is considered in all proposals.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reach Out to the Caregivers in Your Life

On October 24, the Center for Family Caregivers is celebrating "Job Jar" Day, a day to reach out to caregivers with offers to help around the house and provide some care of your own.

Why is "Job Jar" day so important? In the past year, one-third of workers reported caring for an older family member. 34 million Americans act as caregivers for older relatives, and that number is likely to grow as more adults face chronic disease in their lifetimes. Additionally, many other caregivers are parents and family members caring for seriously ill or disabled children. Abaout 200,000 families have unmet respite care needs in the US.

Caregiving offers wonderful rewards, but is also a demanding process. Those providing care may be responsible for not just physical assistance but also financial planning, healthcare advocacy, transportation, and many other roles. As they work to provide day-to-day care, some of the special projects that need to be done may fall by the wayside.

Let the caregivers in your life know how much you care by offering to help on October 24 (or any day). Caregiving.com offers some great ideas to get started, ranging from installing shower grab bars to catching up on laundry.

While you're at it, you might also want to write to your legislators about another problem many caregivers face: the lack of paid sick leave. Half of all working people have no earned sick time to care for their own needs, much less the needs of their family members. Yet something as simple as having the time to take a parent to the doctor could delay the need for advanced/nursing home care.

Monday, September 28, 2009

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: September 28, 2009

PA Budget

It is nearly October and Pennsylvania is still without a final budget. While there may be an agreement in the works, until a budget is passed and signed, counties, non-profits, schools, hospitals, and many other organizations will continue to struggle to make ends meet without funding.

Over a week ago, Governor Rendell held a press conference to announce his support of a modified version of the "three-caucus" budget proposal. While details are still emerging, it is expected that the budget will include:
  • $27.9 billion in spending - this is $400 million less in spending than in the last fiscal year. Without federal stimulus dollars, the budget would be about $2 billion less than last year.
  • Increased business taxes and cigarette tax rates (and the expansion of the cigarette tax to cigarillos)
  • Extension of the sales tax to theater and concert tickets
  • Table games at casinos
  • Increased education spending of about $300 million
Please continue to visit our PathWays PA Policy Blog for updates on the budget and other important policy issues. While there is much hope that we have reached the end of the budget impasse, there are no guarantees that this is the final version. Please continue to contact legislators and remind them of the programs that are important to Pennsylvania’s families.


Federal

Ask Your Senators to Strengthen and Support the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 (H.R. 3221)

The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act will provide significant investments in innovative community college programs leading to improved job skills and postsecondary credentials for millions of workers.

This important bill uses savings generated by the transition from a subsidized student loan program to a direct student loan program to provide significant new investments in our nation’s community colleges. Importantly, the bill expands the capacity of community colleges to respond to the rising demand for job training, and will help many workers gain critical skills needed so they can help rebuild our economy.

The House just passed the bill, and now the action moves to the Senate. Send a letter to your Senators asking them to strengthen and support this legislation.


State

United Way Survey

The United Way seeks your help in better defining the crisis facing nonprofit health and human service organizations in the Commonwealth because of the budget impasse. If your agency has experienced delays in receiving payments under state or local contracts, please complete this survey.

The information you provide here will be kept strictly confidential and will not be shared outside of the United Way.

Information from all agencies that respond will be aggregated, so that the United Way can better inform policymakers and the public about the serious challenge facing the network of community-based services in the Commonwealth.


Information/Events

Help the Pennsylvania Commission for Women Spread the Word about Breast Cancer Awareness

One in eight women in Pennsylvania will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Help change this by joining the Pennsylvania Commission for Women as they turn fountains hot pink to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Wednesday, September 30th noon - Harrisburg, State Capitol Fountain
Thursday, October 1st 10:00 am - Pittsburgh, Point State Park Fountain


New Tool: DataFinder

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) created a new tool, DataFinder, which makes it easy for advocates, policymakers and others to download and synthesize data about various programs and trends that affect low-income people and families.

The DataFinder currently includes state and national data on child care assistance spending and participation, Head State and Early Start participation, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) expenditures, young child demographics, and poverty. The tool also provides community-level statistics on education, demographics and youth violence. Examples of questions that can be answered with the DataFinder include:
  • What share of TANF spending goes to basic assistance in each state - and how has this changed in recent years?
  • How many children are served by Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care subsidies?
  • How many children are in extreme poverty in each state, and in selected communities?
  • What percent of students in distressed communities drop out of high school in ninth grade or complete high school on time?
CLASP will add more data to this evolving tool over time. To find this tool, please visit www.clasp.org/data.


Trauma and the Family: The Importance of Knowing for Consumers and Family Members

The impact of a traumatic event on a family member can have a ripple effect on the entire family. Adults and children can experience changes in their own lives as they respond to these events. This training will examine how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop after a traumatic event. There will also be discussions of strengths and positive coping styles.

WHEN: Tuesday October 27th, 2009 9:30 – 3:30 pm, continental breakfast included, one hour for lunch (on your own)

WHERE: Holiday Inn, 2175 W. Marlton Pike (Rt 70) Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
COST: $100 per person

To register or for more information please visit the Sources for Human Services website.


Register to Vote by October 5th

In order to vote in the November 3rd election, you must register to vote by October 5th.

Who are we voting for?
State Judges and Appellate Justices, City District Attorney, City Controller, Judges and Inspector of Elections, and Trial Judges including Common Pleas, Municipal, and Traffic Court Judges

For more information about the election, please click here. To find information about registering to vote, please click here.


Do You Need Help Paying for Post-Secondary Education?

PathWays PA offers Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), a matched savings program that offers financial education while helping you save for school. Through the program, your savings can be matched at a rate of three-to-one. If you save $500, we will give you an additional $1500 to go towards your school expenses.

Applicants must meet program income guidelines, be working (full or part time), and be enrolled or accepted into an accredited institution.

If you are interested or have any questions, please e-mail Greg Potestio at gpotestio@pathwayspa.org.


Need Assistance With Public Benefits Applications?

PathWays PA provides assistance to those who need help applying for food stamps or other benefits. For further information, you can contact our office in Philadelphia 215-387-1470 or Delaware County 610-543-5022.

For more information about the services provided by PathWays PA please visit our website.

Friday, September 25, 2009

No Budget Still Means No Funding

While a compromise on the budget was announced last week, the details of that agreement are still being worked out and some legislators claim that it will at least be another week until the state budget is complete.

While legislators work on the compromise budget, non-profit organizations, schools, hospitals, child care centers, and so many more continue to go without necessary and critical funding.
We need to keep reminding our legislators that it is crucial for Pennsylvania to have a responsible budget quickly and that state funding must begin to immediately flow to those who have been without funding for the last three months.

A Reminder to G20 Participants: Don’t Forget Women

This week, Pittsburgh is home to the G-20, where world leaders are meeting to discuss how to repair the global economy. While they create a plan to end the current economic crisis, it is critical that any plan includes women and girls.

Women make up to 60 percent of the global workforce, yet they are also the majority of the world’s poor and illiterate. During a recession, women are disproportionately impacted because they are more likely to be in vulnerable jobs, underemployed, and have less financial control over financial resources. Even women in senior positions at large corporations are being adversely affected – while 6 percent of men in senior positions have lost their jobs during this recession, 19 percent of women have.

The city of Pittsburgh is a great example of both the inequality women face (especially in a recession) as well as the positive responses that are possible. While Pittsburgh has been called a symbol of economic recovery, it also has one of the worst gender wage gaps in the county. In Pittsburgh, women earn less than 70 cents on the dollar than men, while the national average is 81 cents for every dollar. However, Pittsburgh has also recognized this problem and is working to remedy it through economic development.

Recently city leaders collaborated with the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania to mandate that local governmental entities regularly conduct race and gender wage gap audits and immediately begin systemic improvements to eliminate wage inequities for government workers. In addition, a coalition of corporate leaders has joined forces with the Women and Girls Foundation to increase women's representation on corporate boards. In three years, their efforts have reduced the number of companies with zero women on the board from 26 down to 16.

While the G20 leaders discuss ways to bring the world out of this economic crisis, they need to remember to consider the entire population, not just one gender. Investments in physical infrastructure, while important, need to be paired with social infrastructure and investments in education and public health.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Census Data: 1 in 10 Pennsylvanians Lacked Health Insurance in 2008

2009 marks the first time the Census has tracked and released local and regional data on health insurance coverage as part of its American Community Survey. According to the data, 1.15 million Pennsylvanians, or 9.4 percent of the population, lacked health insurance in 2008.

Reading and Allentown had the highest percentage of people without insurance (17.1 percent and 17.5 percent respectively), while Philadelphia has the most individuals without insurance, 200,243. In other words, one out of every six people in Pennsylvania without insurance is from Philadelphia.

However, the data shows that the uninsured are not only found in Philadelphia. Several rural communities, especially Crawford, Lawrence, and Lancaster, also saw high rates of uninsured.

Pennsylvania’s overall percentage of uninsured is below the national rate of 15.1 percent, which is largely due to Pennsylvania’s success with CHIP and the large population of senior citizens receiving Medicare. Pennsylvania also has a high rate of employer-provided health insurance; however, that number has been in decline over the last decade.

With recent state budgetary problems, funding for programs like CHIP and adultBasic are on the chopping block. As waiting lists for those programs become longer, the numbers of individuals without health insurance will only grow, unless something changes. With nearly 1 in 10 Pennsylvanians already lacking health insurance, health care reform is essential to ensure that residents can get the care they need and deserve.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PathWays PA Special Budget Alert - September 23, 2009

There may be an agreement but until a budget is passed and signed, counties, non-profits, schools, hospitals, and many other organizations will continue to struggle to make ends meet without funding.

As we wait for a signed budget, preschools and other pre-kindergarten programs continue to shut their doors, along with child care centers and many other state programs. If you work for one of these organizations or if the services you rely on have been cut, please tell your story! Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, or tell your story to PathWays PA. We will share these stories on our blog and in our e-newsletters.

While there is much hope that we have reached the end of the budget impasse, there are no guarantees that this is the final version. Please continue to contact legislators and remind them of the programs that are important to Pennsylvania’s families, like the Industry Partnerships, Child Care Works, and Adult Education, and the need for funds to be distributed to service providers as quickly as possible after a budget is passed.


Budget Update

Governor Ed Rendell and the leaders of three legislative caucuses announced a $27.95 billion budget agreement last Friday night. The Governor announced his support of a modified version of the "three-caucus" budget proposal that had been making the rounds since September 10. While details about the agreement are still emerging, it is expected that the budget will include:
  • $27.9 billion in spending - this is $400 million less in spending than in the last fiscal year. Without federal stimulus dollars, the budget would be about $2 billion less than last year.
  • Increased business taxes and cigarette tax rates (and the expansion of the cigarette tax to cigarillos)
  • Extension of the sales tax to theater and concert tickets
  • Table games at casinos
Final adoption of the budget will unfortunately take more time as legislators need to draft and approve bills to legalize some sources of revenue, like table games at casinos. Some have predicted that it will not be until the end of September that the budget will be enacted. However, once the budget is passed, Governor Rendell has stated that the State Treasurer's office would work to get money out to service agencies as soon as possible.

Please continue to see our PathWays PA Policy Blog for updates on the budget and other important policy issues.


Budget Update: Philadelphia

On September 17, the Pennsylvania Senate approved a bill allowing Philadelphia to institute a temporary sales tax increase and to delay pension payments for two years. With this vote, Philadelphia was able to avoid the "Plan C" budget scenario, which would have closed libraries, cut police and firefighting jobs, and reduced trash pickup to once every two weeks.


Local Impact of Working Without a State Budget

While an agreement has been reached, many departments, organizations, and agencies are still without any funding. Below are some local examples of how the delay and the budget agreement truly affect different parts of the state.

Action Alerts

While an agreement has been reached, the budget will not be final until it is passed and signed. Until that time, legislators continue to work on the amount of funding programs and services will receive. Please continue to contact legislators and remind them of the programs that are important to you and to Pennsylvania’s families. Ask them to fast track funding to service providers so they can keep helping those in need.

Some of these programs include:


Industry Partnerships

Take Action! Industry Partnerships are consortiums that allow employers to improve and expand their workforce by bringing together companies committed to the development of their workforce.
  • This program provides workers with access to training that gives them the skills necessary to maintain jobs and obtain employment with sufficient wages so workers can adequately support their families.
  • In Pennsylvania, more than 6,300 businesses are involved with more than 70 Industry Partnerships across the state. More than 70,000 workers have been trained since 2005.
  • On average, those workers have seen their wages rise by 6.62 percent within the first year after receiving the training.
  • Read more about how the Industry Partnership program is helping in one county.
  • Please see two recent posts on the PathWays PA Policy Blog - Recent Op Ed: Killing Industry Partnership workforce training would be bad for Pa. and Another Op-Ed in Support of Industry Partnerships.
CHIP – Cover All Kids

Take Action! During the past three years, CHIP has provided comprehensive health insurance coverage for thousands of children throughout Pennsylvania who would not have been eligible without the Cover All Kids program.
  • However, current budget proposals rescind this CHIP provision, which could result in up to 12,000 kids being cut from the program.
  • Even during an economic crisis, it is important to pay attention to the long-term effects of short-term cuts.
  • A recent report from Rice University puts the cost of health insurance through age 18 at $7,451, while the benefits equate to as much as $15,000.
Child Care Work Subsidies

Take Action! The Child Care Works Subsidies allow parents to afford to work by assisting them with the expense of child care.
  • For many parents the cost of child care may be more than they bring home in a paycheck.
  • Currently in Pennsylvania, over 16,000 are eligible for the child care subsidies but are currently on the waitlist, where some families remain for months.
  • In the meantime, they must pay more than they can afford for child care, provide childcare through an unreliable patchwork of friends, family, or substandard facilities, or risk losing their jobs at a time when employment is hard to find.
  • For more information please see a new report from PCCY, “Child Care Works, A Program with a Growing Need
Adult Education and Family Literacy

Take Action! Adult education and family literacy are especially important during this recession to ensure that families have the opportunity to gain the education they need to be or become self-sufficient. Please contact your representatives today to let them know the importance of this program!

Even with Insurance, People Fighting Cancer are also Fighting to Survive Financially

The rising cost of health care has left many Americans either without insurance or with limited insurance coverage. This is especially a problem for the 11 million Americans currently fighting cancer, whose main concern should be fighting the disease, not figuring out how to pay for treatment.

Cancer affects so many Americans. Nearly one out of every two Americans born today will be diagnosed with a form of cancer at some point in their life. Without health care reform, even those individuals with insurance will struggle financially to pay for their life saving treatments.
  • 41 percent of non-elderly adults have either accumulated medical debt or had difficulty paying medical bills – 61 percent of those individuals had insurance
  • 25 percent of individuals with cancer report using all or most of their savings as a result of the cost of treating their cancer – 22 percent of those with insurance report the same
  • 5 percent of cancer patients with insurance report delaying treatment or deciding not to get care because of the cost
  • 10 percent of cancer patients reached the benefit limit in their insurance policy and were forced to seek alternative insurance or pay for the remainder of their treatment out-of-pocket
Devastatingly high out-of-pocket expenses along with annual and lifetime benefit caps lead even the insured to incredibly high bills and potential financial ruin. Often individuals with cancer seeking to purchase insurance coverage are charged higher premiums, have coverage excluded for certain conditions, and may even be denied coverage all together. Individuals are then forced to make decisions based on their finances, not their health.

Health care reform seeks to remedy these problems by making health care affordable, putting caps on out-of-pocket expenses, eliminating benefit limits, and promoting preventive and high quality care. Preventive care will not only save individuals and insurance companies money it will also save lives by catching any signs of cancer in the early stages.

Information provided is according to reports released by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

PathWays PA Job Postings - 9/22/09

Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable Clerk

Busy Delco non-profit seeks FT A/P, A/R clerk. Experience required. Friendly, flexible atmosphere. Fax resume and salary requirements to 610.328.2807
Attn: JR/LD


Career Coach & Healthcare Employment Specialist

To guide entry-level healthcare workers in building a career/education plan. Career Coach will assist clients with accessing public benefits and resources. Preferred candidate will be familiar with higher education systems and health care workforce. Must have minimum BA in Education, Public Health, Urban Policy, Social Work or related field. Computer skills in MS Office; valid driver’s license and reliable independent transportation required. Please fax resumes to: LD/LK 610-543-6483.


Manager, Community Financial Education, Outreach, and Tax Program

This position is based in Delaware County (Holmes). Strong organizational and interpersonal skills, fluency with data management and reporting required. Need strong written and oral communication skills, staff management experience and familiarity and commitment to helping low income/TANF recipients. Requires management of an established and growing tax program that includes Philadelphia and surrounding counties.

Masters Degree required. Fax resumes to: 610-543-6483, attn: LK/SS


Job Coach

Job Coach for youth demonstration project. Must have experience assisting young adults with career mapping, job readiness, and retention/advancement strategies. BA/BS preferred, full-time, some evenings and Saturdays. Familiarity with Delaware County and its employers strongly preferred. Fax resumes to LD/JP at 610-543-1549.


Trauma-informed Therapists

PathWays PA is seeking quality therapists to provide trauma-informed therapeutic services to women, teen mothers and teen girls in their homes. Must be trained-in trauma-informed services and be familiar with the S.E.L.F. model; must also be comfortable addressing sexual abuse and domestic violence issues. Flexible hours required. LSW and credentialed/eligible to be credentialed to provide services to CBH members required. Philadelphia and some DELCO area. Full time and Part time position available. Fax resumes to JL/BD at 610.543.6483


PathWays PA is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Why Women Can Excel in Nontraditional Jobs



An article published last week on Forbes.com "mythbusts" the idea that woman can't do math and science by pointing out that women executives with science degrees are leading some of the largest companies in the world. The article points out that women who earn Ph. D.s in science are as likely as their male counterparts to find teaching positions, promotions, and tenure at major universities. It also notes that girls now have academic parity with boys when it comes to math.

The question to ask, really, is when did we decide that women couldn't excel at math and science, as well as the nontraditional jobs that go with them? Throughout our history, women have excelled in performing heavy labor on a farm, in the fields, and in the home. During WWII, Rosie the Riveter became well known as the symbol of working women, and is held up as an example even today. Math and science skills are important in every job, and men are just as likely as women to need additional job training that focuses on math for more technical occupations.

In a recent presentation, PathWays PA showed organizations interested in training workers for "green jobs" why it is so important to include women.




Plenty of myths abound to "show" why women can't do nontraditional jobs. What these myths ignore is that women already do many of these jobs at home when they patch ceilings, fix leaky faucets, and take on other home repairs. Women are strong enough to do heavy labor, and they have the science and math skills to take on the technical aspects of a job. Plus, since women often are left doing "women's work" which pays much less than a traditionally "male" job, they have additional motivation to succeed.

Women can succeed in nontraditional work (and have already done so). Let's make sure they get the opportunity through green jobs initiatives over the next few years.

Gender Should Not Be a Factor in Ending Domestic Violence

In Pennsylvania, lawmakers spent some time last week debating whether or not to designate the month of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month under a bill that Representative John Siptroth brings to the floor each year. While it was introduced as a “noncontroversial resolution,” the bill gained its share of controversy on Thursday when Representative Daryl Metcalfe blocked the bill, declaring it had a “homosexual agenda.” When asked later, the Representative stated that he had a problem with a phrase in the resolution that read, “one in six women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape."

While most of us think of domestic violence as occurring to women, this incident brings home the fact that men also suffer as victims of domestic violence – from female and male partners. What matters in the end is not the gender of the person committing the violence or the gender of the victim – what matters is that over 2 million women and men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner each year. Beyond the immediate physical damage, domestic violence leaves behind a lifetime of physical, psychological, and economic impacts on its survivors.

At PathWays PA, many of our clients have been victims of domestic violence, as have our staff. Please ask your legislators to support Representative Siptroth’s resolution to make October Domestic Violence Awareness month.


Below are some other facts on domestic violence taken from the resolution:

  • One in every four women and one in every nine men will experience domestic violence in his or her lifetime.
  • One in six women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.
  • Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.
  • 30 percent to 60 percent of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the home.
  • Intimate partner violence results in more than 18.5 million mental health care visits each year.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Census is a Grim Reminder of the Need for Health Care Reform

According to the Census Bureau, the number of Americans living in poverty increased by nearly 2.6 million in 2008, to a total of 39.8 million, which is the highest number of people living in poverty since 1960. With more individuals in poverty, less are able to pay the expensive cost of health insurance and the number of people without health insurance grew to 46.3 million.
  • From 2000 to 2008, the proportion without insurance rose from 13.7 to 15.4 percent.
  • The numbers of uninsured working age adults (18-64 years old) increased from 19.6 percent to 20.3 percent between 2007 and 2008, an increase of more than 1.5 million people.
One glimmer or good news in the data is that the total number of uninsured children dropped from 11 percent to 9.9 percent. This is because many children are now eligible for public insurance programs such as CHIP and Medicaid. Even though evidence shows that these programs are working by providing insurance for those who were previously uninsured they may be cut, in particular in Pennsylvania, due to a budgetary crisis.

As bad as many of the numbers listed above are, it is likely that even more people are living in poverty today than when the census was taken. More people living in poverty means that there are even more people going without insurance. Health reform is crucial to bring down costs and provide affordable options for individuals who simply cannot afford coverage.

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: September 21, 2009

PA Budget Breakthrough!

Over the weekend, Governor Rendell held a press conference to announce his support of a modified version of the "three-caucus" budget proposal that has been making the rounds since September 10. While details are still emerging, it is expected that the budget will include:
  • $27.9 billion in spending - this is $400 million less in spending than in the last fiscal year. Without federal stimulus dollars, the budget would be about $2 billion less than last year.
  • Increased business taxes and cigarette tax rates (and the expansion of the cigarette tax to cigarillos)
  • Extension of the sales tax to theater and concert tickets
  • Table games at casinos
  • Increased education spending of about $300 million
This version of the budget is expected to be debated next week in the House and Senate, with possible passage by the end of the week (though it will more likely continue into the week of September 28). Once the budget is passed, Governor Rendell noted that the State Treasurer's office would work to get money out to service agencies as soon as possible.

Please continue to see our PathWays PA Policy Blog for updates on the budget and other important policy issues. While there is much hope that we have reached the end of the budget impasse, there are no guarantees that this is the final version. Please continue to contact legislators and remind them of the programs that are important to Pennsylvania’s families.


State

Urge Your Legislators to Support Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence is a serious problem that needs our attention and the support of our state legislators. Please contact your legislators and let them know that October should be designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Some distressing facts about domestic violence:
  • One in every four women and one in every nine men will experience domestic violence in his or her lifetime.
  • One in six women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.
  • Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.
  • 30 percent to 60 percent of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the home.
  • Intimate partner violence results in more than 18.5 million mental health care visits each year.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.

Pennsylvania’s Children Need Our Support

While it appears that the budget impasse may be coming to an end, it is critical that essential programs are included in specific appropriation lines, particularly those affecting vulnerable children and families.

Please contact your legislators and ask them to:

  1. Invest in primary prevention;
  2. Provide the necessary resources required to properly investigate, respond to and treat child abuse and violence impacting children; and
  3. Make every effort to approach human services funding holistically.
Specific to prevention, it is imperative that such attention and investment recognize the proven value of Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) – a voluntary home visiting program for first time mothers.

NFP has demonstrated positive outcomes in building the capacity and competence of parents resulting in stronger families and improved health and safety outcomes for children – all of which are fundamental building blocks to a child’s school readiness and future success.

Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania children and families already struggling. Please contact your legislators and ask their support for vulnerable children and families.


Support Families Working Towards Self-Sufficiency

Under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), grants in Pennsylvania pay less than one-third of the poverty line; a family of three, for example, receives only $403 per month in most Pennsylvania counties. This is not enough to pay the costs families face, especially as they are trying to move off of welfare. However, some families also have access to special allowances to obtain employment, education, or training.

Proposals before the Department of Public Welfare (DPW’s) would change special allowances, making it even more difficult for families to escape poverty. These proposals include

  • New regulations that would require families to spend any savings or funds they may have before they would qualify for a special allowance (families sometime save up their money to pay next month’s rent or utility bill or purchase school supplies for their children). This new regulation would require families to spend this money before qualifying for DPW assistance in purchasing a bus pass or other transportation costs, paying for GED testing fees, or buying textbooks for training classes. This regulation would frustrate families’ attempts to improve their lives and may lead to homelessness and instability, when they should be focused on leaving TANF through employment or training.
  • New regulations would impose low limits on the amount of special allowances that a family might receive. For example, an individual would only be able to receive $2,000 in her lifetime to spend on books and school supplies, and $1,500 per year on transportation (including the cost of car insurance.) However, to leave TANF by finding a self-sufficient job, the head of household may need adult basic education or vocational training, often with costs associated. If DPW restricts the amount of special allowances that a TANF or food stamp recipient can receive, she will only be able to choose lesser quality job training or none at all. These limits will prevent many people from earning enough money to leave welfare behind.In this recession, Pennsylvanian families need more help—not less—to obtain quality education and training that will lead to self-sufficient jobs. This package of regulations will only hurt families as they try to work their way out of poverty.

Please urge the Independent Regulatory Review Commission to reject these regulations by contacting:

Information/Events

Come Rally for Health Care Reform!

Health Care for America Now (HCAN), MoveOn, the AFL-CIO and others are holding events all over the country to focus attention on how Americans are being denied the care and insurance coverage they deserve. They are holding a rally in Philadelphia this week.

WHEN: Tuesday, September 22, 4:45 pm
WHERE: Dilworth Plaza, NW corner of City Hall

Former executive turned insurance company whistleblower Wendell Potter will speak as well as AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker, and Pennsylvanians who have suffered from a lack of health care.

To RSVP for the event, please click here. Please come out to fight for reform.


Do You Need Help Paying for Post-Secondary Education?

PathWays PA offers Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), a matched savings program that offers financial education while helping you save for school. Through the program, your savings can be matched at a rate of three-to-one. If you save $500, we will give you an additional $1500 to go towards your school expenses.

Applicants must meet program income guidelines, be working (full or part time), and be enrolled or accepted into an accredited institution.

If you are interested or have any questions, please e-mail Greg Potestio at gpotestio@pathwayspa.org.


Need Assistance With Public Benefits Applications?

PathWays PA provides assistance to those who need help applying for food stamps or other benefits. For further information, you can contact our office in Philadelphia 215-387-1470 or Delaware County 610-543-5022.

For more information about the services provided by PathWays PA please visit our website.


The State of Working Pennsylvania 2009

The State of Working Pennsylvania 2009, a report released by the Keystone Research Center, is an annual check up on Pennsylvania’s economy, with a focus on working families. This year’s report finds that federal stimulus efforts are working, but structural reforms are needed to rebuild middle class.

For a full fact sheet please click here.


Support Earned Sick Days in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia!

Support the paid sick days campaign in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia!

Become our friend! Show your support for earned sick time by visiting Facebook. Visit this link to support earned sick time in Pennsylvania, and visit this link to support earned sick time in Philadelphia. Support both!

Tell us your story! Are you a parent who lost their job to stay home with a sick child? Are you a business owner who provides/supports paid sick days? Email your story to us at policy@pathwayspa.org.

Call your Representatives! If you live in Philadelphia, call your City Councilperson and urge them to support "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces," which guarantees earned sick time for all working Philadelphians. Not sure who your City Councilperson is? Click on this link and type in your home address to find out which district you live in: http://www.phila.gov/citycouncil/districtform/districtform.html.

If you live in Pennsylvania (but outside of Philadelphia), call your state Representative. Tell him/her you support earned sick time for workers. Not sure who your Representative is? Simply type your address here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

PathWays PA Special Budget Alert - September 19, 2009

It is now day 80 of the budget impasse, and there has been a breakthrough. Although not everyone is on board, Governor Rendell last night held a press conference to announce his support of a modified version of the “three-caucus” budget that has been making the rounds since September 10. While details are still emerging, it is expected that the budget will include:

  • $27.9 billion in spending – this is $400 million less in spending than in the last fiscal year. Without federal stimulus dollars, the budget would be about $2 billion less than last year.
  • Increased business taxes and cigarette tax rates (and the expansion of the cigarette tax to cigarillos)
  • Extension of the sales tax to theater and concert tickets
  • Table games at casinos
  • Increased education spending of about $300 million

This version of the budget is expected to be debated next week in the House and Senate, with possible passage by the end of the week (though it will more likely continue into the week of September 28). Once the budget is passed, Governor Rendell noted that the State Treasurer’s office would work to get money out to service agencies as soon as possible.

Below are some of the stories regarding the budget with additional information:


Please continue to read our blog for updates on the budget throughout the weekend and next week.


Philadelphia Budget Update


On September 17, the Pennsylvania Senate approved a bill allowing Philadelphia to institute a temporary sales tax increase and to delay pension payments for two years. With this vote, Philadelphia was able to avoid the "Plan C" budget scenario, which would have closed libraries, cut police and firefighting jobs, and reduced trash pickup to once every two weeks.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Few Details, but Governor Rendell is on Board with a Budget

We don't have many details (the Governor said he wants senators and representatives to hear it first) but in an 8 PM press conference, the Governor has said he is on board with a budget with a spend number "close to" the original three-caucus budget (around $27.9 billion). Some highlights:

  • According to Governor Rendell, the budget meets his commitment to education.
  • The budget will spend $400 million less than last year's budget. Without federal stimulus dollars, it spends $2 billion less.
  • Governor Rendell apologized for the "angst and concern" Pennsylvanians have been subjected to and for the 79-day delay.
  • Senator Pileggi said the budget was a "remarkable feat" in this recession.
  • Speaker McCall said that this was a budget deal involving "winners and survivors."
  • "Now that the agreement is reached in principle, there is a fair amount of nuts and bolts that need to go on... it is our hope that we will be working through the weekend... next week is a possibility" but it is more likely the budget will be passed the following week.
  • According to Governor Rendell, this budget preserves education and economic development, creates revenues, and constrains spending. He believes it could have been done in a shorter period of time, but thinks the end result is good for Pennsylvania.
  • Table games are part of the revenue package, but overall revenue package not being released yet (expected that cigarillos will be taxed, but not chewing tobacco and cigars)
  • Treasurer McCord is planning on a "strike force" effort similar to getting state workers paid quickly in order to make sure social service organizations are paid as quickly as possible.
More details as they come. In the meantime, thanks to all of the people on Twitter who have gotten the information on the budget out so quickly, including @PgPoliTweets @Capitol_Ideas @timestribune and so many more.

Some Recent PA Budget Stories

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

PathWays PA Special Budget Alert - September 16, 2009

A possible compromise, but is it the right compromise for Pennsylvania? While we are the only state without a budget and many are in desperate need of state funding, it is critical that we ensure the final budget is one that works for Pennsylvania. If you are looking for a comparison of some of the line items in the three-caucus proposal please see the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's website.

The latest proposal, expected to be at a funding level of $27.9 billion, is said to raise $1.2 billion in what the leaders are calling "recurring revenue" and $2.1 billion in one-time revenue sources. New revenues sources are to come from the combination of a hike on the tax on cigarettes, legalization of casino table games, and higher taxes on businesses. While the proposal increases education funding by $300 million many other programs are facing cuts, like Pre-K Counts, CHIP, and Adult and Family Literacy.

As we wait for a budget, preschools and other pre-kindergarten programs continue to shut their doors, along with child care centers and many other state programs. If you work for one of these organizations or if the services you rely on have been cut, please tell your story! Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, or tell your story to PathWays PA. We will share these stories on our blog and in our e-newsletters.

If you are upset about the budget proposals, which include cuts ranging from education to hospitals to the elimination of the Industry Partnership program, please tell your legislators how you would finish this sentence: “If the choice is between reducing/eliminating spending on hospitals, burn units, Industry Partnerships, and childcare, or increasing revenues, I would support…” Even though a compromise budget is beginning to look more likely, it is not too late to contact your legislators and let them know what you think.

During this recession, some budget cuts are inevitable. But too many cuts will lead to long-term impacts on our families, our health, and our economy at a time when we cannot afford to do without.


Budget Update

With so much action (and inaction) around the PA Budget situation, below is a timeline of the past week.

Thursday, September 10: Potential deal emerges involving three caucuses (Senate Republicans and Democrats, House Democrats, supposedly brought together after private meetings including Sen. Bob Mellow and Sen. Domenic Pileggi). The budget is assumed to be at $27.9 billion and includes revenue from increase to cigarette tax, legalization of table games, and a rollback of capital stock and franchise tax. Governor Rendell states that revenue picture is “too rosy” and threatens to veto. House Republicans also have problems with the plan due to the revenue increases and spending level.

Friday, September 11: House and Senate leaders hold press conference to say they have “an agreement in principal” on the budget. In addition to the cigarette tax, table games, and rollback, they reveal additional revenues will come from the Rainy Day Fund and Health Care Provider Retention Account. Governor Rendell again threatens to veto the bill, saying that the budget is “a billion dollars short.”

Saturday, September 12: Governor Rendell holds a press conference on the budget, where he says he will work towards improvements in the budget deal. However, he continued to attack the revenue projections associated with the deal.

Sunday, September 13: Governor Rendell holds a meeting at the Governor’s Mansion with state leaders. Following the meeting, Sen. Domenic Pileggi indicates that the budget might address some of the Governor’s concerns. House Speaker Keith McCall said he was “optimistic” about the meeting.

Monday, September 14: Governor Rendell continues to speak against the proposed budget in a news conference, leading reporters to note that it had become more likely that if the budget passed, it would be over his veto. However, the Governor also said he would not oppose any plans to override his veto on the budget. A planned Budget Conference Committee meeting was postponed until later on September 14 and then postponed indefinitely.

Tuesday, September 15: Senator Pileggi notes he is “more optimistic” about the budget in comparison to September 14. The Associated Press reported that “most legislators” had not been briefed on the deal. A spokesman for Governor Rendell reported that the Governor might be moving closer to a deal.

Wednesday, September 16: The Conference Committee is scheduled to meet today. The members of this Committee include Senators Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware), Jake Corman (R-Centre) and Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), and Representatives Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia), Todd Eachus (D-Luzerne), and Sam Smith (R-Jefferson).


Budget Update: Philadelphia

On Friday, the House voted on an amended version of a bill that would allow Philadelphia to increase the sales tax and delay payments to city's pension fund. The House amended the Senate bill in regards to the provision allowing the Pennsylvania Employee Retirement Commission to take over pensions accounts that are underfunded. The House amendment allows municipalities with underfunded pension systems to delay their "minimum municipal obligation" payments to the systems for two years, to ease their budget problems.

The bill now heads back to the Senate where they will have to vote on the amended version.


Action Alerts

Budget Rallies Throughout the State

Individuals and organizations are coming together throughout Pennsylvania to remind legislators of the need to quickly pass a responsible budget that fully funds essential programs. If you are interested in taking part or attending any of these rallies, please visit the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s website.


Local Impact of Working Without a State Budget

While the “stop-gap” budget has allowed state workers and some services to be paid, many other departments, organizations, and agencies are still without any funding. Below are some local examples of how the delay and some of the budget proposals truly impact different parts of the state.
  • A client of PathWays PA is working with our staff to get emergency assistance for her energy bill. She runs a child care center out of her home but because of the budget crisis, she is not being paid what she is owed by the state. Without the funding, she has fallen behind on her energy bill payments. While her service was scheduled to be shut off last Wednesday, our staff was able to provide her with assistance and able to extend her shut off notice.
  • Northampton Community College made cuts to their adult literacy program. Due to uncertainty over state money, the college has laid off 13 full and 11 part-time employees, most of them in adult literacy programs.
  • School are owed millions of dollars from the state, and without that funding many districts are examining borrowing options while others are considering deeper cuts and potential closures.
  • Due to the budget impasse, some counties are cutting para-transit transportation to doctor’s and other non-emergency appointments previously provided for those with disabilities. For one para-transit provider in York and Adams counties, 300 to 500 people will be affected by this cut daily.
  • School districts are awaiting word of how much their funding may be cut. For many schools, programs that may have their funding cut are already in place for the current school year. A final budget may mean difficult decisions effecting children and families.

Help Save Adult Literacy!

The latest figure proposed for adult literacy is $17,187,000. This number represents a 25.7 percent reduction in funding from last year.
This cut in funding will eliminate classes and programs in all of our communities. Please contact your legislator and ask them increase this line item as they negotiate final revenue and expense line items.

Contact your legislators today!


Rework Career Fair

While the budget is ongoing, many in Pennsylvania are struggling to find jobs that pay a self-sufficient wage. This year at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, is sponsoring a Rework Career Fair.

WHEN: September 17 2:30-5:30
WHERE: Pennsylvania Convention Center Exhibit Hall

This event is free to the public. At it, you will find the tools and training necessary to strengthen skill sets, land promotions and secure higher salaries.

Below is a schedule of some of the Career Fair events:

3:00 — 3 Steps to a Powerful Lasting Impression
3:20 — Secrets of a Hiring Manger
3:40 — Negotiating from Strength – Communication Skills for Better Business
4:00 — Pro-Networking™: How to be Proactive, Productive and Profitable

There will also be an opportunity for individuals to have their resumes critiqued and some may be paired with a mentor. Registered Conference attendees may sign up for a 20-minute mentoring session beginning at 7:30 am in the Exhibit Hall Lounge. There are a limited number of slots, so register early!

The Career Fair will also feature local and national employers and recruiters with current employment opportunities in Pennsylvania. See a list of Career Fair exhibitors. For information on exhibiting at the ReWork Career Fair, please email Conference@womenforhire.com or call 212-290-2600.

To see a full Conference agenda please click here.

To register for the Conference you can visit the Registration page.