Monday, July 26, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: July 26, 2010

Federal

Direct Care Workforce Empowerment Act

On July 28, the Direct Care Workforce Empowerment Act, a bill that will help create a more stable, valued direct care workforce and increase the quality of care for millions of Americans, will be introduced.
This legislation will bring a solution to some of the most pressing issues facing the direct care workforce by:
  • extending wage and overtime protections to home care workers
  • improving data collection and workforce monitoring; and
  • providing grants to states to improve direct care workforce recruitment and retention.
Please contact your Representative and ask that they become an original cosponsor of this exciting new bill today. Learn more about the Direct Care Workforce Empowerment Act at Direct Care Alliance, Inc's website.

Unemployment Benefits Extension Passes

Last week, Congress passed a bill that restores unemployment benefits to 2.5 million jobless Americans that have been out of work for more than 6 months. The bill extends the deadline to file for unemployment benefits until the end of November.

Federal unemployment payments, which last up to 73 weeks, begin after the state-funded 26 weeks of coverage expire. Federal benefits are divided into tiers, and individuals receiving benefits must apply each time they move into a new tier.

Many without jobs stopped receiving unemployment benefits in June. The benefits will be retroactive but it may take states up to a month to start sending checks again.

Act Now: Pennsylvania Could See an $850 Million Hole in the Recently Passed State Budget

While the state budget has been passed and signed, there is unfortunately still work to do as the budget includes $850 million in federal funding that Congress has yet to approve. Without the funding, layoffs at all levels of government, as well as teachers and emergency workers, and additional cuts to programs are likely.

This funding would come from the extension of the federal percentage of matching funds for state Medicaid expenditures, known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP). The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 enhanced the FMAP contribution for states through December 2010. Legislation now before Congress would extend the enhanced FMAP funding to states through June 2011, but the bill has stalled.
If Congress fails to approve the FMAP funding, the Governor and legislators will have to find another way to balance the budget, which will likely require cuts in funding for critical human services.

If you believe this funding is important, please contact your federal legislators today and urge them to extend FMAP. Below is a sample message. Please feel free to add your own stories and thoughts about why this funding is so important.

Dear

As a member of your district, I am writing today to urgently ask you to continue the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for states in the coming year. Pennsylvania recently passed a state budget that included $850 million in FMAP funding that has not yet been passed by Congress. With the additional funding, the General Assembly was able to limit the cuts that were made to programs that truly help Pennsylvanians during this particularly difficult time, such as adult literacy and education, job training, child care, health care, and other supports vital to success in this economy.

Please continue to support workers, families, and children by passing the FMAP extension and ensuring critical programs are available for Pennsylvanians.

 Information/Events

adultBasic Still In Danger

adultBasic is an affordable health care option for adults who have recently lost health coverage and meet certain income guidelines. Participants pay $36 a month and co-pays ranging from $10 to $50 for doctor and hospital visits. In Pennsylvania, more than 40,000 are receiving the full benefits of the program, while the waitlist stands at over 380,000.

This program will end on December 31,2010, when a law requiring financial support from insurance providers will expire.

Help save adultBasic by signing a petition or send a letter to the editor.

Have an Idea for the Older American’s Act? Add it to The Exchange.

The National Council on Aging has developed a Web site called The Exchange and is inviting everyone in the aging field to post ideas to help shape the next Older Americans Act, due for reauthorization in 2011.

Congress passed the Older Americans Act in 1965. The Act established the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) and a network of state and local agencies dedicated to providing services to America's older population. The mission of the OAA is to help older adults age in their own homes and communities. The OAA funds critical services that keep older adults healthy, independent, and engaged. The services include meals, job training, senior centers, transportation, health promotion, and more.

The Exchange provides an opportunity to make your voice heard, and to share your innovative ideas on a national stage. Please go to The Exchange and post an idea, and/or comment and vote on the existing ideas.

Voter Registration and Train the Trainer Trainings

The Pennsylvania General Election will take place November 2nd 2010. The deadline for voter registration is October 4th.

Vote for Homes! is a nonpartisan coalition registering thousands of people who are living on low incomes, including those who are homeless, living with disabilities, or ex-offenders. They are excited to announce their Train the Trainer and Voter Registration Trainings.

Train the Trainer Session - 1515 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia PA

Thursday, August 19, 1-4 pm
  • Learn how to conduct Voter Registration trainings with your organization
  • Practice group facilitation skills
Voter Registration Trainings, 1515 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia PA

Monday, August 23, 5:30-7:30 pm
Sunday, September 12, 3-5 pm
Thursday, September 16, 4-6 pm
  • Learn about voting rights for people who are homeless, living with disabilities, or ex-offenders
  • Learn how to register voters  
If you would like to attend either event, please RSVP to Jennine Miller (215-232-7272 x3042, jenninemiller@projecthome.org) or Anna Murphey (215-232-7272 x3106, annamurphey@projecthome.org). Feel free to call if you need help with transportation.

Ask a Working Woman Survey 2010

Working women know the importance of a good job in a just economy, one where their pay keeps up with prices.

Working American and the AFL-CIO have put together a short survey that asks questions about the work place and work environment. This survey is a chance for working women to be heard and an opportunity to tell decision-makers about the challenges they face and their hopes for the future. Please take the time to complete this short survey.

Health Care Reform and Maternal and Child Health

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act positively impacts maternal and child health in a number of ways.

Key provisions of health care reform include: adequate time for working women to express breast milk, funds for teen pregnancy prevention, home visiting programs, post-partum depression services, competitive grants for states to assist pregnant and parenting teens, and continuity of coverage and preventive benefits to promote preconception and inter-conception care.

Maternity Care Coalition has put together a chart to show what some of the benefits are and when they go into effect.

PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

PathWays PA Offers Expedited Career Path to First Responders and EMT

PathWays PA is offering eligible job seekers free education and training to achieve certification as a First Responder followed by Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification.

Successful candidates will have:
  • Achieved qualifying scores on WorkKeys® Assessment
  • Clean criminal background check
  • No back problems or physical restrictions
  • The ability to lift 125 pounds 33 inches off the ground and carry for 10 feet
  • Willingness to working with and touch all people
  • A valid drivers license (or the ability to obtain one during training)
  • Ability to pay attention to detail and flexibility to change course as circumstances warrant
  • Willingness to work different shifts and weekends
If the above qualifications are met, then an individual may be eligible for the training, which includes:
  • 6 weeks of Math/English Skills building classes
  • CPR Training and Certification
  • 50 hours of First Responder Training
  •  77 hours of EMT training over 7 weeks
  • Career coaching support 

Please feel free to share this information with your clients and networks.  For more information please call 610-543-5022 and ask for  Jennifer Oglesbee at extension 256 or joglesbee@pathwayspa.org or Barbara Lewis at extension 228 or blewis@pathwayspa.org

Self Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania 2010-2011

PathWays PA is proud to announce that we released the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania 2010-2011.  The Standard measures how much income a family of a certain composition in a given place must earn to meet their basic needs without public or private assistance.
Some ways the Standard can be and has been used include:
  • Funding - When applying for funding, the Standard promotes a new way to measure need and success
  • Eligibility - When creating or evaluating programs, using the Standard as an eligibility limit opens the programs to new populations
  • Reference - When discussing financial needs with board members, staff, or clients, the Standard establishes a new measure of reference
If you would like to receive a copy or have any questions about the Standard please contact policy@pathwayspa.org or call 215-543-5022 X255.

Online Training and Benefits Eligibility Tool

The Online Training and Benefits Eligibility Tool (OTBET) is an online tool that allows staff and clients to determine their personal Self-Sufficiency Standard and benefits eligibility for their own families. 
This is an easy to use tool that determines eligibility for multiple programs including LIHEAP, food stamps (SNAP), child care assistance, and CHIP.  Once eligibility is determined, link are provided to connect staff or client to COMPASS and other programs that clients may find useful. 

PathWays PA Resource Library Blog

The VISTA members at PathWays PA have developed a Resource Library Blog in order to facilitate the sharing of resources online.  The Resource Library is a compilation of financial education and asset development resources, public benefits information and career tools for agency staff and community members.

The blog covers topics including:
If you come across a good resource that you think should be a part of the blog, you may send an email to pathways.pa.vistas@gmail.com.  Be sure to reference the resource library in the subject line. 

We encourage you to use this resource to your benefit, and welcome any feedback regarding topics you would like to see addressed in the blog.

1 comment:

  1. I truly enjoy getting this PathWays PA E-Newsletter....keep 'em coming.
    Thanks
    Dr. Robert G. Garraty
    Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development
    PA Department of Labor & Industry

    ReplyDelete