Monday, October 18, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: October 18, 2010

PathWays PA Special Announcements


PathWays PA presents the First Annual Network for Strategic Asset Building (NSAB) Symposium on Financial Education & Asset Building in the Workplace


How can you help your employees build assets to boost their financial stability during these challenging times?

PathWays PA presents the First Annual Network for Strategic Asset Building (NSAB) Symposium on Financial Education & Asset Building in the Workplace on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010.

This free symposium will be held in two locations. Attend the symposium at the location/time that is most convenient for you! Please click on the location below to register for the event:
This unique Symposium will offer free or low-cost strategies employers can implement to boost the financial stability of their employees and their families. National and local experts will share new and proven tools for building financial knowledge and assets. Implementing these strategies in the workplace can increase worker productivity, decrease absenteeism, and improve worker retention and loyalty. Connecting employees with financial education and asset development tools and services builds employee goodwill and morale – so important during these challenging times.

PathWays PA offers free onsite tax preparation through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which can play a key role in building financial stability for individuals and families, even when employers cannot offer wage increases. During tax season, PathWays PA’s IRS-trained and certified volunteers prepare taxes at sites throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. PathWays PA’s free tax service helps filers apply for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refunds, Childcare tax credits and any other applicable credits, and also offers valuable asset building services that will be discussed in the Symposium … all absolutely free!

All employers hosting PathWays PA VITA mobile sites are encouraged to attend , as well as employers who may be interested in offering free tax preparation services for their workers . For additional information, please call Ann DelCollo at 610-543-5022 x221 or email adelcollo@pathwayspa.org.

Join us in November for our PathWays to the Stars 32nd Anniversary Celebration Sports-tacular!

PathWays PA will celebrate 32 years of services to low-income women, children and families this year by hosting the PathWays to the Stars 32nd Anniversary Celebration Sports-tacular.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 9, 2010, 6:30 – 9:00PM
WHERE: Radisson King of Prussia’s Waterford Ballroom.

The silent auction will feature Phillies, Flyers, Eagles and Sixers tickets and memorabilia. Also, as part of the festivities, we will present this year's Trailblazer Awards to five inspiring individuals. To read about the 2010 Trailblazer Honorees, click here.

To bid on silent auction items, click here.

Tickets to the event are $50 and may be purchased online. Further information on corporate and individual sponsorships can be found here.

State

Urge Your Representative to Support Industry Partnership Legislation

The House Labor Relations Committee hopes to move quickly on Senate Bill 1409, which would amend Pennsylvania's Workforce Development Act to codify the Industry Partnerships program, following the passage of the IP bill in the Senate last week.

Industry Partnerships consist of groups of businesses with similar product markets and skill needs that identify and address their common workforce education and training issues. These partnerships currently include more than 6,300 employers in Pennsylvania and have trained more than 73,000 individuals. Industry Partnerships are unique in that they are employer-driven. They train workers for jobs that the industry needs, as opposed to traditional training that often trained for jobs that didn't exist.

The Industry Partnerships Program was created by the 2005-06 fiscal year state budget, however, the program is not currently provided for in state law. Passage of Industry Partnership legislation is vital to ensuring that this nationally recognized program continues to keep our businesses and workers competitive in the global marketplace.

Please contact your Representative today and urge them to pass this important piece of legislation.

Talks to Implement a Tax on the Marcellus Shale Continue

The Senate has finished their scheduled session days without passing legislation to institute a severance tax on gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale. Despite the Senate having no more scheduled session days before the end of the session year (November 30), leaders have agreed to meet this week if a compromise can be reached.

The severance tax is necessary to make up for the reduced FMAP allocation and has already been included in this year's state budget. Without it, Pennsylvanians can expect at least $70 million in cuts this year in addition to the cuts that have already been made. In the future, the severance tax will play a major role in state budgets - if industry production estimates are accurate, the severance tax could be the 4th largest state revenue source.

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has put together charts to show the difference between the House and Senate proposals and a potential compromise.

Please urge your Senator to establish a responsible severance tax on gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale.

Raising Women's Voices Recommendations for the Next Governor 

The women and girls of Pennsylvania need leadership for comprehensive, quality, affordable and accessible reproductive health care services. Maintaining the health of women leads to healthy families and a healthy Commonwealth.

Raising Women’s Voices of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a coalition formed to ensure women’s concerns were address during the health care debate, has just released recommendations for the next Governor of Pennsylvania. The recommendations highlight the reproductive health areas in which women, girls, and families in our Commonwealth need leadership and support on in order to lead healthy lives. You can check out these important recommendations on Raising Women's Voices of Southeastern PA's new Facebook page!

Information/Events

PathWays PA Offers English Language/Civics Courses

PathWays PA is offering a course meant for those interested in learning and improving their English while also covering:
  • United States History
  • Work Skills
  • Citizenship Process
  • Employment
  • Math
  • Reading
Classes will be held at the PathWays PA office at 310 Amosland Road, Holmes PA. They will be in the morning from 9:30-12:00 either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursdays.

For more information about the class, please contact Kelly Binder at 610-543-5022 X 227 or kbinder@pathwayspa.org.

PHAN’s Health Care Policy Call Series Continues

The Pennsylvania Health Access Network continues to hold phone calls to discuss health care reform. The calls allow participants to get detailed information about specific pieces of the new law. So what's interesting to you? Check out the list below and sign up for one of these calls - or all of them.


And don't worry, their special guests know that there are experts joining the call and people that barely know the basic elements of reform. They'll start at the beginning and then get into the detailed, good stuff.

Unless otherwise noted, all calls are Tuesday nights from 6:00 - 7:00 PM with a question and answer period included. Sign up by emailing Athena at aford@pahealthaccess.org.

10/19 Transparency Provisions in the New Law w. Kelly Hall, Senior Advisor on Health Care Policy to Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-13).

10/26 Disability Issues and the New Law. Learn about this important topic from David Gates, who is both the Director of Policy and a Senior Attorney for the Pennsylvania Health Law Project.

10/28 Faith and Health Care Reform - Special day and time 2:00 PM. There will be a discussion on how to talk about the new health care law to religious organizations. Join the Director of the Lutheran Area Ministry in Pennsylvania, Amy Reumann, and learn from faith leaders for across the state!

11/09 Special Call with Joanne Grossi, Regional Director of Health and Human Services.

Winter is Coming – Do You or Clients Need Help with Heating Bills?

Below is information about two federal programs that might be able to help individuals struggling to pay their utility bills:

Crisis Grant

Crisis is a federal grant designed to help pay for heating costs in a heating emergency, when service is shut off or threatened to be shut off. The Crisis Exception Program will open on Monday, November 1, 2010, for customers whose gas service is off. The Regular Crisis Program will open Monday, January 3, 2011, for customers whose service is off and for those who have a termination notice.

Crisis grants help households who have an emergency and are in immediate danger of being without heat. Emergency situations include:
  • A fuel shortage that may leave you without heat
  • Having utility service shut off
  • Having broken heating equipment (like a furnace) or leaking lines
The maximum amount available for a Crisis grant is $400.00. Eligibility information and the application for the program can both be found online. To hear additional, pre-recorded information and updates to the Crisis program, please call the PGW LIHEAP Hotline at (215) 684-6100.

Utility Emergency Services Fund (UESF)

UESF grants are available to income-eligible customers whose service has been terminated and to those who have received a shut off notice, to help them pay off the balance of their bill. The maximum grant amount is $1,500.00 and customers can apply for grants at designated intake sites.

UESF will assist with a gas, water or electric bill in shut off status or already terminated and that does not exceed $500 for water, electric or gas. All grants must be applied to utility account and reach a zero balance. If the bill is in excess of the grant, the application is responsible for the balance.
  • Applicant must be a Philadelphia resident.
  • Must have notice of termination or be off service for PECO, PGW or PWD
  • Applicant must not have received a UESF grant in the past two years.
  • Applicant must have applied for LIHEAP Cash and Crisis assistance programs when available.
  • Applicant must meet income eligibility requirements.
To hear additional, pre-recorded information, please call the PGW LIHEAP Hotline at (215) 684-6100 or visit the UESF website.

Confused About Tax Credits? Find Out More Information

Millions of families are missing out on money – potentially a lot of it – every tax season because they don’t even know to ask for the tax credits they are eligible for. And it’s not about only a few dollars; for some, it’s about potentially thousands of dollars.

The National Women’s Law Center is offering two free online trainings to give both families and organizations the information and tools needed.

Tax Credits: What Working Families Need to Know, takes place on Thursday, October 21st from 1-2pm and will provide the facts about how federal and state tax credits can give working families a leg up, and get access to resources that will help to get that information in the hands of families in your community.

Tax Credits Outreach: Tips and Tools for Service Providers and Advocates, takes place on Wednesday, November 10th from 1-2pm. It will discuss simple outreach activities that can make a major impact for working families. This webinar will help participants get free outreach materials, connect with local coalitions, find free tax preparation services in the community, and learn some successful techniques for spreading the word about tax credits.

The Webinars are free but registration is required.


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