Wednesday, June 30, 2010

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - June 30, 2010

State Budget – Budget Due Today

The Agreement

A budget deal between the four legislative caucuses and Governor Rendell was reached yesterday.

The agreed-to spending plan, which must still find approval from rank-and-file members in the House and Senate, would spend about $28.05 billion, nearly $1 billion less than the Governor’s original request for a $29 billion budget. If enacted, the new budget would spend about six-tenths of one percent more than the current fiscal year, which allocated about $27.9 billion.

While the agreement was reach, there are still potential hurdles. In particular, the budget assumes $850 million in extended FMAP funding from the federal government, which has yet to be approved. The Governor indicated that if FMAP money is not forthcoming, the state layoffs needed to offset that deficit would be devastating. Also, groups receiving funding should understand that if FMAP does not come through, there will have to be cuts made to many programs and human services.

The plan also calls for implementation of a natural gas severance tax (the details of which have yet to be worked out) by October 1st, and does not include any new or increased taxes on tobacco products, elimination of the Vendor Sales Tax Rebate, and would reject the adoption of combined reporting in Pennsylvania.

The Cuts

Thank you to our friends at Capitol Ideas for providing a complete list of budget line items. Below are just some of the cuts to programs and services:

  • Women’s Commission received a cut of $15,000
  • Pre-K Counts received a cut of $1,172,000
  • Adult and Family Literacy received a cut of $2,800,000
  • New Choices/New Options received a cut of $300,000
  • County Child Welfare received a cut of $2,767,000
  • Child Care Assistance received a cut of $1,094,000
  • Industry Partnerships received a cut of $355,000
  • Legal Services received a cut of $25,000

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and others have reported that the final budget also includes the following cuts:
  • 7.5 percent cut ($15.3 million) to Executive Offices
  • 11.7 percent cut ($7.9 million) to agriculture programs
  • 10 percent cut ($9.2 million) to the Department of Labor and Industry
  • 9.2 percent cut ($14.6 million) to the Department of Environmental Protection
  • 11 percent cut ($10.2 million) to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
  • 9.1 percent cut ($5.5 million) to library funding

The Potential Timeline

Today, members of the House will be in caucus this morning where it is assumed that they will discuss the line items in the budget.

Also this morning, the Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to meet. They will either amend the general fund bill that passed the House in March or move it to the floor to be amended there. Generally, the Senate has a six-hour rule on amended bills, which would have to be waived in order for this bill to be voted on today.

If the bill passes out of the Senate it will then go to the floor of the House to be voted on. In order for the House to vote on the bill today, they would also have to waive a rule that requires a 24-hour waiting period on bills that come from the Senate. If all the above happens and the House passes the bill then it would go to the Governor for his signature tonight. If signed it would be the first on-time budget for Pennsylvania in eight years.

Action Alerts

There is Still Time to Contact Your Legislators

While an agreement may have been reached, it is still important to reach out to legislators to let them know what programs are crucial and cannot see anymore cuts.

Please contact your legislators and urge them to continue to remember the needs of all families in this budget, especially around needs of the workforce and child welfare.

Rally Against Budget Cuts

Even if a budget passes today, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition is holding a rally against budget cuts.

WHEN: Thursday July 1, Noon
WHERE: Philadelphia City Hall, Dilworth Plaza (15th Street Side)

The Vote for Homes! Coalition is marching to the rally. If you would like to join in the march, meet the Coalition at Broad Street and Fairmount Avenue at 11:00. For more information, contact Jennine Miller at 215-232-7272 or jmiller@projecthome.org.

To RSVP for the rally, contact Kate Atkins at (215) 563-5848 x 16 or sepabudget@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Proposed 2010-2011 State Budget Line Items

Thanks to @Capitol_Ideas for sending out the budget line items! Selected items are below:

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and others have reported that the final budget includes the following cuts:
  • 7.5 percent cut ($15.3 million) to Executive Offices
  • 11.7 percent cut ($7.9 million) to agriculture programs
  • 10 percent cut ($9.2 million) to the Department of Labor and Industry
  • 9.2 percent cut ($14.6 million) to the Department of Environmental Protection
  • 11 percent cut ($10.2 million) to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
  • 9.1 percent cut ($5.5 million) to library funding

More on the Proposed 2010-2011 Budget

(You can also view selected line items on our blog or an updated spreadsheet of line items as a PDF. The updated spreadsheet includes differences between the 2009-2010 budget and the 2010-2011 budget.)

A budget deal between the four legislative caucuses and Governor Rendell was reached Tuesday.

The agreed-to spending plan, which must still find approval from rank-and-file members in the House and Senate, would spend about $28.05 billion, nearly $1 billion less than the Governor’s original request for a $29 billion budget. If enacted, the new budget would spend about six-tenths of one percent more than the current fiscal year, which allocated about $27.9 billion.

As reported by PLS, Governor Rendell said there are still “potential storm clouds” that could affect the agreement. In particular, the budget assumes $850 million in extended FMAP funding from the federal government which has yet to be approved. The Governor indicated that if FMAP money is not forthcoming, the state layoffs needed to offset that deficit would be devastating. The Governor also agreed with a statement yesterday from Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) that groups receiving funding should understand that if FMAP does not come through, there will have to be cuts made to many programs and human services.

The plan also calls for implementation of a natural gas severance tax (the details of which have yet to be worked out) by October 1st, and does not include any new or increased taxes on tobacco products, elimination of the Vendor Sales Tax Rebate, and would reject the adoption of combined reporting in Pennsylvania.

Senator Pileggi said Senators would amend the bill before sending it to the House, where members could concur with it. Because Wednesday is the June 30 budget deadline, House members would likely have to suspend the 24 hour rule to consider the bill if they want an on-time budget.

Tentative Budget Deal on the Eve of the Budget Deadline

With the budget deadline tomorrow, legislators and the Governor have been meeting around the clock. There appears to be a tentative agreement on a $28.05 billion budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

It has been reported that the deal includes a $250 million increase in funding for basic education and a severance tax on natural gas extraction, to go into effect in January of 2011. While this agreement includes a 1 percent increase in spending from the current budget there has been indication that it also includes cuts of 3 percent to 10 percent for some programs and services. Additionally the plan relies on $850 million in extended FMAP funding that has yet to pass Congress.

While a tentative agreement may have been reached, it is still important to reach out to legislators to let them know what programs are crucial and cannot see anymore cuts. Please contact your legislators and urge them to continue to remember the needs of all families in this budget, especially around needs of the workforce and child welfare.

Summer Meals Directory Published

Each summer tens of thousands of Philadelphia children go without the school breakfasts and lunches they rely on. To ensure that children do not go hungry, free meals or snacks will be available to low-income children at more than a thousand recreation centers, churches, schools, parks, and community centers through out Philadelphia.

The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger has published a directory of programs offering free meals for children in Philadelphia this summer. To find a summer meals program you can:

With more than 1,000 sites providing free summer meals in Philadelphia, no child should go hungry this summer.

Delaware County Times Letters: Adults need education, too

To the Times:

As this year’s 2010 Governor’s Conference on Higher Education is held in Lancaster, it is important to remember that recent high school graduates are not the only group in need of higher education.

Since two-thirds of the 2020 work force has already exited high school, the needs of adult students must be considered as well. We urge state and local governments, school districts and community colleges to explore how best to work with adult students so they can earn the wages and education they need.

As we note in our new report, “Pennsylvania’s Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges,” affordable educational opportunities through community colleges and work force development agencies must continue to be made affordable and accessible to workers across Pennsylvania.

Many local work-force investment boards are looking at ways to extend new educational opportunities to workers and the unemployed by increasing the eligibility limits for services, while community colleges are also finding new ways of serving students. With collaboration from state and local government as well as recognition of the programs that are working best in Pennsylvania, there are many opportunities for workforce success.

Those who are interested in learning more about “Pennsylvania’s Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges” can find it on our website, www.pathwayspa.org.

CAROL GOERTZEL
President/CEO,
Pathways PA

Monday, June 28, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: June 28, 2010

The Time for Paid Sick Days Is Now: Survey Shows Overwhelming Public Support for a Paid Sick Days Workplace Standard

A new survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and commissioned by the Public Welfare Foundation demonstrates that lack of access to paid sick days has significant negative consequences for public health, health care costs, and families’ financial security. The survey also shows that overwhelming majorities support paid sick days laws as a matter of basic labor policy.

The survey results could not be clearer: It is time for policymakers to guarantee access to paid sick days to the over 40 million U.S. workers who currently lack them. Workers should not have to risk their jobs to care for their families and should not have to risk their own-well-being—and the public’s health—to do their jobs.

If you believe paid sick days is an important issue, please contact your federal, state, and (if in Philadelphia) local legislators and urge them to act on legislation that would afford workers the right to earn this basic labor standard. To learn more about this issue please visit the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Blog.


Federal

Support the Local Jobs for America Act

The Senate’s introduction of the Local Jobs for America Act is a major step forward towards winning a direct job creation program that will make a real impact on our communities.

This legislation would provide critical funding to states, local governments, and community-based organizations to save and create one million jobs in communities around the country. It provides $75 billion over two years for states and localities to use to create new jobs that meet crucial community needs and to retain existing workers. This funding would save or create 750,000 jobs. The Local Jobs for America Act also provides $23 billion for education jobs, funding to hire police and firefighters, and funding for on-the-job training programs.

Please sign your organization onto this letter, and share it with other organizations in your state that might be willing to sign on. If you would like to sign onto the letter lease contact Jesse Poon at jpoon@communitychange.org.

The deadline for signing on is today, Monday, June 28.


State

Support Industry Partnerships

On Wednesday, June 30, the Industry Partnership bill (which passed unanimously in the House) will have a hearing in Harrisburg. Please take a moment to call your Senators TODAY and ask them to support the bill, especially if they are on the Senate Labor and Industry Committee.

The Industry Partnership bill amends the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Act to make Industry Partnerships a permanent part of Pennsylvania’s workforce development system. It will require the Department of Labor and Industry to continue defining targeted industries and High Priority Occupations and to administer a grant program when funds are made available.

Below is a possible script you can use when calling legislators:

Script: Hello, my name is ______, and I am (your job title and business/organization- e.g. Human Resources Manager at Important Corp./Administrator at Terrific Nonprofit). I live/work in the Senator’s district, and I am calling to ask Senator (name) to vote for the Industry Partnerships bill in the Senate Labor and Industry Committee. (If you are a member of an IP, please let the legislative staffer know.)


You can also add: The Industry Partnerships program is important because....


If your legislator is not on the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, you can call and ask him or her to cosponsor the bill and to vote for it when it comes up before the Senate.


Script: Hello, my name is ______, and I am (your job title and business/organization- e.g. Human Resources Manager at Important Corp./Administrator at Terrific Nonprofit). I live/work in the Senator’s district, and I am calling to ask Senator (name) to cosponsor the Industry Partnerships bill. (If you are a member of an IP, please let the legislative staffer know.)


You can also add: The Industry Partnerships program is important to my business/organization because....

Please email us at policy@pathwayspa.org to let us know what legislators you were able to contact

Help Assure the Adoption of a Budget that Supports Victims of Abuse and Strengthens Families

During the recession, the federal government gave states additional money to pay for their Medicaid expenses through the Federal Medicaid Matching Assistance Program (FMAP). This additional money is set to expire at the end of this year. Without an extension, Pennsylvania will be facing an additional $850 million hole in the budget.

As of yet Congress has not passed an extension and without the additional funding Pennsylvania is likely to face additional budget cuts. For example, some cuts that have been proposed include a 25 percent reduction in child welfare services, 50 percent reduction in domestic and sexual violence services as well as elimination of drug and alcohol and homeless services.

The Protect Our Children Committee (POCC) is dedicated to preventing child abuse and the victimization of children. POCC has put together a letter to members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate urging them to ensure that the state budget being negotiated seeks to minimize the ripple effect – human and economic – resulting from the failed effort on FMAP. Central to this strategy will be a balanced approach to the state budget – an approach that seeks to offset the FMAP loss and resulting public/private sector job losses with the need to consider ways to raise revenue.

Please review the letter and if you agree that the General Assembly needs to take a balanced approach to the budget sign onto the letter by 5:00 today, Monday, June 28.

Information/Events

Building on Pennsylvania: A Statewide Summit on Regional Opportunity 

Pennsylvania’s manufacturing towns and older, suburban communities were once thriving, diverse, and attractive places. Our aging communities are now experiencing crumbling infrastructure, abandoned Main Streets, loss of jobs, struggling schools, and excessive tax burdens, while newer communities are at risk for unbalanced growth.

Building One Pennsylvania: A Statewide Summit on Regional Opportunity will give visibility to the common challenges faced by our communities and will launch an organizing structure for advancing the state and federal policy agenda that will revitalize and strengthen Pennsylvania. The summit will feature national experts on regional equity, land use, and municipal and school governance, as well as testimony from local community leaders.

WHEN: Friday, July 16, 2010, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (doors open at 9:00 a.m.)
WHERE: Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, 750 E. King Street, Lancaster, PA
FEE: $15 (includes lunch)

Invited guests include Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial candidates, U.S. Senate candidates, and members of the federal administration.

Register now to save your space. More than 500 community leaders are expected to attend the day-long summit. Organizations convening the summit include 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, Good Schools Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Council of Churches, Southeastern Pennsylvania First Suburbs Project, YorkCounts and a number of municipal governments and community leaders.

For more information please e-mail buildingonepa@gmail.com or call (866) 720-4086.

Rally Against Budget Cuts

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition is holding a rally against budget cuts.

WHEN: Thursday July 1, Noon
WHERE: Philadelphia City Hall, Dilworth Plaza (15th Street Side)

The Vote for Homes! Coalition is marching to the rally. If you would like to join in the march, meet the Coalition at Broad Street and Fairmount Avenue at 11:00. For more information, contact Jennine Miller at 215-232-7272 or jmiller@projecthome.org.

To RSVP for the rally, contact Kate Atkins at (215) 563-5848 x 16 or sepabudget@gmail.com.

Health Care Reform Implementation: How to Get Involved in YOUR State!

Want to help ensure that the promise of health reform is achieved? Want some strategic ideas about how to get involved in your state? Want to ensure that the voices of women and women's health advocates are heard? Have questions and ideas about health care reform implementation?

If so, please join the next Raising Women’s Voices conference call.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 1:00pm – 2:15pm EST

On this call Raising Women’s Voices will discuss strategies for state-based health reform advocates to become active in health care reform implementation. You will hear from a panel of women's health advocates from different states around the country who have begun this work and will share their experiences with you.

We look forward to this important conversation and to your participation. Please email info@raisingwomensvoices.net to RSVP and receive the call in information.

New Health and Human Resources Guide Available

An updated version of the state's Health and Human Services Resource Guide is now online at DPW's home page, www.dpw.state.pa.us.

The guide summarizes information about available services and resources for all Pennsylvanians and provides contact information for more than 100 state programs. Residents can find information about available services such as Medical Assistance, mental health services, addiction treatment, early learning options, Cash Assistance, immunization programs and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

The guide also includes information on how Pennsylvanians can apply for many of the services online via www.COMPASS.state.pa.us.


PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

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.

Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges

PathWays PA is proud to announce the release of a new paper that examines the impact that community colleges and other workforce development can have on the earnings of Pennsylvanians.

While many students enter college straight from high school, a growing number of students need access to higher education after they have already entered the workforce. Nationally, 2/3rds of the 2020 workforce has already graduated from high school, but they have not all gone on to higher education. Pennsylvania ranks 3rd highest in the country for the number of adults (age 18-64) whose formal education ended with a high school diploma or GED.

By 2014, 51 percent of all jobs in Pennsylvania will require some college, though not a four-year degree (also known as "middle skills" education). As of 2008, only 22 percent of Pennsylvanians age 25 and over fit into the middle skills category.


Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges examines the needs of adult workers in Pennsylvania and the part that community colleges can play in serving those needs.

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.

Take Action on Earned Sick Time

48 percent of workers in the United States have no access to earned sick time, which means that if they are sick (or if their family members are sick) they must choose between working sick or losing their pay (or their jobs). If you are one of the 48 percent who have no earned sick time - or one of the 52 percent who do - please take our survey and tell us more!

There are bills at the federal, state, and local level to support earned sick time for everyone - here is what you can do:
  • Support the Federal Healthy Families Act! Under The Healthy Families Act, workers would have the opportunity to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 7 days of sick time per year. This time could be used to care for workers or their families, or could be used as "safe days" in cases of domestic violence. Tell your legislators that we need paid sick days now!
  • Support the paid sick days campaign in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia! Become our friend! Show your support for earned sick time by visiting Facebook. You can support earned sick time in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia. Support both!
  • If you don't live in Pennsylvania, you can still support earned sick time. Visit The National Partnership for Women and Families website to learn more about campaigns in your area.
  • 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.

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 Kelly Binder at kbinder@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, June 25, 2010

Another Gender Gap: Paid Sick Days

Crossposted from the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces blog

Earlier this week, a new survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and commissioned by the Public Welfare Foundation was released. The survey demonstrates that the lack of access to paid sick days not only has significant negative consequences for public health, health care costs, and families’ financial security, but also that women disproportionately lack it as a benefit.

While 71 percent of men surveyed had paid sick days, only 57 percent of women reported having the same benefit. In recent months we have seen that, for the first time, women make up half of the workforce. Now, however, we see that just as there is a gender gap in wages, there appears to be one in sick time as well. The fields where a majority of the workers are women are unfortunately less likely to offer such benefits as paid sick days, while women are still more likely to be the primary care giver for a child or relative. Below are some statistics from the National Partnership for Women and Families that highlight this disparity:

  • Low-wage workers—the majority of whom are women—are less likely to have paid sick days. Two-thirds of low-income workers making $10.63 per hour or less don’t have access to paid sick time.
  • The industries that are often women-dominated are among the least likely to offer paid sick days. For example, nearly three-quarters of child care workers (72 percent) and food service workers (73 percent) lack access to paid sick time.
  • One in three working women report that they provide care for an elderly relative, for persons with disabilities or for special needs children.
  • Four in five mothers (80 percent) are primarily responsible for selecting their children’s doctors and accompanying children to appointments.
  • Half of working mothers miss work when their child gets sick. And of these mothers, half do not get paid when they take this time off. Among low-income working mothers, two in three report losing pay.

All workers, but especially working women, need a basic workplace standard of paid sick days to ensure that no one has to choose between supporting their families financially and caring for a sick child, an ailing family member or themselves.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Testimony on HB 2400 Regarding Unemployment Compensation

Testimony at Public Hearing Regarding Unemployment Compensation presented by Carol Goertzel, President/CEO of PathWays PA June 16, 2010.

Good morning members of Labor Relations Committee, and thank you for allowing us to testify today. My name is Carol Goertzel, and I am President and CEO of PathWays PA, an agency that has been committed to keeping families together and providing both advocacy and services to and on behalf of at-risk children, teens, women, and families for over thirty years. We work directly with over 6,000 individuals each year.

Based on our experiences, we know that families are struggling every day to make ends meet, and the struggle has only been getting harder during this recession. As state government works to keep up with demand, we are here today on behalf of HB 2400, which as you know was introduced by Representative Marc Gergely. We have worked closely with Representive Gergely on several issues and appreciate his, as well as this committee’s, hard work and support of working families.

We support HB 2400, which will modernize unemployment compensation in Pennsylvania and allow the state to qualify for federal funding, because we know firsthand what families need in order to be self-sufficient. PathWays PA is perhaps best known for publishing the Self-Sufficiency Standard of Pennsylvania. In the latest edition of the Standard, which was released on May 20, 2010, we show that a family of four needs to earn $43,918 in Northumberland County to make ends meet. In Allegheny County, that same family needs to earn $56,865, while in Lancaster County, that family needs to earn $54,821. Even before this recession, 1 in every 5 households in Pennsylvania was struggling to reach the Standard. Today, any loss of income, even in the short-term, can bring dire consequences to a family, as it could result in the loss of healthcare, electricity, heat, access to good food, and housing. While unemployment compensation does not bring a family back to their level of earnings while working, it does help prevent some of these losses for our families.

Under HB 2400, Pennsylvania would join with 38 other states that use an Alternative Base Period (ABP) to calculate unemployment benefits. While the federal government has extended unemployment benefits, without the ABP, some unemployed workers do not qualify for unemployment insurance because of the method by which benefits are calculated. Under the current model, the most recent earnings of a worker are disregarded. This method causes few delays for higher wage employees displaced from a long-term job. But the system hurts low-wage workers who experience short spells in several service sector jobs—a large and growing segment most in need of coverage. If someone works irregular hours, has just started a job, or has received a raise in the quarter before the layoff, their unemployment coverage will not accurately reflect their wages. Instituting an ABP, which allows earnings to be calculated from a different quarter in a worker’s earnings, would help alleviate this problem.

Other changes in this bill are vitally important to the success of Pennsylvania’s workers. One, which would allow individuals to receive unemployment while undergoing job training, will ensure that families can support themselves while they work to secure a better future. More than half the adult population (25 and over) in Pennsylvania has ended their school career with a high school diploma or GED. In 2008, Pennsylvania had the third highest percentage of 18 to 64 year olds with only a high school degree or a GED. Whether in a factory or in the healthcare field, this generation of workers needs at least some post-secondary education to earn a family-sustaining wage. In Pennsylvania today, half of all jobs (51 percent) require some postsecondary education or training (though not necessarily a bachelor’s degree), yet more than half of all Pennsylvanians lack the skills to perform them. This disconnect leaves too many adult Pennsylvanians competing for the 19 percent of jobs available to those with only a high school education. By providing access to training and unemployment compensation while the training occurs, a worker will be better prepared for the job market and less likely to need unemployment compensation or other public benefits in the future.

Of critical importance to Pennsylvania families is a provision in the bill which will provide unemployment compensation to individuals who leave work to address the effects of domestic violence. For many who are abused, their job is the only link they have to financial independence. Without a job, they become more reliant on their abusers, and in some cases must return to an abuser to put a roof over their heads. By providing unemployment compensation for survivors of domestic violence, workers who have been abused can focus on the immediate needs that they are facing while having some financial security.

HB 2400 will be beneficial to families across the state. We ask that you pass it as soon as possible, and we look forward to working with all of you on other important bills, such as Healthy Families, Healthy Workplaces, in the near future.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Young Parents Support Network

In collaboration with the Center Foundation, PathWays PA is actively recruiting clients for the Young Parents Support Network (YPSN). The YPSN is a program that provides mentoring services to young mothers and fathers, which eases the transition to self-sufficiency.

Clients enrolled in YPSN receive invaluable support from adult mentors along with financial education and career development training. Clients participate in workshops developed by PathWays PA, such as job readiness and financial awareness. “A career counselor helps a client find resources, such as school, training and classes which will allow them to obtain better paying jobs with benefits,” explains Tonya Diggs of PathWays PA. “Without counseling and guidance it becomes a terrible cycle of taking dead-end jobs without benefits and opportunities for upward mobility, which in turn leaves little room for one to become self-sufficient.”

The YPSN program also offers fun and informative family oriented activities for enrollees. Incentives and other prizes are available to clients who demonstrate hard work and success.

If you or someone you know can benefit from the Young Parents Support Network, contact Rachel at 610-565-6171.

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - June 23, 2010

State Budget – 7 Days Until Budget Deadline


The Governor is scheduled to meet with legislative leaders today to discuss a budget with no new revenue sources, only program cuts. The Governor has agreed to review a “cuts-only” proposal and identify which cuts he accepts and those he does not.

A major issue facing legislators is what the final spend number will be, which is unfortunately difficult to determine when the parties do not know how much money will be available to spend next year. It is estimated that the state has $27.5 billion to spend but that depends on whether Congress extended the FMAP program.  Without passage of FMAP, there will be an additional gap of $850 million for Pennsylvania. (See our Action Alert on extending FMAP below.)

Good News for PA: The Tax Amnesty Program Surpassed its Goal

For almost two months, the state has been urging individuals who are delinquent on their taxes to pay what they owe without penalty and only half the interest due. The state hoped to raise $190 million though this program. Earlier this week, the Commonwealth announced that the goal was not only reached but also surpassed it by $71 million. Most of the money raised will go directly to pay off some of the $1.5 billion deficit.

While this program was a good start, the state is still owed an estimated $2 billion in back taxes. Efforts to collect back taxes will continue.

Action Alerts

Urge Your Members of Congress to Extend FMAP

In order to avoid an even larger hole in the budget, Pennsylvania needs help from the federal governments. During the recession, the federal government gave states additional money to pay for their Medicaid expenses through the Federal Medicaid Matching Assistance Program (FMAP). This additional money is set to expire at the end of this year. Without an extension, Pennsylvania will be facing an additional $850 million hole in the budget.

Without these funds, the Governor has said Pennsylvania will:
  • Cut supplemental payments to hospitals that care for Medicaid and uninsured people by $93 million
  • Cut county child welfare by 25% and cut MH/MR services for a total of $350 million
  • Cut all state funded substance abuse and homeless services and other services to poor families by $91 million
  • Cut Medicaid payments to doctors and other providers by $86 million
  • Cut home and community based waiver services by 10%

If you believe that Pennsylvania is truly in need of this additional funding, please contact your members of Congress today and urge them to include a 6-month extension for enhanced federal Medicaid match rate (FMAP) in the final version of HR 4213.

DPW Health Care Spending Drives Local Economies

The Department of Public Welfare (DPW) recently sent out a budget alert that shows the impact of funding for Medical Assistance (MA) on Pennsylvania’s economy. For each $1 dollar of public funds invested, an additional $1.77 in economic activity is generated. This “ripple” effect in the local economy is created through the wages funded and the purchase of goods and services at local businesses.

The combined federal-state investment of $15.8 billion in MA for fiscal year 2008-09 created a total economic impact of more than $44 billion in annual economic activity in Pennsylvania.

In 11 counties, MA is responsible for more than $1 billion dollars of economic activity. Those counties include: Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Delaware, Erie, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Westmoreland.

MA is not the only DPW program that creates economic activity within the state. If you believe that legislators should take a balanced approach to the budget to ensure that DPW and other departments do not see severe cuts, please contact your legislators today.


Rally Against Budget Cuts

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition is holding a rally against budget cuts.

WHEN: Thursday July 1, Noon
WHERE: Philadelphia City Hall, Dilworth Plaza (15th Street Side)

The Vote for Homes! Coalition is marching to the rally. If you would like to join in the march, meet the Coalition at Broad Street and Fairmount Avenue at 11:00. For more information, contact Jennine Miller at 215-232-7272 or jmiller@projecthome.org.

To RSVP for the rally, contact Kate Atkins at (215) 563-5848 x 16 or sepabudget@gmail.com.


Other Important Programs and Action Steps:

While the state budget is very tight this year, it is crucial for legislators to hear from their constituents about programs that cannot and should not see more cuts this year. Even programs that are not undergoing large cuts need to be advocated for to ensure that changes are not made to their funding during the budget debates. Below we have highlighted just a few of those programs:

Adult Education and Family Literacy Programs: The greatest predictor of a child's future academic success is the literacy level of the child's mother. Adult education and family literacy programs are especially important during this recession to ensure that families have the opportunity to gain the education they need to become self-sufficient. If you or your clients have been impacted by the need for literacy, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.

State Supplemental Program: Help restore cuts to the State Supplemental Payments for Pennsylvania’s elderly, disabled, and blind. As a result of the 2009-2010 budget, the state supplement has now been cut each month by $5 for a single person and $10 for a couple. If you believe the payments are important, please contact your state legislators and urge them to find ways to restore this cut.


adultBasic: Over 350,000 people are on the waiting list for adultBasic. While those on the waiting list can pay full price for the program until they can access the program, but the cost to buy in has increased 80 percent. Meanwhile, coverage under the Governor’s 2010-2011 budget will not expand beyond 50,000 people. If you or your clients believe that when 12 percent of adults in Pennsylvania are without health care, programs that assist them are essential and need to be expanded, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.

Child Care Subsidy: The subsidy allows parents to afford to work by assisting them with the expense of child care. If you or your clients have been impacted by the need for child care, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

PathWays PA Job Postings - June 22, 2010

Residential Worker
Need caring and motivated individual to provide support and supervision for Delco group home serving women and children; HS/GED, Associates Degree and experience preferred; driver’s license required. Includes nights and weekends. Fax resumes to: LP/LD/CFF 610-328-2807.

Trauma-informed Therapists
PathWaysPA 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: BD/LD 610-328-2807

Live-in Advisor
To provide guidance, direction and supervision to older adolescent teen mothers and teen girls residing in our Supervised Independent Living Program including conducting some life and parenting skill groups. Live in a house with 3 to 4 girls and their children. Must be available during critical hours-5:00 PM to 8:00 AM- can work part-time during off hours. Must be mature and have an understanding of teen parent and teen girl issues and must have knowledge of basic life skills. Rent and utilities paid by agency plus small stipend and scheduled time off. Location: Phila; Compensation: Stipend. Fax resumes to LD/SIL at 610-328-2807.

ESL Instructor
Part Time – PathWays PA is currently seeking English as Second Language (ESL) instructors with BA/BS degree and 2 + years of teaching experience. Knowledge of ESL in healthcare field preferred. Must travel independently in Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, and Bucks Counties. Lesson-planning and attendance record-keeping, and assessments required. This is a part-time, hourly position. Bilingual a plus. Classes forming now, anticipate completion by the end of December. Fax resumes to LD/LK 610-328-2807.

Math Instructor
Part Time – PathWays PA in Delaware County is looking for a math instructor to work with adult workers preparing for skills building and college-level entrance exams. The applicant must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in math or education, and would be responsible for teaching class in different locations, potentially in Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, and Bucks Counties. Lesson-planning and attendance record-keeping, and assessments required. This is a part-time, hourly position. Classes forming now; anticipate completion by the end of December. Fax resumes to LD/LK 610-328-2807.

Childcare Worker
Child Learning Center at Delco Group home. Must have knowledge of early childhood development & ability to nurture and promote positive growth in pre school age children. AA in Early Childhood Ed. preferred. Salary $12/hour. Fax resume to JL/CFF 610-328-2807.

Career Coach
North Philadelphia Workforce Development Agency seeking qualified Career Coaches to:
  • Provide initial and extended interviews and assessments with customers to identify customer’s needs interests and abilities.
  • Provide information to customers about the types of programs and services for which he or she may be eligible.
  • Provide crisis intervention counseling and referrals addressing barriers to job search and employment including accessing the local TANF agency and community support services for child care, transportation, housing, clothing, medical care substance abuse, counseling, and domestic assault.

Job Requirements include: Excellent communication skills; ability to effectively interact with customers and provide short term counseling intervention; knowledge of community social services support/supportive services; commitment to providing friendly customer centered services; knowledge of word and data processing; bilingual in English/Spanish preferred.
Minimum Qualifications include: Baccalaureate Degree in human services, behavioral science, social work, or a minimum 2 years experience, and demonstrated prior work experience in a similar counseling area. Fax resumes to: 610-328-2807, attn: EM/LD/EARN


PathWays PA is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Monday, June 21, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: June 21, 2010

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.

Federal

Support the VITA Grant Program

VITA, or Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, is a program sponsored by the IRS to help low- and middle-income people file their income tax returns. Through the program, community partners engage and train volunteers and set up sites where clients can come to have their basic returns completed.

To gather support for this program, a Dear Colleague letter is being circulated in the Senate. If you support this program, please contact your Senators and ask them to show their support for the work of VITA in your district by signing-on.

If the Senator is interested in signing the Dear Colleague letter, tell the staffer to contact Conor Sanchez in Senator Bingaman’s Office to sign on.

After connecting with your Representative's office, please send an update to Lucy Mullany, NCTC's Field organizer.

State

The Child and Adult Care Food Program

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), a program entirely funded by federal dollars, is drastically under-utilized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. CACFP provides support and assistance to child care providers to serve healthy food to children in their own home. It also educates providers about healthy eating habits and enables them to purchase healthier foods.

Unfortunately, there is a coverage gap regarding which providers and children can benefit from this program as Pennsylvania does not include its relative/neighbor child care providers (those who care for three or fewer none-related children in their home) in the list of eligible providers of CACFP. However, those providers are eligible to participate under federal regulations.

CACFP plays a critical role in combating the twin problems of childhood obesity and malnutrition our country is facing. If you believe it is an important program please contact your legislators and ask them urge the Department of Education to include “license-exempt” providers in the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Information/Events

America Speaks: Our Budget, Our Economy

On June 26, 2010 at 11:30, thousands of Americans across the country will participate in an unprecedented National Town Meeting on our budget and economy. The National Town Meeting will include thousands of people in different locations all across the country connected live via satellite video, webcast and interactive technologies.

There are two locations in the Philadelphia area that are holding a meeting:
  • Chalmers Park, 2800 North 29th Street Philadelphia, PA 19132 Philadelphia, PA
Participation is free and food will be provided at Town Meeting locations, but space is limited. Please click on the location names above to register.

Share Your Caregiving Story

The Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE) is a non-profit organization, based in Philadelphia, which has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for vulnerable older people for over 32 years.

CARIE is seeking participants for a research project documenting the needs of caregivers of older adults. The project focuses on caregivers that have experienced the hospitalization of an elderly loved one. If you, a family member, or a friend have experienced a loved one’s hospital discharge, and are willing to share the story, please contact Marta Cuciurean-Zapan at 267-546-3443 or by email at cuciurean@carie.org.

We define a caregiver as a family member or a friend who is, or has been, responsible for the physical, emotional, or financial well being of an older adult. Participants would commit to an interview with one to two researchers from CARIE, and their identity would remain confidential. The information collected through this new initiative will help CARIE to better understand caregiver needs and subsequently provide access to resources that aid caregivers, as well as advocate on their behalf. If you qualify and are selected for this project, you will also receive a small stipend to compensate you for your time.

Maternity Care Coalition: Breastfeeding Friendly Business Awards

The Maternity Care Coalition is looking for small or large Philadelphia-based employers who meet specific criteria to be nominated for the “Breastfeeding Friendly Business Award. Anyone can nominate a business. You could be an employee who is breastfeeding or has breastfed, a co-worker, a supervisor, a boss, or a patron at a local establishment. Please visit the MCC breastfeeding website to find more information on past winners.

If you would like submit a nomination, download a printable nomination form or complete a nomination form online by Wednesday, June 30th. For additional information please call the Breastfeeding Coordinator, Katja Pigur, at 215-989-3564 or via e-mail.

The recently passed health care reform includes a provision for workplace breastfeeding support. The provision states that employers shall provide reasonable, unpaid break time and a private, non-bathroom place for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child's birth. Employers with less than 50 employees are not subject to the requirement if it would cause "undue hardship." Show your support of businesses that acted ahead of this legislation.

PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

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.

Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges

PathWays PA is proud to announce the release of a new paper that examines the impact that community colleges and other workforce development can have on the earnings of Pennsylvanians.

While many students enter college straight from high school, a growing number of students need access to higher education after they have already entered the workforce. Nationally, 2/3rds of the 2020 workforce has already graduated from high school, but they have not all gone on to higher education. Pennsylvania ranks 3rd highest in the country for the number of adults (age 18-64) whose formal education ended with a high school diploma or GED.

By 2014, 51 percent of all jobs in Pennsylvania will require some college, though not a four-year degree (also known as "middle skills" education). As of 2008, only 22 percent of Pennsylvanians age 25 and over fit into the middle skills category.


Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges examines the needs of adult workers in Pennsylvania and the part that community colleges can play in serving those needs.


Take Action on Earned Sick Time

48 percent of workers in the United States have no access to earned sick time, which means that if they are sick (or if their family members are sick) they must choose between working sick or losing their pay (or their jobs). If you are one of the 48 percent who have no earned sick time - or one of the 52 percent who do - please take our survey and tell us more!

There are bills at the federal, state, and local level to support earned sick time for everyone - here is what you can do:
  • Support the Federal Healthy Families Act! Under The Healthy Families Act, workers would have the opportunity to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 7 days of sick time per year. This time could be used to care for workers or their families, or could be used as "safe days" in cases of domestic violence. Tell your legislators that we need paid sick days now!
  • Support the paid sick days campaign in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia! Become our friend! Show your support for earned sick time by visiting Facebook. You can support earned sick time in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia. Support both!
  • If you don't live in Pennsylvania, you can still support earned sick time. Visit The National Partnership for Women and Families website to learn more about campaigns in your area.
  • 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.

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 Kelly Binder at kbinder@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, June 18, 2010

Share Your Caregiving Story with CARIE

From our friends at CARIE

Do you care for an older adult?
Has your loved one been in the hospital?

If you are or have been the caregiver of an older adult who was admitted to the hospital, CARIE would like to talk to you about your experience and what would have been helpful before and after the hospital discharge.

A caregiver is anyone who is responsible for the physical, emotional, or financial well being of an older adult.

This project will help CARIE understand caregiver needs; you will also receive a small stipend for your participation.

If you are interested and willing to share your story with us, please contact Marta Cuciurean-Zapan at 215.545.5728 or by email at cuciurean@carie.org.

CARIE is a non-profit organization committed to improving the lives, well being, and autonomy of older adults. To learn more, please visit http://www.carie.org/.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Help Support the Industry Partnership Program

Industry Partnership legislation has been introduced in the Senate - it is Senate Bill 1409. Please help to ensure that this legislation moves through the Senate so it can be signed into law by the governor.

Please contact your Senator and ask him or her to co-sponsor SB1409 and to support it when it comes up for a vote.

When you make your call and/or send your e-mail, please make sure to communicate that:

  • Industry Partnerships have been remarkably successful in addressing the needs of both businesses and workers in the Commonwealth. More than 5,000 businesses have reported significant improvements in productivity and more than 70,000 workers have benefited from training, with average wage gains of 6.6% in one year.
  • Industry Partnerships deliver a high return on investment by achieving economies of scale in the design and delivery of training and increasing the effectiveness of other public and private investments in training
  • Industry Partnerships have strong business support with over 500 businesses signing a letter endorsing Industry Partnerships in the 2009-10 budget debate.

More information about the legislation, including additional talking points and a sample letter to your legislator can be obtained at www.workforcepa.com.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - June 16, 2010

State Budget – 14 Days Until Budget Deadline

With just 2 weeks until the June 30 deadline passage of the state budget, yesterday the House began to debate House Bill 325. This bill would raise revenue by imposing a severance tax on the natural gas removed from the Marcellus Shale, a tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco, and an increase in the tax on cigarettes. After much debate, there were not enough votes for this bill to pass and it was sent back to the House Appropriations Committee.

Governor Rendell has called a budget negotiation meeting for today where he will work with the four caucuses to try to make progress toward completing the state budget.


House Considers Limits to Public-Sector Pensions

Today, the House passed a bill to address the rising cost of Pennsylvania's two large government pension plans.

The bill included an amendment that would:
  • Raise the standard retirement age to 65 for both the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) and the State Employees' Retirement System(SERS).
  • Raise the time of service for the benefits to vest from 5 to 10 years.
  • Reduce the size of pensions for new hires by one-fifth, unless the employees choose to have more money taken out of their paychecks.
  • No longer allow retirees to withdraw their own contributions in a lump-sum cash payment upon retirement.
All the proposed changes would affect new employees only and would not affect anyone hired before June 30, 2011, for PSERS, and before Dec. 31, 2010, for SERS. The House is expected to vote on the entire bill as early as today.


Action Alert


Proposed and Approved Cuts to School District Budgets

While the budget debate continues, school districts continue to have to make tough decisions. Almost one-quarter of districts across the state and over half of the districts in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania have approved or proposed cuts

Some of the cuts are to full-day kindergarten, special education, foreign languages, alternative education, teaching positions, transportation, technology and extra-curricular activities.

The Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign has put together a map of where the cuts are occurring and list showing what the cuts are. Take a minute and see what is going on in your district and if you are unhappy with the results contact your legislators and urge them to take a balanced approach to this years budget.

What More Cuts Would Mean for One Program: ChildLine

ChildLine is a program responsible for answering calls from people who are reporting suspected cases of child abuse and neglect 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Further staff shortages will make it more difficult for citizens to report child abuse allegations. Last year, ChildLine handled over 25,000 reports of suspected child abuse and nearly 4,000 reports were determined to be founded.

Unfortunately for ChildLine, resources are already stretched thin. Since January 2010, between 9 and 13 percent of calls each month have been abandoned because of long hold times due to operations at reduced staff levels. A 10 percent cut would mean 5 fewer staff and 500 additional unanswered calls. If one in six of these reports were founded, this would mean crimes against 83 abused and neglected children would go unreported and uncorrected.

If you believe this program should not sustain further cuts, contact your legislators and urge them to take a balanced approach to this year’s budget for this and all important programs.

Thank you to PCCY for the above information.

Rally for Jobs and Against Budget Cuts

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition is holding a rally for Jobs and Against Budget Cuts

WHEN: Thursday June 17, 11:00 AM
WHERE: Delaware County Courthouse, 201 West Front Street, Media PA

To RSVP for this event, contact Kate Atkins at (215) 563-5848 x 16 or sepabudget@gmail.com.


Other Important Programs and Action Steps:

While the state budget is very tight this year, it is crucial for legislators to hear from their constituents about programs that cannot and should not see more cuts this year. Even programs that are not undergoing large cuts need to be advocated for to ensure that changes are not made to their funding during the budget debates. Below we have highlighted just a few of those programs:

Adult Education and Family Literacy Programs: The greatest predictor of a child's future academic success is the literacy level of the child's mother. Adult education and family literacy programs are especially important during this recession to ensure that families have the opportunity to gain the education they need to become self-sufficient. If you or your clients have been impacted by the need for literacy, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.

State Supplemental Program: Help restore cuts to the State Supplemental Payments for Pennsylvania’s elderly, disabled, and blind. As a result of the 2009-2010 budget, the state supplement has now been cut each month by $5 for a single person and $10 for a couple. If you believe the payments are important, please contact your state legislators and urge them to find ways to restore this cut.

adultBasic: Over 350,000 people are on the waiting list for adultBasic. While those on the waiting list can pay full price for the program until they can access the program, but the cost to buy in has increased 80 percent. Meanwhile, coverage under the Governor’s 2010-2011 budget will not expand beyond 50,000 people. If you or your clients believe that when 12 percent of adults in Pennsylvania are without health care, programs that assist them are essential and need to be expanded, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.

Child Care Subsidy: The subsidy allows parents to afford to work by assisting them with the expense of child care. If you or your clients have been impacted by the need for child care, please contact your state legislators today and let them know.

Conference Call: Voter Participation Basics for Nonprofits

From our friends at Nonprofit VOTE:

Please join Nonprofit VOTE for a special web training event:
"Voter Participation Basics for Nonprofits"
Thursday, July 1st
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM ET

Topics will include principles and ideas for doing voter registration, voter education, engaging the candidates and getting out the vote in the course of activities nonprofits already do. There will be opportunities for question and answers throughout the training.


The webinar will also highlight sources for voter participation materials and resources.

(Image from Nonprofit VOTE e-alert)

New From IRS.gov - Affordable Care Act Provides Expanded Tax Benefit to Health Professionals Working in Underserved Areas

From the IRS Newsletter:
WASHINGTON — As part of a larger Administration announcement on efforts to strengthen the health care workforce, the Internal Revenue Service today announced that under the Affordable Care Act health care professionals who received student loan relief under state programs that reward those who work in underserved communities may qualify for refunds on their 2009 federal income tax returns as well as an annual tax cut going forward.

“Doctors and nurses who choose to practice in underserved areas make a great contribution to their local communities,” Commissioner Doug Shulman said. “By expanding the tax exclusion for student loan forgiveness, the Affordable Care Act provides an even greater incentive to practice medicine in areas that need it most.”

To learn more, see the latest IRS newsletter.  You can also read more about other tax provisions in the act.

Image courtesy of  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stethoscope-2.jpg.

Carol Goertzel's Letter to the Editor: "Many in the state have no access to community colleges"

Thank you for your recent coverage regarding the benefits of the Community College of Allegheny County ("Community College Touts Impact on Local Economy," June 1). In it, you note the return on investment received from funding of the college.

It is important to note that, throughout Pennsylvania, not all residents have the opportunities to attend community college or benefit from the economic impact that results. As we note in our new report, "Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges," adults in 30 Pennsylvania counties do not have access to a community college campus or learning center....

Read the full letter and tell us what you think!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Community College Paper Featured on What Matters

Click here to subscribe to "what matters."

Pathways report highlight community colleges
In today's troubled economy, access to good jobs and wages has become more important than ever, creating another reason for Pennsylvania to take action to ensure more students can afford and access community college education and the increased earnings potential it provides.
In a new report, Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges examines the impact that community colleges and other workforce development can have on the earnings of Pennsylvanians.
By 2014, 51 percent of all jobs in Pennsylvania will require some college, though not a four-year degree (also known as "middle skills" education). As of 2008, only 22 percent of Pennsylvanians age 25 and over fit into the middle skills category.

Go here to view or download the report.

Monday, June 14, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: June 14, 2010

New PathWays PA Paper – Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges

PathWays PA is proud to announce the release of a new paper that examines the impact that community colleges and other workforce development can have on the earnings of Pennsylvanians.

While many students enter college straight from high school, a growing number of students need access to higher education after they have already entered the workforce. Nationally, 2/3rds of the 2020 workforce has already graduated from high school, but they have not all gone on to higher education. Pennsylvania ranks 3rd highest in the country for the number of adults (age 18-64) whose formal education ended with a high school diploma or GED.

By 2014, 51 percent of all jobs in Pennsylvania will require some college, though not a four-year degree (also known as "middle skills" education). As of 2008, only 22 percent of Pennsylvanians age 25 and over fit into the middle skills category.

Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges examines the needs of adult workers in Pennsylvania and the part that community colleges can play in serving those needs.

Federal

Urge Your Member of Congress to Invest in Affordable, Quality Child Care

Increasing funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) would help millions of families across this country by improving the quality and affordability of child care.

Studies have shown that affordable child care is a key part of the economy and is responsible for generating nearly $580 billion in labor income and $69 billion in tax revenue while providing more than 15 million jobs.

f you believe funding for child care is important please sign this petition and help put parents back to work while giving children the strong start they deserve.

Information/Events

Has Your Life Been Affected by Social Security Benefits? Share Your Story!

Social Security is a promise made to all generations. You are invited to join the Social Security Stories Project, which celebrates the 75th anniversary of Social Security by gathering and sharing stories. You are invited to share how Social Security has made a meaningful difference in your life or the life of a family member or friend – as it has for one in six Americans.

  • Stories may be about you, a family member, a friend or a neighbor.
  • Stories may be about how Social Security helped a family after a tragedy.
  • Stories may be about how Social Security is helping with retirement even in these tough financial times.

The Social Security Stories Project is an opportunity to join thousands of Americans in showing that you are part of how Social Security has transformed our country, our economy and our people.

Telling your story is simple. The Project looking for stories of 400 words or less or about three minutes of video. All of the stories told as part of the “Social Security Stories Project” will be posted on our website and other social networking.

The “Social Security Stories Project” was developed by the Frances Perkins Center.

Suburban Southeastern PA Regional Forum: Reshaping Pennsylvania’s Housing Market

Please Join the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, the Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia and the Delaware County Homeless Service Coalition for a regional forum to discuss Reshaping Pennsylvania’s Housing Market.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 23, 2010, 8:30 - noon
WHERE: Elwyn Campus Administrative Building, Barr Hall - 111 Elywn Road, Elywn, PA 19063

Learn - Share - Network
  • Get new data about what’s really going on
  • Hear the latest news from DC and Harrisburg on housing!
  • Share your thoughts about what’s working locally - and what still needs to be done
  • Help shape our agenda for changing the housing market
Bring your literature to share and join them for breakfast and networking.
If you would like to attend please register at: Suburban Southeastern PA Regional Forum: Reshaping Pennsylvania's Housing Market.

Open Call on Rural Health and Health Care Reform

Join Jon Bailey, Director of Research and Analysis at the Center for Rural Affairs, as he discusses the impact national health care reform will have on Rural Americans. While this call will be of particular interest to Pennsylvanians living in rural communities and small towns, it does promise to be a dynamic discussion and all are encouraged to join.

WHEN: June 16, 2010 - 6:00pm

For more detail or to RSVP for the call emaill Athena at aford@philaup.org.

PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

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.

Take Action on Earned Sick Time

48 percent of workers in the United States have no access to earned sick time, which means that if they are sick (or if their family members are sick) they must choose between working sick or losing their pay (or their jobs). If you are one of the 48 percent who have no earned sick time - or one of the 52 percent who do - please take our survey and tell us more!

There are bills at the federal, state, and local level to support earned sick time for everyone - here is what you can do:
  • Support the Federal Healthy Families Act! Under The Healthy Families Act, workers would have the opportunity to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 7 days of sick time per year. This time could be used to care for workers or their families, or could be used as "safe days" in cases of domestic violence. Tell your legislators that we need paid sick days now!
  • Support the paid sick days campaign in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia! Become our friend! Show your support for earned sick time by visiting Facebook. You can support earned sick time in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia. Support both!
  • If you don't live in Pennsylvania, you can still support earned sick time. Visit The National Partnership for Women and Families website to learn more about campaigns in your area.
  • 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.

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 Kelly Binder at kbinder@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.