Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Watch: Health Reform Hits Main Street

Thank you to the Kaiser Family Foundation for creating this video.

Confused about how the new health reform law really works? This short, animated movie -- featuring the "YouToons" -- explains the problems with the current health care system, the changes that are happening now, and the big changes coming in 2014.







Written and produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Narrated by Cokie Roberts, a news commentator for ABC News and NPR and a member of Kaiser's Board of Trustees. Creative production and animation by Free Range Studios.

"Census figures in region show poor getting poorer" - Includes Quote From PathWays PA

"Census figures in region show poor getting poorer"
By Alfred Lubrano and Dylan Purcell
Inquirer Staff Writers
The poor got poorer and the well-off didn't get any better in the Philadelphia region in 2009, according to U.S. census figures released Tuesday.

Philadelphia retained its unwanted position as the poorest among the country's 10 largest cities, with a poverty rate of 25 percent. Making a bad situation worse, the number of children in poverty under age 18 in the city fell to one in three.
To read the full article, visit the Inquirer's website.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ask Your Legislators to Support Voluntary Post-Adoption Agreements

In the last few days available for the House to consider bills, an important piece of legislation promoting child adoption remains on the table. Senate Bill 1360, a cost-neutral bill which provides for voluntary post-adoption contact agreements, still needs approval. Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children has a sign-on letter you can use to support this bill today.

The policies proposed in SB 1360 (which have already been adopted in 23 other states) are not new. Many children in foster care, especially youth, are reluctant to be adopted because they don't want to lose all contact with close birth relatives. About ten years ago the federal government encouraged states to amend adoption law to encourage the use of voluntary post-adoption agreements; and the Joint State Government Commission made a similar recommendation to the General Assembly.

These agreements both promote the adoption of children from foster care and provide children the opportunity to maintain appropriate contact with birth relatives following adoption such as contact between siblings. If children are given the opportunity to have a permanent family while being able to keep in appropriate contact with their siblings and relatives, they will be more likely to consider adoption.

Please take a moment today to contact your legislators about this important legislation.

image courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Child_drawing.jpg

Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Newsletter

 
PHILADELPHIA LOBBY DAY & PRESS CONFERENCE

Come Learn More about the Need for Earned Sick Time in Philadelphia and Share Your Story with
Members of Philadelphia's City Council.

Over 41% of workers in Philadelphia have no earned sick time, while 78% of restaurant and accommodation workers are forced to choose between going to work sick, or sending a child to school sick, and losing a day's pay or possibly their job.


The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces is holding a Press Conference and Lobby Day, complete with Lobby Training, to provide information for Philadelphia's City Council about the importance of earned sick time and to urge them to continue work on the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (Bill No. 080474).

WHEN: Tuesday, October 12th

The Press Conference will take place at 1:00 PM, in the Mayor's Reception Room in City Hall, with visits to City Council Members throughout the afternoon. There will be a Lobby Training held at 123 S. Broad Street 8th Floor - Room 8B at 11:00 AM. Food will be provided. Come for the whole day or for as long as you are able to. 

You do not need to be an expert or have lobbying experience to take part in this exciting day. We will provide you with everything you need to advocate for this important issue!


For more information about the event, please contact Kate Scully at PathWays PA at 610-543-5022 or Rebecca Foley at WOMEN'S WAY at 215-985-3322.

Please join the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces to give workers the ability to earn sick time to care for themselves and their families. To RSVP for this event please visit: http://earnedsicktimelobbyday.eventbrite.com.


EARNED SICK TIME STORIES


PCN Video on Need for Earned Sick Time

A new video on the need for earned sick time is now available. PCN's monthly television program "Agenda for Action" included a story on the Healthy Families Healthy Workplaces Act (HB 1830) and an interview from Tiffany Lomax about her need for earned sick time. You can view the video by clicking here.

New Video on the Need for Sick Time in Pennsylvania

Listen to workers talk about the need for earned sick time in their own words. Mothers talk about having to make a choice between working and caring for a sick child, a banquet server talks about serving food while sick, and health care worker speaks of trying to care for someone else while in incredible pain.

To listen to these and other stories please visit the Working Families Story Bank.

A special thank you to WOMEN'S WAY, a member of the Coalition that put this video together.


ACTION CENTER


Tell Your Story! Write a Letter to the Editor about the Importance of Earned Sick Time, Only Take a Minute

Have you benefited from having paid sick days or feared losing your job if you took off to care for yourself or a family member? Do you own a business where providing earned sick time has been a benefit? If so please tell your story or discuss why earned sick time is important by writing a letter to the editor of your local paper.

With our easy to use tool, it only takes one minute to write a letter to the editor of your local paper. It can be short - just three or four lines - and if you want, you can use some of the talking points we included. Your story is important - in your letter, tell people why sick time is so important to you.

Let Your Legislators Know That Earned Sick Time Is Important To You!

If you support earned sick time, please let your legislator know today!

Currently in Pennsylvania 2.2 million workers have no earned sick time, and a majority of employees without this benefit work in food service and care giving positions. When workers without earned sick time are sick, they have to choose between going to work - where they could potentially infect co-workers or customers - and staying home - where they will lose pay and possibly their jobs.

Sign Our Petition 

If you believe all Pennsylvania workers should have the chance to earn paid sick days so they can care for themselves as well as their sick children and parents, please sign our petition. The petition will be delivered to the Pennsylvania General Assembly and, if you live in Philadelphia, also to City Council - both of which are currently working on legislation to provide workers with this benefit.


To receive the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Newsletter please email, policy@pathwayspa.org. For more information about the Coalition visit http://earnedsicktime.blogspot.com/


Image courtesy of: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ambox_PR.svg., http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Philadelphia_City_Hall_%28from_Art_Museum%29.JP, http://micamaraenmano.blogspot.com/2008/06/con-la-cmara-en-las-manos.html

Severance Tax to Come Up for Vote Today: Call Now!

(from our friends at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center)

A severance tax bill is now going to the House floor for a vote today, September 28. SB1155 sets a competitive tax rate and has no front-end exemptions. It is expected to raise $120 million in the first six months of 2011 and $326 million in Fiscal Year 2011-12. A vote is scheduled for 3 pm. Please contact your legislators right now!

The final bill allocates the first $75 million in funds raised this fiscal year to the General Fund. $70 million will make up for Pennsylvania's reduced FMAP allocation, and $5 million will go to the Department of Labor and Industry for worker training. The legislation also includes an annual $10 million job tax credit.

After the first $75 million this year and for all future years, funds are distributed as follows:

  • 60% to the General Fund
  • 40% to environmental programs and local governments

SB 1155 will provide a stable source of new funds for health care, human services, and education well into the future, protect the environment and compensate communities affected by natural gas drilling.

Please call to ask lawmakers to support funding for important human services through the severance tax.  You can visit the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's Severance Tax Action page for more details.

image courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Shaleusa2.jpg

Monday, September 27, 2010

October 12th: Earned Sick Time Lobby Day in Philadelphia

Come Learn More about the Need for Earned Sick Time in Philadelphia and Share Your Story with
Members of Philadelphia's City Council.


Over 41% of workers in Philadelphia have no earned sick time, while 78% of restaurant and accommodation workers are forced to choose between going to work sick, or sending a child to school sick, and losing a day's pay or possibly their job.


The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces is holding a Press Conference and Lobby Day, complete with Lobby Training, to provide information for Philadelphia's City Council about the importance of earned sick time and to urge them to continue work on the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (Bill No. 080474).


WHEN: Tuesday, October 12th



The Press Conference will take place at 1:00 PM, in the Mayor's Reception Room in City Hall, with visits to City Council Members throughout the afternoon. There will be a Lobby Training held at 123 S. Broad Street 8th Floor - Room 8B at 11:00 AM. Food will be provided. Come for the whole day or for as long as you are able to.


You do not need to be an expert or have lobbying experience to take part in this exciting day. We will provide you with everything you need to advocate for this important issue!


For more information about the event, please contact Kate Scully at PathWays PA at 610-543-5022 or Rebecca Foley at WOMEN'S WAY at 215-985-3322.


Please join the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces to give workers the ability to earn sick time to care for themselves and their families by registering for the event below.



Image courtesy of: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Philadelphia_City_Hall_%28from_Art_Museum%29.JPG

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: September 27, 2010

PathWays PA Special Announcements

Save the Date: Help Bring Earned Sick Time to Philadelphia Workers

On October 12, 2010, join the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces in meeting with Philadelphia’s City Council members to discuss the need for earned sick time in Philadelphia. In Philadelphia, 41% of workers are force to choose between going to work sick or losing their pay (or possibly their jobs).

Come let members of City Council know that earning a minimum number of paid sick time is a basic right that workers should have.


For more information and to register for this event please visit, http://earnedsicktimelobbyday.eventbrite.com/.

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 or see what is available, click here.

Tickets to the event are $50 ($60 at the door) and may be purchased online. Further information on corporate and individual sponsorships can be found here.

Join PathWays PA at the WOW Building Bridges to Economic Security Meeting in Philadelphia 

Please register online now for the Wider Opportunities for Women's (WOW) Building Bridges to Economic Security regional meeting in Philadelphia. Registration is free, but space is limited.

WOW's regional meetings will feature acute insights on how Americans are thinking about the economy, work, retirement - all the pillars of the American Dream - and what that means for advocates. Participants will choose from four policy workshops each led by national and local experts (including two speakers from PathWays PA ).

Join us in Philadelphia at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel on Monday, October 4th. The meeting will run from 9:00am-5:30pm, with registration and breakfast beginning at 8:00am. Lunch is included.

Please spread the word and register today!  If you have any questions, please contact Kelly Stellrecht.

Federal

TANF Emergency Contingency Fund to Expire This Week Unless Congress Acts

We need to urge Congress to extend the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF) before it expires on Thursday, September 30.

The ECF was part of the Recovery Act passed in early 2009, and it is designed to help states deal with the increasing number of people on TANF due to the recession. ECF dollars have helped states:
  • provide cash assistance to low-income families;
  • provide short-term rent assistance to families experiencing a housing crisis; and
  • create 250,000 subsidized employment opportunities nationally, many of which will end on September 30 if Congress does not act to extend the funding.

The Coalition on Human Needs has set up a toll-free number so you can call your Senators at no cost. To speak to your Senators, just call 888-245-0215 and ask for your Senator by name, and the Capitol operator will connect you to their office. Tell them that it is crucial that they support an extension of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund, so that the states can provide help to struggling families in these hard economic times.

Below is sample language you can use when you make your call:

Hello, my name is ____________. I’m calling to ask Senator _____________ to support the extension of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund, which expires on October 1st. The TANF Emergency Contingency Fund has enabled states to help families who are struggling in this recession, and to create over 250,000 jobs for low-income parents nationwide. Please support the extension of this important program!

Help Protect Women’s Health

Health care reform was supposed to help people who have been unable to get health insurance because of pre-existing medical conditions. However, new rules from the Department of Health and Human Services issued for the new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans denies women with serious medical conditions the coverage they desperately need to end pregnancies that are threatening their health. Women with pre-existing conditions, such as kidney disease and heart conditions, are at increased risk of complications when they become pregnant. Pregnancy can also make it difficult or impossible to continue with needed medical treatments, such as chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Health reform should safeguard women’s health not infringe upon it. Please tell Health and Human Services how this harmful restriction undermines women’s access to reproductive health care by sending a message to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius or submitting comments in response to the regulation. Comments are due Tuesday, September 28th.

State

Take Action to End Human Trafficking in Pennsylvania

Human Trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world. Traffickers reap billions in profits by using force, fraud or coercion to rob victims of their
freedom. The federal government has estimated that 14,500-17,500 are brought into the U.S. for sex or labor trafficking each year, in addition to thousands of US citizens trafficked within the US. Experts have estimated that more than 100,000 American children are exploited in prostitution each year, a brutal form of human trafficking.

In Pennsylvania, victims of sex and labor trafficking include U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. In addition to the commercial front businesses such as massage parlors, nail salons, agricultural operations and hotels or motels that human traffickers utilize, Pennsylvania is also a “pass through” state due to the many interstate highways that connect major trafficking hotspots in Ohio and New York.

Legislation currently sits in the House and Senate that requires keep entities to post the Nation Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (888-3737-888) to provide a bridge to help for human trafficking victims in Pennsylvania. Because traffickers keep victims isolated, placement of the hotline is required in strategic locations where victims and community members are most likely to see it.

Please contact your Representative and Senator and urge them to cosponsor the human trafficking hotline bill by contacting the offices of Representative Clymer and Senator Leach, respectively.

Information/Events

Telling Amy's Story - Film Screening and Discussion

In conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, WHYY is hosting a special screening of the powerful documentary film Telling Amy's Story.

Hosted by actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay, and told by Detective Deirdri Fishel, this stirring documentary follows the timeline of a domestic violence homicide that occurred in State College, PA on November 8, 2001.

Following the film, WHYY Health and Science Desk Reporter Maiken Scott will lead a Q&A session/discussion with filmmaker Joe Myers and others.

WHEN: Tuesday, October 12, 2010, 7 pm - 9 pm
WHERE: WHYY - 150 N. Sixth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

This event is free and open to the public but you must RSVP to attend. WHYY Members receive preferred seating.

New Website for Anti-Bullying Effort

(from our friends at PHENND)

The US Department of Education has launched a new campaign to combat bullying in schools centered on a new website, http://www.bullyinginfo.org, a centralized location where state and local agencies can find resources on anti-bullying educational materials and connect with the Office of Civil Rights, the entity responsible for investigating allegations of bullying.

The website contains useful information for parents, teachers, administrators, caregivers, and other professionals that work with youth on identifying and stopping bullying.

The Department has also made available a variety of studies and current statistics on the bullying problem, as well as a map of anti-bullying programs and resources searchable by zip code.

The National Service Learning Clearinghouse also offers bullying and service-learning resources.


PathWays PA Spotlight Initiative

Paid Work Experience for 18-24 Year Olds

PathWays PA is excited to offer a program for 18-24 year olds where they can get paid work experience at Goodwill stores or healthcare facilities. The paid work experience is guarantee for 8 weeks but may extend until May 2011.
The program includes:
  • Work Readiness training
  • Skills building
  • Educational support/training
  • Resume writing
  • Workplace communication skills
For more information, please contact Pamela Reid at 610-543-5022.

Presentations from the Forum on Pennsylvania's Community Colleges

StudyingLast week, PathWays PA held a series of presentations focused on community colleges at the national and state level.  Presenters included Vickie Choitz from CLASP and Brandon Roberts from the Working Poor Families Project as well as information from PathWays PA.  For those who are interested, the presentations are viewable below.  PathWays PA's newest report, "Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges" can be found on our website.

CLASP Presentation


Working Poor Families Project Presentation


PathWays PA Presentation

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Press Release: PathWays PA to Hold Event to Discuss Pennsylvania’s Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges

2/3rd’s of 2020 Workforce are Already Out of High School – Community Colleges are the Best Way to Ensure Higher Education for Adults to Ensure a Stronger Workforce and Higher Earning Potential.


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,” PathWays PA examines the impact that community colleges and other workforce development can have on the earnings of Pennsylvanians.


PathWays PA is proud to announce a forum focused on the needs of Pennsylvania's workforce and the role community colleges can play within that workforce.


WHERE: United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA


WHEN: September 23, 2010 - 2:00-4:00
WHO: Carol Goertzel, President & CEO of PathWays PA
           Vickie Choitz, Senior Policy Analyst of CLASP
           Brandon Roberts, Working Poor Families Project

In addition to discussing this report, participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about workforce development and community colleges from around the country. Vickie Choitz, Senior Policy Analyst at CLASP, will be speaking at this forum to highlight national research and information crucial to this important topic. Brandon Roberts, President of Brandon Roberts + Associates (which manages the national Working Poor Families Project) will also be on hand to discuss information on working low-income families.

Many state community colleges are already working to make their schools as affordable and accessible to students as possible. However, many Pennsylvania counties (especially those in the northern and central areas of the state) have no access to a community college. Also, while community colleges rank high in affordability compared to public and private four-year institutions, tuition at Pennsylvania’s community colleges is among the most expensive in the country.

“We know that community colleges are not and should not be the only method of workforce development in the state,” said Carol Goertzel, President/CEO of PathWays PA. “However, as more people are being laid off or underemployed, they need access to educational and technological experiences in order to find family-sustaining jobs. Community colleges and other workforce entities are already offering this access, but there is more that can be done.”

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.

“Unfortunately, whether they work in a factory or in the healthcare field, this generation of workers is more likely to need some post-secondary education to earn a family-sustaining wage,” notes Goertzel. “It doesn’t have to be a four-year degree, but more jobs require some college or a specialized certificate in order to qualify for work.”

The paper is available at http://pathwayspa.org/CC_Final_060910.pdf.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Presentation to Delaware Valley Grantmakers: A Perfect Storm

Today, PathWays PA had the privilege of speaking at a meeting of the Delaware Valley Grantmakers to discuss the "perfect storm" of policy and economic issues that will be coming to a head by the end of this year. 

Among those issues are the end of the Way to Work program, the lack of extensions for unemployment compensation, the need for adult literacy and Industry Partnerships, and the impact of domestic violence in Pennsylvania.  To learn more, please download our report!

Happy 6 Month Anniversary of Health Care Reform: Time to Celebrate New Protections and Benefits for All

On Thursday, September 23, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act celebrates its 6 month anniversary. This is an anniversary that marks the start of numerous provisions to help Americans of all ages.

Below are some of the major provisions that will give millions of Americans access to reliable, high quality medical care, while keeping costs down:

  • Children through out the country are denied coverage every year. On September 23, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage to children under 19 because they have a pre-existing condition.
  • Insurance companies have been able to retroactively cancel a policy when the insured person becomes sick if there was an unintended mistake on insurance paperwork. On September 23, insurance companies will be prohibited from rescinding coverage for individuals and groups of people, except in the case of fraud.
  • Individuals with expensive medical bills due to chronic diseases commonly reach their lifetime limits of their policy. Once the lifetime limit is reached, the policy is revoked and it is the responsibility of the insured person to pay all future medical expenses. On September 23, insurance companies will be prohibited from including lifetime limits in all health plans issued or renewed after this date.
  • Plans issued on or after September 23 must include guidelines for not only an internal but also an external appeals process. If an insurance company denies a claim the policy holder can appeal the decision to an external reviewer not employed by the insurance company.
  • Many parents and youth worry about the day that they will no longer be able to remain on their parent’s insurance. On September 23, youth will be able to remain on their parent’s insurance plan until they turn 26.
  • Many Americans put off visiting their doctor at the first signs of an illness or issue or even for routine exams. All plans offered on or after September 23 must give policy holders free preventative care including annual check-ups, mammograms, depression screening, vaccinations for children, and many more.

For more information about these and other provisions, please visit Pennsylvania Health Access Network’s website.

Image courtesy of:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en.

Monday, September 20, 2010

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Work force: Pennsylvania should keep Industry Partnerships

Please take a moment to read this article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and then take action on Industry Partnerships!
It seems like an easy thing to do -- businesses maintaining links with schools and training programs that provide the skills needed in prospective employees.

But rapidly changing technology and shifting needs at the workplace can make it difficult for companies, many of them small and with few workers, to find the new hires qualified to do today's jobs.

A Pennsylvania program, however, backed by business and labor called Industry Partnerships helps industries identify their training needs and communicate that to education partners. They, in turn, develop and deliver the training, creating job applicants who show up ready to work with the desired skills. The idea began under Gov. Richard Schweiker and came to fruition under Gov. Ed Rendell.

Today almost 6,300 Pennsylvania employers in 20 industries participate in 74 partnerships that have trained more than 73,000 workers. The state has invested $83 million in IPs, which has leveraged $54 million in matching dollars.
Read more on the Post-Gazette's website and take action now!

Video and Audio on Earned Sick Time

On Sunday, September 12, PCN's monthly television program "Agenda for Action" included a story on HB 1830, including a story from Tiffany Lomax about her need for earned sick time.  That video will be rebroadcast on September 26, but it is now available online as well.

In addition, WITF's Radio SmartTalk featured an hour-long segment on earned sick days on September 13.  You can listen and leave your own comments at the Radio SmartTalk page.  You can also download the podcast through iTunes for free.


(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/locomotion/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: September 20, 2010

PathWays PA Special Announcements

There are a number of exciting things going on at PathWays PA. Please see information about some of these things and events below. 
Still Time to RSVP to PathWays PA’s Release of "Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges"

PathWays PA is proud to announce a forum focused on the needs of Pennsylvania's workforce and the role community colleges can play within that workforce. The forum is based on a report from PathWays PA 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. "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.

In addition to discussing this report, participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about workforce development and community colleges from around the country. Vickie Choitz, Senior Policy Analyst at CLASP, will be speaking at this forum to highlight national research and information crucial to this important topic. Brandon Roberts, President of Brandon Roberts + Associates (which manages the national Working Poor Families Project) will also be on hand to discuss information on working low-income families.

RSVP here or by contacting Kate Scully at 610-543-5022 x255 or at kscully@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 or see what is available, click here.

Tickets to the event are $50 ($60 at the door) and may be purchased online. Further information on corporate and individual sponsorships can be found here.

Save the Date: Help Bring Earned Sick Time to Philadelphia Workers

On October 7, 2010, join the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces to meet with Philadelphia’s City Council members to discuss the need for earned sick time in Philadelphia. In Philadelphia, 41% of workers are force to choose between going to work sick or losing their pay (or possibly their jobs).

Come let members of City Council know that earning a minimum number of paid sick time is a basic right that workers should have.

For more information about the event please contact PathWays PA at 610-543-5022 or WOMEN’S WAY at 215-985-3322.

To learn more about the need for earned sick time visit http://earnedsicktime.blogspot.com/.

Paid Work Experience for 18-24 Year Olds

PathWays PA is excited to offer a program for 18-24 year olds where they can get paid work experience at Goodwill stores or healthcare facilities. The paid work experience is guarantee for 8 weeks but may extend until May 2011.
The program includes:
  • Work Readiness training
  • Skills building
  • Educational support/training
  • Resume writing
  • Workplace communication skills
For more information, please contact Pamela Reid at 610-543-5022.

Federal

Help Save 21,000 Pennsylvanian Jobs

This year, the TANF Emergency Fund has provided more than a quarter-million jobs throughout the United States, including 21,000 in Pennsylvania. Although these jobs have helped countless families get back on their feet, this fund will expire on Sept. 30, 2010, unless Congress extends it immediately.

The TANF Emergency Fund has put unemployed parents and teens back to work at Pennsylvania businesses and nonprofits through “Way to Work,” a subsidized jobs program. Since May, nearly 5,000 Philadelphians have taken jobs through this program. Statewide, the program has enabled 21,000 people to return to work and support themselves and their families. Way to Work also has been critical for 4,200 small businesses and other employers, allowing them to hire and even grow despite the sluggish economy.

In order for this program to continue, Congress must pass a bill that extends the TANF Emergency Fund before it expires on September 30, 2010. The President's budget proposal calls for an additional $2.5 billion for the emergency fund, and the House has twice passed extensions that were fully offset to avoid increasing the deficit. The very last opportunity to extend the TANF Emergency Fund before the deadline likely will be an appropriations bill referred to as the “continuing resolution." If the Congress fails to act in the next few weeks, tens of thousands of people nationwide will lose their jobs at the end of this month.

Please contact your Members of Congress to let them know how important the TANF Emergency Fund is for Pennsylvania.

State

Support the Marcellus Shale Severance Tax

(from our friends at the SEPA Budget Coalition and Better Choices for Pennsylvania)

As the Pennsylvania House and Senate come back into session, the House is making plans to debate a severance tax on natural gas. 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 alone 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.

House members are debating the structure of the tax. It is important that education, health and human service groups weigh in to remind our Representatives that kids, seniors and people with disabilities should not be forgotten in this debate.

We are asking you to support the following:
  • A strong severance tax that does not include unnecessary exemptions and loopholes
  • A fair allocation for critical public services supported through the General Fund.
  • The $70 million promised by the Governor to avoid further cuts.
There are a few ways you can get engaged:
  • Add your organization's name to this sign-on letter if you have not already done so (You can sign-on by contacting the SEPA Budget Coalition by email or phone ((215) 563-5848 x 16))
  • Call your legislators this Monday and Tuesday as the House prepares to vote on a Shale bill.
  • Join one of the rallies that are being planned across the state to focus on the budget.
For more information on the Severance Tax, please read the resources provided by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

Information/Events

Community Forum on Key Provisions of the New Health Reform Law

Did you know that thanks to our historic, new health care law, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage based on a pre-existing condition? Or that the law limits out-of-pocket costs so that Americans can have security and peace of mind? Or that, under the new law, young adults can stay on their parents' health care plan until age 26?

These are just a few of the ways health reform will affect Pennsylvania's families, but there are many, many more.

Come learn about key provisions of health care reform from:
  • Joanne Grossi, Region III Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS);
  • Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, President of the National Physician's Alliance
WHEN: Monday, September 20th 1:00

WHERE: Arch Street United Methodist Church, 55 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA

To RSVP, please contact Athena Ford at aford@pahealthaccess.org.

The New Health Care Law – 6 Months Later

The National Women’s Law Center is hosting a conference in honor of the 6 month anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

WHEN: September 23, 1:00

September 23rd marks the 6 month anniversary of the passage of this historic law — but it is also the date that new, important protections in the law take effect. On our call, we’ll discuss these important provisions and we’ll also release our new polling data on what women think about the new law and what provisions are most important to them .

To register for the call click here.

Does Your Community Have Inadequate Access to Full-Service Grocery Stores?

For roughly 23 million Americans, access to supermarkets is severely limited. TRF, a leader in neighborhood revitalization, has been working to improve fresh food access in underserved communities. TRF provides financing for supermarkets and other grocery stores that plan to operate in underserved communities across the Mid-Atlantic. By improving the retail food landscape in these communities, TRF’s programs provide families with increased access to fresh, more affordable foods.

TRF along with PolicyMap is offering data on the areas with low access to full-service grocery stores, or Low Access Areas (LAA).

This includes:
  • LAA location at the Census block group level
  • Average LAA score
  • Number of limited service stores in the LAA
  • Percentage of grocery retail expenditure leakage in the LAA
  • How LAA areas compare to non-LAA areas
You can overlay these areas on any of publicly available information such as demographics, income, health, crime and more to learn more about the nature of these areas.

Also, you can find more information on TRF’s customized research and data analysis and on their efforts to improve food access in underserved communities.

Join PathWays PA at the WOW Building Bridges to Economic Security Meeting in Philadelphia

Please register online now for the Wider Opportunities for Women's (WOW) Building Bridges to Economic Security regional meeting in Philadelphia. Registration is free, but space is limited.

WOW's regional meetings will feature acute insights on how Americans are thinking about the economy, work, retirement - all the pillars of the American Dream - and what that means for advocates. Participants will choose from four policy workshops each led by national and local experts (including two speakers from PathWays PA ).

Join us in Philadelphia at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel on Monday, October 4th. The meeting will run from 9:00am-5:30pm, with registration and breakfast beginning at 8:00am. Lunch is included.

Please spread the word and register today!

If you have any questions, please contact Kelly Stellrecht.


PathWays PA Spotlight Initiative

Do You Need Help with Education, Childcare, Welfare Benefits, Parenting, or Support?

PathWays PA’s Project Peace Teen Parent Program is designed to assist pregnant adolescents and teen parents to complete high school and plan for advanced education, learn how to become a better parent, and obtain appropriate community resources such as, child care, therapeutic service, TANF, life skills and employment.

Join Project Peace for Teen Parenting Teen Classes on Mondays from 4:00-6:00 at 3617 Lancaster Ave in Philadelphia. Participants of the class will learn how to improve their parenting skills, hear how other teens handle parenting, learn how to increase communication skills with their children, and have an opportunity to help other teens with their difficulties in parenting by sharing their experiences.
Children are welcome and tokens and light refreshments will be available.

For more information or to register, please contact 215-549-2686.

Patriot-News Editorial: "Paid sick leave: It's a way to cure productivity ills"

Check out this editorial in the Patriot-News:
You wake up this morning, ready to start a new week, when suddenly it feels like someone overnight laid a concrete block on your head.

It’s decision time: Do you call in sick or soldier through the workday?

For too many people, the answer to the question is between pain and getting paid.

An estimated 2.2 million workers in Pennsylvania have no paid sick days, many are people working low-paying jobs. If they take a day off when they or a family member is ill, they lose a day’s income, some even risk losing their job. Many just work sick.
To read the full editorial, visit the Patriot-News website.

Friday, September 17, 2010

You're invited to the PathWays to the Stars 32nd Anniversary Celebration Sports-tacular!

To buy tickets (which include refreshments), contact Pam Przybylski by email or at 610-543-5022 x234.  Tickets may also be purchased online.  Tickets are $50 in advance or $60 at the door.

Press Release: Pa.'s Poverty Rate Holds Steady Thanks to Unemployment Comp System

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --National poverty rates rose significantly in 2009, climbing to 14.3% from 13.2% in 2008, new Census Bureau data show.

In Pennsylvania, poverty rates remained essentially unchanged, going from 10.8% in 2006-07 to 11% in 2008-09. (The Census Bureau averages two years of survey data in order to improve the reliability of the state-level estimates.)

The poverty rate would have risen even further nationally and in Pennsylvania in 2009, had it not been for unemployment compensation extensions and other key provisions of the 2009 American Recovery Act that have helped middle-class and low-income families stay afloat.

Read the whole press release (including a quote from Carol Goertzel)!

Join PathWays PA at the WOW Building Bridges to Economic Security Meeting in Philadelphia

Please register online now for the Wider Opportunities for Women's (WOW) Building Bridges to Economic Security regional meeting in Philadelphia. Registration is free, but space is limited.

WOW's regional meetings will feature acute insights on how Americans are thinking about the economy, work, retirement - all the pillars of the American Dream - and what that means for advocates. Participants will choose from four policy workshops each led by national and local experts (including two speakers from PathWays PA ).

Join us in Philadelphia at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel on Monday, October 4th. The meeting will run from 9:00am-5:30pm, with registration and breakfast beginning at 8:00am. Lunch is included.

Please spread the word and register today!

If you have any questions, please contact Kelly Stellrecht.

PathWays PA Job Postings - September 16, 2010

Residential Worker
Part-time and Full-time - 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: LD/CFF 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 LD/CFF 610-328-2807.

Trauma-informed Therapists
PathWays PA is seeking quality therapists to provide trauma-informed therapeutic services to women, teen mothers and teen girls in their homes. Must be trained-in trauma-informed services and be familiar with the S.E.L.F. model; must also be comfortable addressing sexual abuse and domestic violence issues. Flexible hours required. LSW and credentialed/eligible to be credentialed to provide services to CBH members required. Philadelphia and some DELCO area. Full time and Part time position available. Fax resumes to: 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;. 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. You must travel independently in Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Montgomery and Bucks Counties. Lesson planning, attendance recordkeeping, 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, attendance recordkeeping 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.

Part-Time Childcare Workers
Two (2) part-time childcare workers needed for West Philadelphia location on Monday nights from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM. These two workers will watch children and keep them busy during parenting classes taking place on Monday nights. Fax resume to LD/SIL 610-328-2807.

Part-Time ABE/GED Teacher
Part-time ABE/GED Teacher needed in Delaware County for a non-profit organization. Two evenings per week. Bachelor’s Degree and experience required. Fax resume to: LD/DG at 610-328-2807.

ARRA OLDER YOUTH WORK READINESS
PathWays PA offers an eight week Work Readiness program for young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 who are out of school and looking for an opportunity to earn a salary while receiving on the job training. Once a week each applicant is responsible for attending a skills building class at 310 Amosland Road Holmes Pa, where the applicant will receive educational support in the areas of reading, writing, math and computer skills. Each applicant will have the opportunity to build a professional resume. Class time will also consist of soft skills building and Key Train lessons in preparation for a certificate in Work Keys at the end of the program. PathWays PA will provide counseling and resources for reaching career goals. The cost of transportation is covered by the program.
Eligibility criteria for participation:
• Young Adult – ages 18 to 24 years of age
• Out of school
• Delaware County resident
• Proof of income for meeting program entry requirements
• Paid work experience, 35 hours a week for 8 weeks
• Must Complete an application
• Responsible, Reliable, and Dependable!


PathWays PA is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Poverty Numbers Are On The Rise - Do They Tell the Whole Story?

Today marks what has come to be known as "Poverty Day," the day when the newest statistics from the American Community Survey show the changes in the Federal Poverty Level. While the complete data will not be released until late September, reports indicate that over 1.37 million or 11.1% of people were living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) in Pennsylvania. Nationally the number stands at 43.6 million and is the largest population living below the FPL since poverty estimates began being published 51 years ago.

In just this last year the number of people living in poverty nationwide increased by 3.7 million and for the last two years that increase has totaled 6.2 million. While this Great Recession has hurt many families, it is clear now just how much worse it could have been. According to the Center on Budget and Policy, 3.3 million more individuals would have been living in poverty in 2009 without the expanded unemployment benefits. During this recession, the number of people that unemployment insurance kept out of poverty rose by 2.8 million, showing not only the need for these benefits, but also how far they reached and how many individuals and families the unemployment expansions kept out of poverty during a difficult time.

But as Carol Goertzel, President/CEO of PathWays PA, notes, “Although the numbers we are seeing today are startling, it is important to remember that the Federal Poverty Level is not the same as a measurement of all people who are struggling in the United States.” She continues, “In fact, it is likely that far more people in Pennsylvania and in the US are struggling without enough to make ends meet.”

The FPL was created in 1965 based on a food budget for families to prevent starvation on a temporary or emergency basis. The food plan was modified for different family sizes and multiplied by three, since one-third of household income was spent on food. However, food now consumes a much smaller share of a family’s budget than it did in 1965.

As seen in the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania 2010-2011, increased housing costs, not to mention child care and healthcare costs that were not part of a 1965 budget, have changed family spending to the point where three times the amount spent on food is not enough to cover all expenses. The Standard examines the cost of basic necessities including food, transportation, healthcare, childcare, and housing in every county in Pennsylvania for 70 different family configurations. For example, a self-sufficient wage for a family with two adults and two children in Delaware County is $67,238, which is 305% of the Federal Poverty Level.

What does this have to do with the poverty numbers? The number of people living in poverty in the US is 43.6 million or 14.3%, up from 13.2% in 2008. This number only shows the number of people living below the outdated FPL; in Pennsylvania in 2007 (before the recession took hold), about 9% of households fell below the FPL. However, according to Overlooked and Undercounted: Struggling to Make Ends Meet in Pennsylvania, 21% of households actually earned less than the minimum amount they need to support their families. Meaning that 14.3% actually underestimates the number of those earning less than what they need, which in turn undermines the ability to locate and serve families in crisis.

In other words, when looking at the poverty numbers, remember that there are also many families who are being overlooked that are in need.

Special E-Alert Regarding the Industry Partnership Program

As many of you may know, there are two pieces of legislation pending with the Pennsylvania General Assembly that will establish in statute the Commonwealth's successful Industry Partnership program.
  • In March, House Bill 2230 passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously.
  • On June 16, 2010, Senator Mike Brubaker introduced Senate Bill 1409, a nearly identical bill, which passed the Senate's Labor & Industry Committee unanimously. This Senate bill now awaits action by the full Senate in the Fall.

PathWays PA is sending this special e-alert today to ask you to take a minute to visit workforcepa.com and participate actively in getting the Industry Partnership legislation over the finish line.

What are Industry Partnerships?
  • 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.
  • In addition to developing cost-effective training, Industry Partnerships provide critical intelligence about the skill needs of local businesses; develop common curricula, certifications and career ladders; and provide a forum through which employers learn from each other how to improve organizational practices and increase competitiveness.
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.

For more facts on the Industry Partnership program and for ways that you can support it, please visit www.workforcepa.com.  Also, please take a look at our video on how employers and workers in Delaware County have benefited from the Industry Partnership program.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Take Action for Responsible Taxes

(from our friends at the Coalition for Human Needs)

As soon as next week the Senate will begin debating a bill that will permanently extend tax cuts for middle class Americans earning below $250,000/year. We must act now to ensure that members of Congress hear the voices of those who support a responsible tax policy. To this aim, Americans for Responsible Taxes has organized a week of action designed to put pressure on the Senate to support middle class tax cuts and oppose giveaways to the wealthiest costing us $700 billion over the decade ($1 trillion including interest costs).

The message is simple:
  • Pass tax cuts for the middle class and working families, as the President has proposed, and let the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% expire.
  • We critically need the $700 billion savings this would create to invest in jobs, protect important programs like Social Security and begin to pay down the long term deficit.
  • Don't hold tax cuts for the middle class hostage to an attempt to give more breaks to the wealthy.

Participate in two key actions:
  • National Call-in Day on Thursday 9/16: Simply follow this link to click on an icon that calls your Congressional office!
  • Email Campaign to Congressional Offices: Follow this link to send a letter to your Senator asking them to support tax cuts for the middle class while ending them for the wealthy.
More information on all events and resources for the week of action are available on the Americans for Responsible Taxes website.

Coverage of Unemployment Modernization Press Conference

GROUPS URGE PASSAGE OF UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BILL

A coalition of groups representing organized labor, community legal services, disability rights advocates, advocates for domestic violence survivors and others called on the members of the General Assembly to immediately consider House Bill 2400. The legislation would amend Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Law to allow the Commonwealth to qualify for $273 million of federal funds made available under the federal Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act.
To read more, visit the PLS Eye Opener for September 15.

Retire PA - Pennsylvania Treasury’s Retirement Security Initiative

Saving for retirement is a financial challenge for all of us. This challenge grows bigger every year, and it demands attention in family rooms and boardrooms all across the Commonwealth.

As shown in the Pennsylvania Elder Economic Security Standard, a PathWays PA publication that measures the cost of living for older adults, retiring and being able to “age in place” is truly expensive. Depending on housing, health, and other circumstances, elders living along in Pennsylvania need between $14,012 and $23,386 a year just to cover their basic living costs. Even though Social Security is not enough to cover just the basic costs, one out of four retired elders in Pennsylvania rely on it as their only source of income.

Far too many Pennsylvanians are in danger of experiencing an economically insecure retirement. It is time to speak honestly about this difficult subject – the goal of Retire PA, a Pennsylvania Treasury Retirement Security Initiative, is to open this dialogue important to all of us.

Women, in particular, should visit Retire PA as they are at greater financial risk in retirement and may not recognize that risk early enough. On average, women make less money than men and take 13 years off from paid work during their careers - usually to care for others. As a result, women's retirement savings, pensions, and Social Security payments are often tragically inadequate. Women also live longer and are roughly three times more likely than men to fall into poverty for the first time in retirement.

No matter what set of financial circumstances you face, you can save something for retirement. Retire PA offers the resources on to encourage all Pennsylvanians to save a little, save a lot, save something for retirement.

Support the Marcellus Shale Severance Tax

(from our friends at the SEPA Budget Coalition and Better Choices for Pennsylvania)

As the Pennsylvania House and Senate come back into session, the House is making plans to debate a severance tax on natural gas.  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 alone 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..

House members are debating the structure of the tax. It is important that education, health and human service groups weigh in to remind our representatives that kids, seniors and people with disabilities should not be forgotten in this debate.

We are asking you to support the following:
  • A strong severance tax that does not include unnecessary exemptions and loopholes
  • A fair allocation for critical public services supported through the General Fund.
  • The $70 million promised by the Governor to avoid further cuts.

There are a few ways you can get engaged:
  • Add your organization's name to this sign-on letter if you have not already done so (You can sign-on by contacting the SEPA Budget Coalition by email or phone ((215) 563-5848 x 16))
  • Call your legislators next Monday and Tuesday as the House prepares to vote on a Shale bill.
  • Join one of the rallies that are being planned across the state to focus on the budget.

For more information on the Severance Tax, please read the resources provided by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

Listen to our Unemployment Modernization Press Conference

Did you miss our press conference on unemployment modernization yesterday featuring Carol Goertzel from PathWays PA and Sharon Dietrich from CLS? If so, you can listen here, and then take action below!

 image courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:IPod_earphones.jpg

Does Your Community Have Inadequate Access to Full-Service Grocery Stores?

For roughly 23 million Americans, access to supermarkets is severely limited. TRF, a leader in neighborhood revitalization, has been working to improve fresh food access in underserved communities. TRF provides financing for supermarkets and other grocery stores that plan to operate in underserved communities across the Mid-Atlantic. By improving the retail food landscape in these communities, TRF’s programs provide families with increased access to fresh, more affordable foods.

TRF along with PolicyMap is offering data on the areas with low access to full-service grocery stores, or Low Access Areas (LAA).

This includes:
  • LAA location at the Census block group level
  • Average LAA score
  • Number of limited service stores in the LAA
  • Percentage of grocery retail expenditure leakage in the LAA
  • How LAA areas compare to non-LAA areas
 You can overlay these areas on any of publicly available information such as demographics, income, health, crime and more to learn more about the nature of these areas.

Also, you can find more information on TRF’s customized research and data analysis and on their efforts to improve food access in underserved communities.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Come Learn About New Health Care Reform Provisions Going into Effect Next Week


Ending pre-existing condition clauses for children, banning lifetime limits and that practice of insurance companies rescinding care...

All these provisions and more go into effect next week - six months after the passage of health care reform.

Join the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN) for an event on Monday September 20th at 1:00 PM at the Arch Street Methodist Church. Speakers with include:
  • Senator Robert Casey
  • Ron Pollack, Executive Founding Director of Families USA and 
  • Joanne Grossi, Region 3 Director US Department of Health and Human Services

PHAN is proud to welcome all three for what promises to be an exciting event! These dynamic speakers will take you through the significant changes to our health care system you should expect to be seeing soon.

And if you're one of the thousands of Pennsylvanians that worked last year to help make these reforms a reality, be sure to come on Monday to show your support!

Doors open at 12:30 PM on Monday, September 20th at the Arch Street Methodist Church, 55 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia 19107.

Space is limited - RSVP today to Athena at aford@pahealthaccess.org.

There will be an opportunity for questions, so bring any you may have and come ready to learn.

Do you have a story about how the new provisions will benefit you, your family or your business? Share it with PHAN today

Ask Your Representative to Join the New Adult Literacy Caucus!

(From our friends at the National Coalition for Literacy)

A new caucus has been created in the House of Representatives.  The Adult Literacy Caucus, sponsored by Congressman Dan Maffei, is looking for members interested in adult literacy and education.

Congressional caucuses provide ways that Congresspeople can advance causes that are important to them. A House caucus is a group of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives who share something in common, whether personal (ex: the Congressional Hispanic Caucus), related to a district’s needs (ex: the Congressional Rural Caucus) or about House Members’ interests or concerns, like the new Adult Literacy Caucus.

Now that Congressman Maffei has formed the House Adult Literacy Caucus, please ask your House Member to participate.
  • You can locate your House Member’s contact information using ProLiteracy’s or TESOL’s interactive map.
  • Contact your U.S. Representative’s office. Ask to speak to the staff member in charge of adult education issues. Let the staff person know that there is a new Adult Literacy Caucus in the House, sponsored by Congressman Dan Maffei.
  • Ask the staff person if your Representative will join the Adult Literacy Caucus to help advance adult literacy issues in the U.S. and internationally. Find out if the staff person would like a copy of the Dear Colleague letter which contains information about joining the Adult Literacy Caucus.
  • Be sure to follow up in a couple of days to learn of your Representative’s decision.
Are you in Congressman Maffei’s Congressional district? If so, contact his office to thank him for sponsoring the House Adult Literacy Caucus.

Report Back: Will your Representative join the House Adult Literacy Caucus? Let NCL know by commenting in the Comment box or emailing Jackie Taylor, NCL Public Policy Committee Co-Chair .

Celebrate National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week!


Take a moment to write to your legislator for Adult Education and Family Literacy Week!

During this recession, every penny counts as Pennsylvanians search for family-sustaining employment. However, penny-wise can be pound-foolish when it comes to funding the programs Pennsylvanians need to find those jobs.

Eighty percent of jobs in today’s economy require some form of education beyond high school. Since more than 750,000 adults in Pennsylvania (age 18-64) lack a high school diploma or GED, the only means they have of attaining these jobs is through adult education classes.

However, over the past two years, the budget allocation for adult literacy has decreased by 50%. Meanwhile, GED classes are filling more quickly than ever. Even though the fiscal year just began in July, many counties have run out of space in their programs and begun waiting lists.

If you support adult literacy, please write to your legislators today to let them know!

Monday, September 13, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: September 13, 2010

Still Time to RSVP to PathWays PA’s Release of "Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges"

PathWays PA is proud to announce a forum focused on the needs of Pennsylvania's workforce and the role community colleges can play within that workforce. The forum is based on a report from PathWays PA 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. "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.

In addition to discussing this report, participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about workforce development and community colleges from around the country. Vickie Choitz, Senior Policy Analyst at CLASP, will be speaking at this forum to highlight national research and information crucial to this important topic. Brandon Roberts, President of Brandon Roberts + Associates (which manages the national Working Poor Families Project) will also be on hand to discuss information on working low-income families.

RSVP here or by contacting Kate Scully at 610-543-5022 x255 or at kscully@pathwayspa.org.

Paid Work Experience for 18-24 Year Olds

PathWays PA is excited to offer a program for 18-24 year olds where they can get paid work experience at Goodwill stores or healthcare facilities. The paid work experience is guarantee for 8 weeks but may extend until May 2011.
The program includes:
  • Work Readiness training
  • Skills building
  • Educational support/training
  • Resume writing
  • Workplace communication skills
For more information, please contact Pamela Reid at 610-543-5022.

Federal

Organizations: Sign letter to support the Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act

On July 28, the Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act (H.R. 5894) was introduced in the House of Representatives. This legislation is aimed at improving high school graduation rates and access to postsecondary educational and career opportunities for pregnant and parenting students.

The legislation will set up a grant program to provide needed funds to states and local school districts. Among other things, grantees will be expected to offer academic support and related services to pregnant and parenting students, to designate a coordinator to oversee the education of pregnant and parenting students, and to revise school policies to remove barriers, some of which discriminate based on pregnancy in violation of Title IX.

If your organization supports this bill, please sign a letter to help ensure that pregnant and parenting students have equal access to educational opportunity.

Sign On: Support Funding Increases for Child Care, Head Start, and Early Learning

Investing in child care, Head Start, and early learning supports the well-being of women and their families as well as the successful development of young children. Over the past few months, the National Women’s Law Center has had some important victories in the House and Senate appropriations processes. But they have not quite crossed the finish line yet. The full support of the early learning community is needed in the final stretch.

If you represent an organization, please join their group sign-on letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and urge your networks to sign as well.

The letter urges the Committees to preserve critical child care and early learning supports by including increased funding for these initiatives in the final FY 2011 appropriations measure. These programs help families work, give children access to stable child care arrangements and early learning opportunities, and keep classrooms open. Yet, these programs fall far short of reaching all of the children and families who could benefit due to inadequate funding.

Please sign on by September 20 to make sure your voice is heard on the Hill.

State

Support Earned Sick Time in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia

Over 2.2 million Pennsylvania workers have no earned sick time, and a majority of employees without this benefit work in food service and care giving positions. When workers without earned sick time are sick, they have to choose between going to work – where they could potentially infect co-workers or customers – and staying home – where they will lose pay and possibly their jobs.

The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces has come together to advocate for legislation in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia that would provide workers with a minimum number of paid sick time that employees can earn. The Coalition has a number of ways you can be involved:

To learn more about this issue please visit the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces’ Blog at http://earnedsicktime.blogspot.com/.

Information/Events

PA Fair Care – Still Accepting Applications

As part of the national health insurance reform, Pennsylvania now has an insurance program for uninsured individuals who have pre-existing medical conditions. The program has been accepting applications since August 5th and there is still room for more applicants.

PA Fair Care offers a broad range of benefits that include preventive care, physician services, diagnostic testing, hospitalization, mental health services and prescription medications. Subsidized premiums are $283.20 a month, plus additional co-pays and coinsurance.

To be eligible for PA Fair Care, applicants must:
  • Be a US citizen or lawful resident
  • Be a Pennsylvania resident
  • Have a pre-existing condition
  • Be uninsured for the previous six months

For info, visit www.pafaircare.com or call, toll-free, 1-888-767-7015.

How to Talk about the Budget

Do you want to learn how to talk about the state budget? Come to a lunch hosted by Sharon Ward and the Better Choices Coalition.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 22, 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

The lunch will feature nationally-recognized experts on budget messaging from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Analytics Institute, a research institute affiliated with the federal AFL-CIO.
  • Get tips and practice talking about your own organization's work effectively
  • Share in a dialogue about how to shift the political climate around budget issues
  • Lay the groundwork to head off deep cuts next year

Before the lunch, come to a Rally in the State Capital Rotunda that will begin at noon. The lunch will immediately follow the Rally and will be held across the street at Pennsylvania State Education Association office, 400 N. Third Street, Harrisburg.

Please RSVP by Monday, Sept 20 to Kate Atkins at sepabudget@gmail.com or (215) 563-5848 x 16.

Register Now for the Building Bridges to Economic Security Regional Meetings

Wider Opportunities for Women's (WOW) invites you to register now for the Building Bridges to Economic Security regional meeting nearest you. Registration is free, but space is limited.

WOW's regional meetings will feature acute insights on how Americans are thinking about the economy, work, retirement - all the pillars of the American Dream - and what that means for advocates. Participants will choose from four policy workshops each led by national and local experts.
We encourage you to spread the word and register today! If you have any questions, please contact Kelly Stellrecht.