Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Special Budget Alert - February 29, 2012

After three weeks of examining the state budget, organizations and coalitions across the state have had some time to weigh in.  

County commissioners are among the many groups to have differing views on the budget, mostly centered around the Human Services Development Fund Block Grant, which will combine funding for 7 different programs into a single block grant.  The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania has endorsed this choice, as have Chester County Commissioners.  However, cuts made as part of the block grants seem worrying to some: according to the Patriot-News, Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick III is concerned with the cut in mental health services, saying “Literally, people could be turned out on the street. They could end up in prison or worse.”  The York Daily Record/Sunday News reports that commissioners are concerned that the governor’s budget proposal puts “county officials statewide in a position where they have to either make drastic cuts for the people who are most vulnerable, or raise county taxes.”

Meanwhile, nonprofit organizations have been asking legislators to restore cuts made in the Governor’s budget when they release their own budget proposals.  In Allegheny County, a rally focused on closing tax loopholes and deferring tax cuts to prevent cuts to agencies.  Joan Benso, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, used an op-ed to focus on how budget cuts will affect Pennsylvania’s children for years to come. And last week, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center held a summit to discuss the budget and its impacts.

Short Links to Big Issues

Events and Opportunities
Support the General Assistance Program

PA Cares for All is looking for organizations who want to sign on to a letter to save the General Assistance program. General Assistance is a last-resort program providing extremely meager benefits to 68,000 Pennsylvanians with no income.  There is no other safety net for its recipients:  if someone is able to work or has another source of income, she is ineligible for GA.  The overwhelming majority of recipients are disabled; most of these people are applying for federal SSI disability benefits that will reimburse the Commonwealth once approved.  GA also provides a lifeline to women escaping domestic violence.  It supports people in intensive drug or alcohol treatment programs.  And GA supports caregivers and children unable to live with their families.


If you wish to sign on to this letter, please do so by the end of the week by emailing Louise Hayes at LHayes@clsphila.org.  You can also sign an online letter at www.pacaresforall.org.


PA Budgetwatch Town Hall Meeting on March 9

The United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties will host a PA Budgetwatch Town Hall Meeting on March 9 in the Koppelman Auditorium of the Jewish Community Center (601 Jefferson Ave., Scranton) from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.  

The panelists confirmed to date are:
  • William Browning, Director, Lackawanna County Human Services
  • Michael Hanley, Executive Director, United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania
  • Tony Ross, President, United Way of Pennsylvania
  • Peg Ruddy, Executive Director, Women's Resource Center
Learn how current state budget cuts are impacting social services in the region and the implications of further budgetary shortfalls on the service infrastructure in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Download the event flyer.
RSVP here or by calling (570) 343-1267 x221

A Conversation With Our Legislators

The Bucks County Women's Advocacy Coalition and the BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship invite you to attend “A Conversation With Our Legislators: PA Budget Challenges and Opportunities for Women and Girls” on Friday, March 30 from 8-10 a.m.  This year they will be presenting various perspectives on the PA Budget Challenges and Opportunities for Women and Girls.

This event will include leading fiscal policy expert Sharon Ward who will provide an analysis of what's at stake for women and girls in Governor Tom Corbett's second budget proposal.  Noted labor economist Mark Price of the Keystone Research Center will discuss the direction of the state's economy, with a particular focus on how working and low-income women are faring. Coalition partners will discuss the impacts of our current financial realities on women and girls in Bucks County.  Several of our local legislators will also speak about what they see as the opportunities and challenges in the 2012 PA State Budget.

Please join this event on Friday, March 30, 2012 from 8-10 a.m. at BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2040 Street Road (Routes 611 and 132), Warrington, PA. Please forward this invitation to anyone interested in the well-being of women and girls in Bucks County.

Click here to RSVP. For more information about the event, please send an email to convo2012@bcwac.org.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

6th Annual WOMENomics Forum

We Can Do It!The purpose of the WOMENomics Forum is to bring together women of all ages to help identify women's economic issues and get practical, innovative ideas to improve quality of life.

  • Keynote Speaker, Polly R. Moore, Esquire, "Women Finding Their Voice in the Workplace and Being Heard"
  • Panel Presenters: Joslyn G. Ewart and Christine Potter, "Ease and Financial Security for Life's Transitions" and "Extreme Couponing"
  • Breakout Sessions include "Social Networking in the Workplace," "How to Get a Job in Today's Market," "Money Management 101-How to Plan a Better Retirement," "Give Yourself Good Credit," and "Eating Healthy on the Go."

Saturday, March 24, 2012
8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Registration and coffee
8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Program and Continental Breakfast

Towne House
117 Veteran's Square
Media, PA 19063

RSVP by March 17, 2012
Click here for details, registration and directions.

Sponsored By
Friends of the Delaware County Women's Commission, Delaware County BPW, Delaware County Women's Commission, The Center Foundation, PathWays PA, Delaware County Council, Women's Resource Center

Dental Care Access Among Children in Southeastern Pennsylvania

From our friends at PHENND.
Access to dental care remains an important issue as more than 25 percent of children in the United States between the ages of two and five are affected by tooth decay; this figure increases to over fifty percent among children 12 to 15 years old. Additionally, approximately 16% of children ages 6 to 19 went untreated for dental caries due to lack of dental care access.

In recognition of February as National Children’s Dental Health Month, Public Health Management Corporation has published a report highlighting data from PHMC’s Community Health Data Base’s 2010 Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) Household Health Survey on dental care access of children between the ages of 4 and 17 in the region.

To read the report, go here: http://www.chdbdata.org/datafindings-details.asp?id=97

Alternative Staffing Organizations: Finding the Right Fit for Workers and Employers

From our friends at INSIGHT and NNSP.
Join us for a free webinar this Thursday, March 1
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM Pacific / 2:00 - 3:30 PM Eastern
"How do alternative staffing organizations help low-wage workers gain employment?"
"What are the outcomes of alternative staffing organizations?"
"How do alternative staffing organizations function as business enterprises?"
"How can workforce development organizations incorporate alternative staffing into their service delivery model?"
This webinar provides an opportunity for sector initiatives and others to learn about alternative staffing organizations (ASOs), which use a fee-for-service model to help unemployed job-seekers gain employment. Like sector initiatives, ASOs serve as intermediaries in their local labor markets, providing supports and opportunities for job-seekers while becoming trusted sources of employees for their business customers.
In the webinar, staff from Goodwill Staffing Services in Austin, Texas will describe the services they provide to businesses and job-seekers, and will discuss how their operations have developed as well as how those operations fit within a larger organization that provides other workforce development and social enterprise programs. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Boston will describe results from their study of the Alternative Staffing Demonstration II and provide an overview of worker outcomes related to their alternative staffing work experience. Staff from the National Network of Sector Partners (NNSP) will share examples of sector initiatives around the country that are incorporating an alternative staffing model into their operations.
Panelists include:
Brandynn Holgate, Center for Social Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston
Rudy Herrera and Danie White, Goodwill Staffing Services (Austin, TX)
Jim Torrens, Insight Center for Community Economic Development, National Network of Sector Partners (NNSP)
Throughout, we will take your questions and comments, for a highly-interactive and relevant session. There is no cost to participate, but long-distance phone rates may apply.
To reserve your place, go to: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/795668918. After registering you will receive a confirmation e-mail with information about joining the webinar.

Monday, February 27, 2012

PathWays PA E-Alert: February 27, 2012

State

Call-to-Action for Public Education

In February, Governor Corbett gave his Budget Address and cemented the $900 million dollar cuts he gave to public education funding.  These cuts have lead to increases in class size, the closure of school buildings, the elimination of successful programs such as full-day kindergarten and tutoring and the loss of many instructional and support staff, who teach and take care of students. On March 5, Education Voters of Pennsylvania will hold a Call-to-Action day to encourage individuals to share their thoughts on education cuts with legislators.

To learn more and to participate, please visit http://www.educationvoterspa.org/index.php/site/news/call-to-action-for-public-education11/.

Funding for Emergency Mortgage Assistance

The issue of the Homeowner’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) is becoming very prominent in Harrisburg and the news media at this time. The Governor’s budget includes no funding for HEMAP, a loan program for homeowners in danger of losing their homes. However, the state is getting $69 million from the federal Attorney General’s settlement with the big mortgage companies, which gives an opening to secure HEMAP funds. Both Republicans and Democrats are pressing for these funds to go to HEMAP (http://standardspeaker.com/news/bipartisan-support-in-senate-for-housing-aid-1.1274338#axzz1nK9zSqW1).

The funds come to PA Attorney General Linda Kelly whose web page has a link to email her with comments on the funding.  You can email her with your feelings regarding the funds by clicking this link: MortgageForeclosureSettlement@attorneygeneral.gov.

You can also contact your elected officials to urge them to support reopening HEMAP with these federal foreclosure prevention funds. Find contact information for your Senator and Representative at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/#address.

From our friends at PA Council of Churches and PUP

Go to Harrisburg with the Housing Alliance!

The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania is going to Harrisburg on Wednesday, March 7, to visit legislators to ask them not to cut homelessness prevention, but instead maintain the safety net for the most vulnerable people and keep what works - proven, cost-effective housing programs.

The Housing Alliance will organize the meetings, accompany participants and provide materials. Just show up with stories about what works in your hometown.  Click here to sign up, then show up.

Can’t make it to Harrisburg on March 7th? Click here and the Housing Alliance will work with you on local visits, closer to home and just as effective.

Federal

Mending the Safety Net - HR 32, the Homeless Children and Youth Act

The City of Philadelphia gets calls every day from families looking for emergency housing and has to turn them away.  Hundreds -- if not thousands -- of Philadelphia families are living doubled up or running away to another county to flee their abuser.  In fact, 60% of the families in one domestic violence shelter in suburban Philadelphia are from Philadelphia because there is not enough emergency housing or prevention services here in the city.

HR 32 is bi-partisan legislation that amends the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of homelessness to include children, youth, and their families who are verified as homeless by four federal programs: school district liaisons, Head Start programs, Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs, and early intervention programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part C. If enacted into law, HR 32 would eliminate HUD's regulatory obstacles to homeless children and youth qualifying for essential HUD services and would facilitate referrals of homeless children and youth for these services. HR 32 also would ensure that homeless children, youth, and their families are counted as homeless.

To get more information on HR 32 and the information supporting the proposal, view a new website created by the organizers at http://helphomelesskidsnow.org/take-action/

HR 32 now moves on for consideration by the House Financial Services Committee. Regardless of whether or not your U.S. Representative is on the full committee, if you support this bill, you can urge your Representative to sign on to HR 32 as a co-sponsor.  Find your Congressional House member and email addresses here.

From our friends at PEC

Send a Letter to Legislators if You Support Paid Family Leave

The arrival of a new child should be a time of pure celebration. Sadly, for millions of working parents in the United States without paid family leave, the joyous occasion can be short-lived. When a new child arrives, many of these parents have to make an impossible choice between taking the first few critical weeks off of work to bond with their new child, or returning to work in order to keep their job and protect their family's economic security.

If you think America's working parents and their children deserve better, you can sign a letter from MomsRising and send it to your legislators.   Find the letter at http://action.momsrising.org/sign/pfl_petition/?rd=1&t=3&referring_akid=3135.197376.WaODr9.

Supporting Clean Air

While the EPA is getting ready to release final regulations regarding the amount of mercury and other pollutants allowed in the air, some members of Congress have introduced legislation revoking these standards.  If you support the decision to regulate these pollutants, The Union of Concerned Scientists has created a letter you can send to Congress at  https://secure3.convio.net/ucs/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=3225.

Information/Events


A Conversation With Our Legislators

The Bucks County Women's Advocacy Coalition and the BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship invite you to attend “A Conversation With Our Legislators: PA Budget Challenges and Opportunities for Women and Girls” on Friday, March 30 from 8-10 a.m.  This year they will be presenting various perspectives on the PA Budget Challenges and Opportunities for Women and Girls.

This event will include leading fiscal policy expert Sharon Ward who will provide an analysis of what's at stake for women and girls in Governor Tom Corbett's second budget proposal.  Noted labor economist Mark Price of the Keystone Research Center will discuss the direction of the state's economy, with a particular focus on how working and low-income women are faring. Coalition partners will discuss the impacts of our current financial realities on women and girls in Bucks County.  Several of our local legislators will also speak about what they see as the opportunities and challenges in the 2012 PA State Budget.

Please join this event on Friday, March 30, 2012 from 8-10 a.m. at BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2040 Street Road (Routes 611 and 132), Warrington, PA. Please forward this invitation to anyone interested in the well-being of women and girls in Bucks County.

Click here to RSVP. For more information about the event, please send an email to convo2012@bcwac.org.

Town Hall Meeting on TXT 4 HELP

National Safe Place will be holding an online Town Hall meeting on March 13, 2012, regarding their TXT 4 HELP service and the latest updates to it, which will include Spanish availability.

TXT 4 HELP is a nationwide service offered by Safe Place to help teens connect to the closest location where they can get immediate help and safety. If a teen is in a crisis, s/he can text the word SAFE and current location (address/city/state) to the number 69866. National Safe Place will  text back an address of the nearest Safe Place site and contact number for the local youth shelter. In cities that don’t have a Safe Place program, the teen will receive the name and number of the nearest youth shelter. If there is no local shelter or safe place, the teen will be referred to the National Runaway Switchboard Hotline Number ,1-800-RUNAWAY.

To sign up for the Town Hall, please visit http://nationalsafeplace.ilinc.com/perl/ilinc/lms/register.pl?activity_id=bfpxrcw&user_id=.

A Millionaire’s Tax and the Economy

February 29, 2012, 10:30am – 11:15am
Watch Live Online

Featured speakers:
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse(D-RI)
Jason Furman, Deputy Director, National Economic Council
Michael Ettlinger, Vice President for Economic Policy, Center for American Progress Action Fund
Moderated by:
Tom Perriello, President and Chief Executive Officer, Center for American Progress Action Fund

A new bill by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the Paying a Fair Share Act, would end a tax policy that often asks middle-class workers to pay higher tax rates than millionaires. Please join Sen. Whitehouse, National Economic Council Deputy Director Jason Furman, and Michael Ettlinger, Center for American Progress Action Fund Vice President for Economic Policy, for a candid conversation on these important issues. The discussion will be moderated by Center for American Progress Action Fund President and CEO Tom Perriello.

The event will begin promptly at 10:30 a.m.

Washington DC Lobby Day on March 28

The People’s Emergency Center, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, and other groups will be traveling to Washington, DC, on March 28 to educate members of Pennsylvania’s Congressional Delegation.  For more infomration, contact Joe Willard at jwillard@pec-cares.org, or the Housing Alliance's Joyce Sacco at Joyce@housingalliancepa.org.

Policy Resolution on Women and HIV/AIDS

The Center for Women Policy Studies is proud to share with all of its global colleagues and friends the Policy Resolution on Women and HIV/AIDS prepared by the women state legislators who participated in our 2011 National Summit for State Legislators on Women and HIV/AIDS:  “Fighting For our Lives” in the 21st Century – Promoting Woman-Centered HIV/AIDS Policy.

They invite everyone to endorse the Resolution by sending an email to: cwps@centerwomenpolicy.org

They will publish the final list of endorsing individuals and organizations prior to the upcoming International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Meet the Artists and Craftspeople Who Will Be At The PathWays PA Art Show April 1!


This is just a partial listing of the many great artists and craftspeople who will be displaying their items at the PathWays PA Art Show on April 1.  Please join us - tickets are just $10, or $25 if you want to join us for our VIP Champagne Preview!  Examples of some of the artwork is in the flyer below.

  • Andrea Agresta: Andrea’s art incorporates her adoration and respect for animals as well as a love for color and design. Working from photographs, she enjoys using several methods of applying acrylic paint on stretched canvas. Andrea has exhibited in juried shows at the Wayne Art Center, the Chester County Art Association and the Montgomery County Guild of Professional Artists. 
  • Ana Delia McCormack: Ana is a fine artist whose work is influenced by her native country of Venezuela as well as the Chiaroscuro style of the old masters. She uses warm colors and high contrast of values technique to create beautiful pieces of art. 
  • Brian Hearns: Brian’s artistic style is contemporary Orphism inspired by Sonia Delaunay and Kandinsky. A member of the Chester County Art Association, Brian is committed to the world of art through painting, sculpture and poetry. His inspiration is the foundation of his family, music and changing the lives of children.
  • Carol Schaeffer: Carol paints in oil, mainly landscapes of Newtown Square and surrounding areas. A member of the Newtown Square Historical Preservation Society, Carol has served on the Board of Artists’ Guild of Delaware County and the Art League. She shows at many art shows in the area and has received ribbons at several. 
  • Cathy Peluso: Cathy has been in a variety of shows over the years, including the Rittenhouse Square Fine Arts show in Philadelphia and the Project Children Show in West Chester. She loves painting animals, flowers and people. Cathy uses both watercolor and acrylic, and describes her style as realistic with a twist.
  • Dane Tilghman: Dane is one of the premier painters of African American art. Collectors of Dane’s artwork include notables such as Dave Winfield, Nelson Mandela, Bill Cosby, the estate of Ossie Davis, Nabisco Corporation and Astra-Zeneca. Dane’s work is also on display at Turner Field in Atlanta and Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia. 
  • Judy Fox: With a strong love for nature and everything that grows, Judy attempts to capture color and form on paper and canvas. Traveling has greatly widened the scope of her subject matter. Judy is currently a member of the Philadelphia Sketch Club and the Plastic Club. 
  • Linda Turoczi: Linda is a plein air painter in the impressionist style who spends her time painting in Truro, MA and East Coventry, PA. She paints and exhibits with Joan Hopkins Coughlin of The Golden Cod Gallery, The Truro Group, The Wayne Art Association and The Delaware County Art Association.
  • Madeleine Kelly: Madeleine is an artist and an educator who enjoys working with all mediums, particularly pastels and oils. She has been featured in American Artist and her work can be found in private collections throughout the U.S. Madeleine is a signature member of the Philadelphia Watercolor Society and the Maryland Pastel Society. 
  • Marie Harris: Marie primarily works in oils, acrylics, watercolor and pastels. She enjoys painting flowers, landscapes, city & travel scenes, still life, portraits, people in settings and abstracts. Marie is a board member of Delaware Valley Art League and an associate member of the Philadelphia Watercolor Society.
  • Martin May: Marty specializes in finely detailed pen and ink of wildlife and historic buildings, as well as pet, private home and commercial building portraits. Marty’s work can be found in galleries and shows throughout the United States as well as in private and corporate collections throughout North America, Europe and China. His art has won numerous awards and has been published in books, sporting magazines and newspapers.
  • Nick Santoleri: Nick is nationally recognized for the rich detail and realistic style of his watercolors. His port¬folio includes landscapes, still-life and portraits in watercolor, oil, pencil as well as pen and ink. Nick is a member of the Philadelphia Sketch Club and continues to develop his artistic talent with classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
  • Rob Savage: Rob’s work includes landscapes and floral depictions in a “Fauvist” style. He has been honored with numerous awards and has been recognized by many juried exhibits. Rob is a current member of the Chester County Art Association, past president of the Narberth Art Association and past member of the Delaware County Artist Guild.
  • Rinal Parikh: Rinal’s art reflects the heritage and vibrant culture of her native India. She has exhibited at The Creative Living Room in Swarthmore, Swarthmore Borough Hall and the Tyme Gallery in Havertown. Rinal is treasurer of Swarthmore Friends of Arts and a member of the Media Art Council; she also teaches children’s and adult watercolor classes in Swarthmore.
  • Veronica Gledhill: Veronica’s artistic style is expressionistic realism. Her work reflects a range of experience as her choice of painting subjects can be the still beauty of a person, place, object, abstract expression or a sometimes stark allegorical image.
  • Anita DiPietro: Anita creates unique, contemporary jewelry designs with an earthy, organic flair. Her jewelry is fabricated from sterling silver, copper, brass, semi-precious stones, glass, fossils and sometimes found objects. All pieces are hand crafted using traditional metal working techniques.
  • Markels Roberts: Markels owns the Diving Cat Studio and Gallery in Phoenixville, PA, where she creates pottery and glass art and jewelry. When sculpting, she enjoys working with earthenware, red clay, stoneware and porcelain. Markels also creates original jewelry using Italian glass from Murano.
  • Robert Grieb: Bob is a PathWays PA board member who creates photographic art. His work ranges from photography to watercolors and paintings. Bob rarely travels anywhere without his camera and enjoys creating art from the everyday inspirations that surround him.
  • Chris Kendig: Chris is an independent freelance photographer whose work has been published in numerous magazines, catalogs, websites and advertisements. By applying his photographic training rooted in the artistic, documentary and photojournalism traditions, Chris uses the camera as a tool for investigating the incredible world around him.



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Event to Discuss Welfare and the People Who Need It

Witnesses to Hunger and the Center for Hunger Free Communities is holding a panel discussion on "Perceptions of the Welfare System and the People Who Use It."

WHEN: Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 4:00pm
Martin Luther King Jr. Room
Third floor at the Friends Center
1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

This panel will be moderated by the Center's Director, Dr. Mariana Chilton, and will feature four panelists: Cynthia Chen, second-year Master's in Public Health student at Drexel University School of Public Health; Bianca Lacey, Legislative Aide to to Rep. Bob Brady, Joel Levin, Supervisor, Department of Public Welfare, and Angela Sutton, participant and Advisory Board Co-Chair of Witnesses to Hunger.

Through this panel they hope to discuss the common perceptions of the welfare system, its caseworkers and beneficiaries and how these perceptions are affected by and effect welfare and other policy.

Also be sure to check out their latest blog post, "The Importance of General Assistance", that discusses the tremendous value of general assistance funding, currently facing complete elimination in next year's PA budget, to some of the most vulnerable individuals- the disabled, domestic violence survivors, individuals recovering from addiction, caregivers of the elderly and children, and children who live with unrelated adults.

Join Us for Art That Gives Back: PathWays PA's 5th Annual Art Show



Sunday, April 1, 2012
VIP Champagne Preview: 1-2PM
Honoring Senator Dominic Pileggi, Senate Majority Leader
General Admission: 2-5PM

Drexelbrook Corporate Events Center
4700 Drexelbrook Drive
Drexel Hill, PA 19026

Wine, cheese, and chocolate will be provided.

Monday, February 20, 2012

PathWays PA E-Alert: February 20, 2012

Federal Policy Updates

PRESIDENT’S BUDGET PLAN EMPHASIZES INVESTMENTS IN CHILDREN 

President Barack Obama recently unveiled a 2013 federal budget that bolsters investments in children, with an emphasis on early childhood and K-12 education.

Overall, the president’s budget invests an additional $1.4 billion in programs that benefit children, a modest increase of less than 2 percent over the current year’s budget. His budget plan calls for:
  • $6 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, an $825 million increase (in discretionary and mandatory spending) that will serve an additional 70,000 kids and build on the progress of the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge.
  • $8 billion for Head Start, an $85 million increase.
  • $12.4 billion – a $20 million increase – for special education funding under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • Level funding of $14.5 billion for Title I grants to aid economically disadvantaged students.
  • $850 million for Race to the Top to continue pursuing innovations in education.
The budget proposal also calls for the establishment of a $5 billion competitive grant program to help states and school districts reinvigorate the teaching profession. The goals include building educator evaluation systems that rely on multiple measures to gauge teacher effectiveness and expanding professional development opportunities for teachers.

If you support these programs contact your members of Congress and ask them to do the same.

From our friends at PCCY.

ACCESS TO CONTRACEPTION IS STILL UNDER ATTACK

Despite a compromise that would allow women, no matter who their employer is, to be provided with contraception without a co-pay, members of Congress have introduced four bills that would allow any employer to deny employees coverage of any health care service based on religious or moral objections. The four bills introduced nullify the contraceptive coverage rule issued under the authority of the Affordable Care Act’s preventive care requirement. Each of the four bills has additional elements:
  • S. 1467 and H.R. 3982 allow plans to refuse coverage for any essential health benefit, which would include maternity care, HIV/AIDS treatment, mammograms or cancer screenings;
  • S. 1467, H.R. 3982 and S. 2092 allow employers to refuse coverage on a broad definition of “moral” grounds, not just religious grounds;
  • H.R. 3982 would block the HHS regulation on preventive services from going into effect at all.
These proposals undermine the fundamental goal of the ACA -- to help more people be able to afford the services they need to stay healthy. If you disagree with these bills, let your members of Congress know that women, regardless of where we work, should have health care insurance that covers the services they need.

WAYS TO TAKE ACTION ON THE NEED FOR EQUAL PAY

Today, women are still earning 77 cents on the dollar that men earn. If you would like that to change there are a several things you can do to help support pay equity.
  • Talk to Congress about the Paycheck Fairness Act: The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in current equal pay legislation and prevent employers from retaliating against workers who voluntarily discuss their pay. You can contact Congress at http://bit.ly/yHmU62 or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
  • Do a Pay Equity Self-Audit: Take the time to make sure your company is abiding by fair pay practices through this self-audit, available at http://bit.ly/c8p6Ca.
  • Talk to Women and Girls About Nontraditional Jobs: One reason for pay inequity is that women often end up in low-paying "pink collar" jobs. Peer pressure and family pressure are two of the factors that keep women out of nontraditional workforce. Encouraging women and girls to look into Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) jobs is a way to increase equity down the line, and the younger girls are when you talk to them, the better. For more information on green jobs for women, read this new publication by the Women's Bureau: Why Green is Your Color at http://1.usa.gov/wLkcUN.
State Policy Updates

HELP STOP HUNGER, REMOVE BARRIER TO FOOD STAMPS

Plans to implement an asset test requirement for the state’s food stamp recipients was recently announced in Pennsylvania. Beginning in May of 2012, people will need to prove that their assets (including savings' accounts and second cars) are below $5,500 ($9,000 for seniors) in order to receive food stamp benefits.
This policy will result in more than 4,000 families losing their food stamp benefits and likely create longer delays for people who desperately need food stamps.

Asset tests are rarely shown to be cost-effective, and Pennsylvania doesn't need them. The state has an extremely low rate of food stamp fraud at only one-tenth of one percent. That means for every $10 in federal SNAP benefits issued in Pennsylvania, only 1 penny is lost to fraud. As U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently noted, implementing these asset tests will cost more state money than it saves, forcing Pennsylvania to spend taxpayer dollars when we simply can't afford it.

If you do not want to see asset tests for food stamps in Pennsylvania, sign this petition urging the Governor and the Department of Public Welfare to halt the planned asset tests immediately.

HELP SAVE GENERAL ASSISTANCE

In February, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett proposed to completely eliminate the General Assistance (GA) program along with its automatic eligibility for Medical Assistance.

GA is a program of last resort for over 67,000 Pennsylvanians. It pays only $205/month in most counties. But it truly is a program of life or death.

To qualify for GA, you must be:
  • A disabled or sick adult without children,
  • A domestic violence survivor (many of these survivors have just fled their abusers ),
  • An adult caring for someone who is sick or disabled, or for an unrelated child,
  • An adult participating in alcohol and other drug treatment programs, or
  • A child living with an unrelated adult.
If you would like to help save General Assistance join PA Cares for All.

Information/Events

THE PRESIDENT’S BUDGET AND BEYOND: A PIVOTAL YEAR AHEAD

The Coalition on Human Needs is holding a webinar on the President’s budget. The budget includes a balance of new revenues and spending cuts, while leaving room for investments to spur economic growth. Some in Congress will propose big spending cuts alone. The debate over these choices will have a huge impact on service providers’ ability to meet human needs, and on the state of the economy for years to come. And all these federal choices will roll into a battle over spending, taxes, and services before, during, and after the election.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 4:00 - 5:00 PM EST

Register today!

DROP-IN VOLUNTEER TRAINING

A year ago, the Community Center at Visitation (CCV) established a Drop-In Program for women actively engaged in prostitution in the Kensington Neighborhood of Philadelphia. The Drop-In Program provides an opportunity to reach out to, connect, and build relationships with women in this vulnerable situation of prostitution, poverty, and, usually, homelessness in order to invite each woman to look toward a next positive.
The Drop-In Program is staffed primarily by committed volunteers and Social Work Interns and its basic supplies (a meal, hygiene products, and coats) are donated by other volunteers and center partners. In order to keep doing this incredible work more volunteers are needed. For those interested the in volunteering the Center is holding a training.

WHEN: Thursday, March 15 at 7:00

For more information or questions email jlittrell@chs-adphila.org or call 215-426-9422 ext. 34203.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Harrisburg Update

Smartboard 2010The House was in session this week, but Senate did not have any voting days using the week to conduct budget hearings. According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Gov. Corbett toured a Malvern factory powered by state-of-the-art robotics Tuesday, then hit the automatic-reset button on a replay of the state university tuition wars that dominated the battle over his first budget proposal last year. Corbett insisted to reporters during his tour of the high-tech Siemens Medical Solutions plant that his 2012-13 plan for a steep new cuts in state aid to higher education – including 30 percent less money to state-backed schools such as Pennsylvania State and Temple Universities – could be dealt with by reducing campus operating costs, not by raising tuition. Click here to read the Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Take Action!

Telegraphone with operatorLooking for some issues to take action on? You've come to the right place!

Equal Pay: There are several things you can do to support pay equity-
  • Talk to Congress about the Paycheck Fairness Act: The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in current equal pay legislation and prevent employers from retaliating against workers who voluntarily discuss their pay.  You can contact Congress at http://bit.ly/yHmU62 or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. 
  • Do a Pay Equity Self-Audit: Take the time to make sure your company is abiding by fair pay practices through this self-audit, available at http://bit.ly/c8p6Ca.
  • Talk to Women and Girls About Nontraditional Jobs: One reason for pay inequity is that women often end up in low-paying "pink collar" jobs.  Peer pressure and family pressure are two of the factors that keep women out of nontraditional workforce.  Encouraging women and girls to look into Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) jobs is a way to increase equity down the line, and the younger girls are when you talk to them, the better.  For more information on green jobs for women, read this new publication by the Women's Bureau: Why Green is Your Color at http://1.usa.gov/wLkcUN
  • Teach Women and Girls (and Yourself!) to Negotiate: Women are more likely to negotiate for others than for themselves.  Yet moving forward at work requires negotiation over wages, benefits, and job opportunities.  Learn more about negotiating and share your tips in the comments!
Work/Family: Childcare and paid sick days are important factors in the worklives of many families, especially for women:
  • Talk to the Legislature About the State Budget: The 2012-2013 Pennsylvania budget cuts funding for subsidized childcare programs that help many women afford to go to work.  You can call your legislators and let them know what you think about the cuts.  Visit  http://www.legis.state.pa.us/ to find your legislator.
  • Support Paid Sick Days for Workers: Over 40% of all workers in the country have no access to paid sick days.  Find out more at paidsickdays.org and earnedsickdaysphilly.com.
Asset testing: The current asset testing proposal would set asset limits for food stamps at $5,500 for most families and $9,000 for adults over age 60.  While this limit has been raised from the initial amount, you can still call your legislators to discuss the asset limits at 800-515-8134. 

The Fight for Birth Control is Far from Over

Birth Control Review 1919bUnder health care reform, women are to have access to contraception without paying a co-pay. Last week, President Obama defended women’s health by not backing down from this guarantee. To seek a compromise with religious groups opposed to contraception, the President announced that women who work for religiously affiliated employers will access contraception directly from the insurance company rather than their employer.

Members of Congress are still trying to pass legislation to repeal the contraception coverage requirement. The Senate could be considering legislation as early as today!

Call your U.S. Senators and share your feelings on preventative health care for women and legislation that would take away women's access to birth control without a co-pay. Please make these important calls today - you can reach Senator Casey's Office at 202.224.6324 and Senator Toomey's Office at 202.224.4254.

Monday, February 13, 2012

PathWays PA Earns National Honor

Opportunity Knocks Names PathWays PA as Award Winner In 5th Annual "Best Nonprofit to Work For" National Contest

Holmes, PA / Feb. 13, 2012 -- Opportunity Knocks announced today that PathWays PA is a winner of the 5th Annual Peoples' Choice Best Nonprofit to Work For Awards. Winners were selected from nominations based on employee essay submissions. National nominations were held November 8, 2011 through December 31, 2011 and individuals were told to submit a brief essay on why they consider their organization to be a great place to work.

Details about the Awards can be found at http://content.opportunityknocks.org/best-nonprofit-to-work-for/

“This award is a great recognition of our staff, who work together to fulfill our mission each day,” said Carol Goertzel, President/CEO of PathWays PA. “This is a great credit to the leadership of a wonderful staff in a field that can produces burnout,” added Donna Brennan, PathWays PA Board Member. “PathWays PA’s sensitivity to this and encouraging staff to move up and around is what produces a great team.”

Nominators could take into consideration factors that are important to them such as, quality of work/life balance, their organizations’ adherence to its mission, camaraderie of employees, unique benefits, training programs and career paths.

A total of fifteen (15) winners were awarded based on three categories of operating budget size.

“Opportunity Knocks celebrates the rewards of working in the nonprofit sector, by honoring those organizations who do it best,” says President and CEO Karen Beavor. “Our annual Best Nonprofit To Work For Awards provide nonprofit professionals a platform to give recognition to the organizations providing top quality work environments for people doing ‘jobs that change the world.’ The enthusiasm of our nominators for their employers demonstrates how nonprofits can not only make a difference in the community but also have an incredibly positive impact on the lives of the people that work for them.”

About PathWays PA
PathWays PA serves more than 6,000 women, children and families who reside in the Greater Philadelphia Region by keeping families together, supporting teen parents and their children, providing in-home services to prevent child abuse and assisting families in their move toward self-sufficiency.

About Opportunity Knocks
Opportunity Knocks is the national nonprofit job board, HR resource and career development website exclusively focused on the nonprofit community. For professionals, www.OpportunityKnocks.org is the premier destination to find nonprofit jobs and access valuable resources for developing successful careers in the nonprofit community. For Employers, www.OpportunityKnocks.org is the best way to find qualified nonprofit candidates and receive valuable information that nonprofit organizations need when building successful recruitment, retention, and human resource strategies.

PathWays PA Job Postings

PathWays PA Named One of
 2011 Best Nonprofits to Work For
Controller/Finance Director (Delaware County, PA)
PathWays PA is seeking an experienced hands-on financial leader to oversee all finance and IT functions. Must have five or more years accounting/financial management experience, preferably in a mid-size non-profit. Bachelor's degree in Accounting required; MBA or CPA a plus. Fax resume with salary requirements to JLM 610-328-2807.

Learning Center Group Supervisor
Experience in preschool setting and knowledge of early childhood development required. Develop and implement individualized educational goals for children. Requires a minimum Associates Degree from an Accredited College or University, including 30 credit hours in early childhood education, child development, special education, elementary education, or the Human Services field and three years of experience with children. BSW preferred. E-mail or Fax resumes to: LD/CFF/LC at 610-328-2807.

Part-Time Income Tax Preparers
P/T Income Tax Preparer Needed for Non-Profit Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)
Would you like to have a P/T job that can help save people in the Southeastern Pennsylvania area thousands of dollars? Working as a Tax Consultant with PathWays PA's VITA Program you can prepare taxes for low income individuals helping them receive hundreds of dollars in federal and state tax credits without incurring any fees.
This is a P/T position requiring up to 25 hours of work per week between January and April 2012. Applicants for this position should have an Associate or Bachelor's degree, relevant tax experience, knowledge of and sensitivity to issues concerning low income individuals, and the ability to pass the IRS VITA exam at the Basic, Intermediate and Advanced levels. As a tax consultant you will also serve as a resource for other preparers. Tax preparers are needed for sites in the five county regions, (Delaware, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Philadelphia) and in Southern New Jersey. Your own reliable transportation is also required. Interested parties should submit a resume by fax at (610) 328-2807, attn: LD/LK.

Part-Time Math and English Teacher (Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery Counties)
PathWays PA is in need of a Math and English teacher to teach Healthcare Contextualized Math, English and Science to adult students preparing for the TEAS test and other careers in the healthcare sector. Classes will be held late afternoons and/or evenings and weekends in the Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery County areas. The classes will run for 6-8 weeks with 1, 2 or 3 classes per week. 6-8 hours per week and 1 hour of paid prep per week. Pay is competitive. INSTRUCTOR SHOULD HAVE EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH ADULTS. A Bachelor's degree is a minimum requirement. Please fax resumes to: LD/EVE at 610-328-2807.

Part-Time Financial Educator
Part-time (30 hours per week) financial educator to work in the community of Chester. BA required. Ability to work with diverse populations; knowledge of TANF, basic personal finances, computer skills, and strong interpersonal skills desired. Fax resumes to LD/LK at 610-328-2807.

PathWays PA is an Equal Opportunity Employer

PathWays PA E-Alert: February 13, 2012

Federal Policy Updates

SUPPORT UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

Once again, millions of hardworking Americans face being cut off of unemployment insurance (UI) unless Congress acts to fully renew the federal UI program that's set to expire at the end of this month. One proposal to pay for the extension does so by reducing the number of working families who are able to claim the Child Tax Credit. The change would affect 5.5 million children in immigrant families earning an average of $21,000 per year, resulting in a loss of $1,800 in income.

The Coalition on Human Needs is asking you to call your Members of Congress on Tuesday, February 14! Call toll-free 888-245-3381 or use this easy Click-to-Call page to connect with your Members of Congress.

Please spread the word: Make sure your networks, friends, and co-workers know about calling on Tuesday. Make it your Valentine’s Day gift to unemployed workers across this nation.

JOIN RESTAURANT WORKERS & SUPPORTERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY ON THE 2.13 NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION 

From 1991, the minimum wage for tipped workers has stayed frozen at $2.13. Meaning many restaurant workers are struggling to make ends meet basically on earning tips alone.

Take Action: Send a letter to your representative in Congress & ask them to support WAGES, H.R. 631, legislation that will finally increase the tipped minimum wage from $2.13, overcoming 20 years so substandard pay for restaurant workers.

State Policy Updates

GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PROPOSAL

Last week, the Governor released his proposed budget for 2012-2013. Governor Corbett described the budget as one that includes no tax increases but that does make cuts to higher education and public welfare programs.

Several pieces of the Governor's budget stand out this year:
  • Elimination of the General Assistance (GA) Program: The proposed budget ends the GA program, which serves individuals who do not qualify for TANF but have verifiable need such as those related to disabilities, domestic violence, caring for someone sick or disabled or participating in a drug or alcohol treatment program. Most counties offer GA recipients $205 per month. According to Public Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander, current GA recipients will be screened to see if they qualify for federal SSI or other programs.  Community Legal Services has posted a statement on the decision to eliminate GA that gives more information about the program as well as the impact they think it will have on families.
  • Creation of Block Grants: Under the proposed budget, new block grants will be created under the Department of Public Welfare and given to counties in the place of line item funding for programs such as Homeless Assistance and Behavioral Health Services. A block grant is also being proposed to cover basic education costs. This grant is the Student Achievement Block Grant.
For more information see our Policy Blog. To see the full budget, visit click here.

CURRENT THREATS TO VOTING RIGHTS IN PENNSYLVANIA

The Pennsylvania Senate is considering legislation, HB 934, which would create obstacles for citizens trying to exercise their right to vote, making it impossible for some to make their voices heard.
In June the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed HB 934 sending it to the Senate for action. The bill requires valid state or federal photo ID from all Pennsylvanians at all elections before they are permitted to vote. HB 934 is an expensive voter suppression bill that would make it harder for older citizens, students, people with disabilities, racial minorities, and lower-income people to vote.

Please call your state senator today and tell him or her:

“As a constituent, I urge you to oppose HB 934. Requiring photo identification to cast a ballot will make it harder for many eligible voters, especially racial minorities, the elderly and working poor, and people with disabilities, to exercise their right to vote. Pennsylvania does not have the money to spend on a new government program that makes it harder for ordinary, eligible voters to exercise one of our most fundamental rights, the right to vote."
For more information please visit: http://www.aclupa.org/issues/votingissues// 

Information/Events

A JOB SKILLS AND JOB SEEKERS WORKSHOP

Northwest EPIC Stakeholders is one of ten community driven stakeholder group organizations, including PathWays PA, who serve the Northwest Community of Philadelphia.

The workforce that is a part of the community has a vested interest in sustaining the community where they live and work. Therefore, the sponsoring community organizations want to support the efforts of these individuals by providing resources within the community to help them.

Those resources are: A Job Skills and Job Seekers Workshop to be held on March 7th 2012 from 10:00am to 2:00pm and a Job Fair to be held on March 14, 2012 from 10:00am to 2:00pm.

If you are an employer in the City of Philadelphia please help Northwest EPIC provide this opportunity for persons in the Northwest community who are currently seeking employment. Your participation at the Job Fair will be a valuable asset to the Northwest Community and the individuals who are seeking employment.

To register for the Job Fair or if you need further information please contact Nan Rhone at 215-549-2686.

BUDGET COMMUNICATION RESOURCES

It is the season once again when state and local governments are preparing, deliberating over, and enacting budgets that will shape public services for the upcoming year. Every year, this presents a concrete opportunity to help our neighbors and friends better understand the important role that government – and the public systems and services it funds – plays in promoting the common good, underpinning our quality of life and, more importantly these days, creating a stronger and more equitable economy.

Public Works is able to help by putting together some new resources that can with communications about the budget. These include:
  • A Public Works Tip Sheet that summarizes our key recommendations for communicating effectively about pubic budgets;
  • A slide-show presentation that walks through the challenges presented by Americans’ “default thinking” as well as our top recommendations;
  • Public Works’ analysis of some real world examples: From North Carolina, a fact sheet on the impact of budget cuts on Public Structures and from Washington, an analysis of the state budget that reconnects it to key public values.
For more information visit: https://sites.google.com/site/demospublicworks/Communicating-About-Public-Budgets 

EQUAL PAY APP CHALLENGE

On Tuesday, January 31, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra announced a new software application development challenge, the Equal Pay App Challenge.

This exciting contest is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor in coordination with the White House and federal partners on the President's National Equal Pay Task Force. The challenge calls on developers to use publicly available data and resources to create innovative, easy-to-use apps to educate users about the pay gap and provide tools to combat it. More information, including a complete list of the contest's rules and requirements, is available at http://www.challenge.gov/labor or www.equalpay.challenge.gov.

Today is Adoption Tax Credit Awareness Day

Be part of the Adoption Tax Credit Awareness Day today, February 13, 2012 -a national effort highlighting the federal tax credit available to adoptive families.

Join with adoption organizations, state agencies, adoptive families, advocates, and other interested parties to raise visibility of the adoption tax credit. Help spread the word collectively, through website postings, email blasts, newsletters, social media, and other informational outlets, so eligible families that may not be aware of this benefit can be sure to access the credit. Families who adopted as far back as 2005 may still benefit if they haven't already. Be sure to include non-internet based strategies since some adoptive families do not have access to the internet.

The Information:

Harrisburg Update

Beside the Governor’s Proposed Budget Address, the big news in Harrisburg this week was the passage of a major Marcellus Shale legislative package.

According to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, after more than three years of political debate and seven years into the shale gas rush, state legislators passed a comprehensive set of rules for the industry, including a fee on drilling and standards for municipal land use that may keep the fight going. Drillers will have to start paying between $190,000 and $355,000 per well over 15 years starting from 2011, depending on the price of natural gas, under the bill’s language. The 174-page bill creates sweeping reforms, including new disclosure standards for the chemicals used to tap the gas, lengthened setbacks to keep wells more distant from homes and waterways, and standards for emergency containment.

Click here to read the Pittsburgh Tribune Review article.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pennsylvania Budget Update

Today, the Governor released his proposed budget for 2012-2013.  Governor Corbett described the budget as one that includes no tax increases but that does make cuts to higher education and public welfare programs.

Several pieces of the Governor's budget stand out this year:
  • Elimination of the General Assistance (GA) Program: The proposed budget ends the GA program, which serves individuals who do not qualify for TANF but have verifiable need such as those related to disabilities, domestic violence, caring for someone sick or disabled or participating in a drug or alcohol treatment program.  Most counties offer GA recipients $205 per month.  According to Public Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander, current GA recipients will be screened to see if they qualify for federal SSI or other programs.
    Community Legal Services has posted a statement on the decision to eliminate GA that gives more information about the program as well as the impact they think it will have on families. 
  • Creation of Block Grants: Under the proposed budget, new block grants will be created under the Department of Public Welfare and given to counties in the place of line item funding for programs such as Homeless Assistance and Behavioral Health Services.  A block grant is also being proposed to cover basic education costs.  This grant is the Student Achievement Block Grant.
Below are some of the articles that have been written about the budget proposal so far: