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Showing posts from April, 2009

Swine Flu Closes More than 100 Schools in the U.S. What are Parents to Do? (#sick days)

Across the country at least 74 schools have closed because of confirmed or probable cases of swine flu and 30 more have closed as a precautionary measure. For schools that remain open, both President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan advised parents to have their children stay home if they are sick.

For nearly half of the U.S. workforce, who do not receive a single paid sick day, missing work to care for their children is simply not an option. These parents are faced with the impossible decision to either leave their children unsupervised, send them to school sick (if the school is open), or lose the income that is desperately needed to buy food, pay rent, pay bills, etc.

No worker should have to face such an impossible decision, especially when there is another option that is more beneficial for workers, families, and society. The Healthy Families Act will ensure that all workers have paid sick time to care for themselves and their children. This will allow workers to ne…

Insuring Healthy Births - Maternity Care Coalition Event Cosponsored by PathWays PA

Media Advisory - May 4th, 2009

CONTACT: Cathy Melfi - (609) 923.5415 -

When: May 4th, 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m

Where: Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Who: Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario and Maternity Care Coalition

What: Rally for Reform in Honor of Mothers and Special Delivery of Insuring Healthy Births Report

The Ultimate Mothers Day Gift:
Insuring Healthy Births

Harrisburg, May 4th, 2009—“Flowers are nice, but I’d suggest Pennsylvania policymakers honor mothers this year by ensuring every woman and newborn has access to a safe and high quality childbirth experience,” said JoAnne Fischer, Executive Director of the Philadelphia-based Maternity Care Coalition (MCC).

MCC will hold a rally and coordinate a special delivery of their new report, Insuring Healthy Births to key policymakers in Harrisburg. Women’s experiences trying to access insurance and care will be shared. The report is a roadmap for increasing access to maternity services throughout Pennsy…

Updated Unemployment Rates From Keystone Research Center

In an update to the posting from last month, KRC's latest maps on unemployment data can be found on their blog.

Swine Flu and Sick Time

With outbreaks of a potentially pandemic swine flu spreading across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control gives some logical advice: if you are sick stay home from work to avoid infecting others. Staying home from work, however, is not an option for the 46 percent of Pennsylvania workers who have no opportunity to earn sick time.

Ironically, the workers who most come in contact with the public are those least likely to have paid time when they are sick. 92 percent of wait staff and 79 percent of child care workers cannot earn paid sick days. These individuals go to work sick, risking the spread of infection to others, because they currently have no other option.

PathWays PA serves more than 6,000 women, children, and families in the Greater Philadelphia area, many of whom struggle to support their families. In this recession, no one can afford to lose even one day’s pay to stay home when ill, but when infection is spreading, no one can afford to work either. To combat thi…

Paycheck Fairness Act, S. 182 (#fairpay)

Dear Senators Casey and Specter:

We write today to urge your support for the Paycheck Fairness Act, S. 182, which will strengthen and enhance the protections against pay discrimination available under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (“EPA”).

PathWays PA serves more than 6,000 women, children, and families in the Greater Philadelphia area, many of whom are struggling to support their families with unequal wages. Our programs endeavor to keep families together and to work with families so they can attain self-sufficiency.

The Paycheck Fairness Act is one of many policies at the heart of our mission to assist women in achieving self-sufficiency.

Pay equity is a pressing issue for women in our state. No longer can the worsening pay divide be attributed to education. Pennsylvania’s working women have surpassed their male counterparts in educational achievements. Yet a recent report by the Keystone Research Center documented that the gender wage gap in Pennsylvania widened between 2003 and 200…

Equal Pay For Equal Work Media Advisory (#fairpay)

Equal Pay For Equal Work

The Ledbetter Act Has Been Signed, But More Needs To Be Done –
Equal Pay Day is April 28
HOLMES, PA.—If you are a woman working in Pennsylvania, chances are that you earn 25% less than what men earn. In the United States, working women earn 23% less than men each year. Throughout their lifetimes, women lose between $400,000 and $2,000,000 due to unequal pay.

April 28, 2009, is Equal Pay Day, the day when women finally catch up to men’s 2008 earnings. Although The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act—which clarified that every discriminatory paycheck or action restarts the clock for filing a pay discrimination complaint—was signed in 2009, another bill, The Paycheck Fairness Act, would close many of the loopholes that allow unequal pay to persist.

“Every penny counts, especially during this recession when working families are already strapped for cash,” says Carol Goertzel, President/CEO of PathWays PA. “Working families are hit especially hard by the pay inequity since…

Swine Flu and Healthy Families (#sickdays)

Everyone right now is talking about swine flu without knowing what to prepare for. Is this an epidemic (pandemic?) or something that will die down quickly? What should we be doing to prepare?

There is something that everyone can do to prepare right now, something that can prevent the spread of swine flu or other contagious diseases such as the norovirus: ask Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, ensuring that everyone who works has paid sick time to care for themselves and their families. Please write an email, sign a petition, Tweet your friends (use the hashtag #sickdays if you can, and direct them to sign the petition at, or make a phone call today.

The Economic Stimulus Impact on Children, Child Welfare and Families: A State and National Perspective

Thanks to everyone who attended our April 22 Forum, the Economic Stimulus Impact on Children, Child Welfare, and Families! For those of you who couldn’t make it to hear our speakers - Estelle Richman, Secretary of Public Welfare, John Sciamanna, Co-Director of Government Affairs of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), and Christine Balka, Director of Child Care and Budget Policy with Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) - here are the highlights..

Secretary Richman’s compelling presentation included information on how the federal stimulus money allowed DPW to maintain programs that otherwise would have been cut, such as Pay for Performance. At the same time, she expressed concerns about replacing that funding when the stimulus money is no longer available.

John Sciamanna compared what support will be given for Child Welfare programs in Pennsylvania with other states under the federal stimulus package. He also spoke about CWLA’s goal to reestablish the White House Co…

What’s Important About Equal Pay in Pennsylvania? (#fairpay)

If you are a working woman living in Pennsylvania, chances are that you earn 75% of what men earn. (NWLC data)In the United States, working women earn 22% less then men each year (National Committee on Pay Equity).At one year out of college, women already earn just 80% of what their male colleagues earn (Behind the Pay Gap, AAUW)About $200 billion is lost each year because of the pay disparity between men and women. (National Committee on Pay Equity)The worsening Pennsylvania pay divide cannot be attributed to education, as Pennsylvania women in the workforce have now surpassed their male counterparts in educational achievements.
Pay equity is a pressing issue for women in our state. A recent report by the Keystone Research Center documented the shocking fact that the gender wage gap in Pennsylvania actually widened between 2003 and 2007. Moreover, 3 out of 10 Pennsylvania women today are low-income, compared to only 2 out of every 10 men.

Pennsylvanians need new policy initiatives like…

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: April 27, 2009

May 12: Save the Date!

Overlooked and Undercounted: Struggling To Make Ends in Pennsylvania will be released in the Capitol Rotunda at on May 12 at 9 AM.

This report shows how many people live above and below The Self-Sufficiency Standard of Pennsylvania.

RSVP now to Ann DelCollo at or by calling 800-209-2914.

Sign a Letter in Support of the Budget We Need!

Congress is close to an agreement on the federal budget. We must make sure the budget is strong in supporting rebuilding and renewing out economy through health care reform and investments in education and other vital services.

Please send an email to your Representatives and Senators asking them to support the best possible budget during final negotiations - and to vote for the final budget when it reaches the House or Senate floor.

PA Hunger Network Forum!

Come and join in the discussion.

Hunger is a significant problem in Pennsylvania with 1,400,000 at risk of hunger and 423,000 of them experiencing hun…

Why Earned Sick Time is Important to Everyone

When we talk about the need for earned sick time, children often become the focus, and for good reason. Children need someone in the home with them, especially when they are ill; they recover more quickly when parents are by their sides; and many child care centers send children home when they are sick to prevent the spread of infections.

As Pennsylvania ages, though, employees with earned sick time will be using it to care for another group – their parents. We have the 3rd largest population over age 65 in the country, just below West Virginia and Florida. As a recent post from MomsRising notes, many of us will be responsible for caring for our parents at some point, no matter how well they are doing right now. The opportunity to earn a few days of paid sick time to use when a parent is in the hospital or needs to go to the doctor’s is invaluable—and too often unavailable, since 46 percent of all workers in Pennsylvania have no access to earned sick time.

The Healthy Families Act woul…

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: 20 April 2009

Sign a Letter in Support of Fair Pay!

Working with a coalition of over 250 organizations, WOW wants to help build congressional support that will lead to the passage of pay equity legislation. Women working full-time, year-round are paid only about 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. The numbers are worse for women of color: 69 cents for African-American women and 59 cents for Latinas. Adding your voice to the fight in Washington can make a difference.

The sign-on letter for national and state organizations in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act, S.182, remains open. To add your organization, please to go to the National Women's Law Center website at, or e-mail Kolbe Franklin at

Support Pennsylvania Tuition Relief Act & Make College Affordable for All Pennsylvanians

There is a real need to make college, particularly community college, more affordable for Pennsylvanians. PAACE now has an online petitio…

Send a Message For Healthy Families

In Pennsylvania, 46 percent of all workers have no access to paid sick time, leaving parents and caregivers to make the impossible choice between staying home with a sick loved one and earning much needed income. Many of these workers have direct contact with the sick, the young, and the elderly, in industries such as healthcare, childcare, and food services. When employees in these industries must work sick to avoid losing their incomes or their jobs, the issue is one of public safety as well as economic.

At the national level, Congress is getting ready to reintroduce the Healthy Families Act, which would establish a basic standard of earned sick time for workers. Nationally, businesses actually save money in reduced turnover and productivity if every worker could earn 7 sick days per year.

MomsRising is circulating an email campaign to ask representatives and senators to co-sponsor the Healthy Families Act. But besides sending an email, there is more that you can do:

Show your support…

When Capping An Industry Doesn’t Make It OK

In the environmental world, there is a lot of debate about “cap and trade” – the concept that to control pollution, we should limit the amount of pollutants that can be created, and then auction off the right to produce the pollutant to the highest bidder. This program would not only limit the amount of pollution but would create an incentive for companies to look for alternative ways of producing their products without pollution.

In Congress, Illinois Representative Luis Gutierrez is promoting a different cap: one on payday lending. Sounds like a good thing, right? It might be—except that instead of curbing the excesses of payday lending, this bill provides a way to legitimize the practice.

Payday lending gives people the opportunity to borrow money using their next paycheck as collateral. In turn, the payday lending industry offers interest rates of up to 400% on the loans, leading to a cycle in which people must constantly borrow against their next paycheck to pay off the interest…

Ready to Compete? Pennsylvania’s Community Colleges – Part 1: Affordability

Speaking of community colleges, PathWays PA is happy to announce the publication of its latest report, the first in a series of three on community colleges in Pennsylvania. Entitled Ready to Compete? Pennsylvania’s Community Colleges – Part 1: Affordability, the report looks at cost of community colleges in Pennsylvania. Later reports will concentrate on access to community college across the state and readiness issues surrounding community college.

We look forward to your comments and suggestions on this report and on items for future reports. You can find e-copies of many of our policy publications at

Support Pennsylvania Tuition Relief Act & Make College Affordable for All Pennsylvanians

We have talked already about the need to make college, particularly community college, more affordable for Pennsylvanians. PAACE now has an online petition supporting the Governor’s plan to provide tuition relief to incoming freshman at community colleges. Visit to sign on or learn more.

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: 13 April 2009

To receive our policy e-newsletter each week, please send your email address to Attend The Economic Stimulus Impact on Children, Child Welfare and Families: A State and National Perspective Join us as we hear from the region's leading voices on the current state of the economy in Pennsylvania, and how the recent budget and stimulus will affect vulnerable children and families throughout the state.

Guest speakers include:

Estelle Richman, Secretary of Public Welfare
Linda Spears, Vice President, Policy and Public Affairs, CWLA
John Sciamanna, Co-Director of Goverment Affairs, CWLA

Carol Goertzel, President/CEO, PathWays PA

April 22, 2009
10AM- 12PM
United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania
7 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103

To RSVP, please contact Ann DelCollo at 610-543-5022 ext. 221, or at -- The PPA is Coming to Philadelphia- Today! The PPA (Partnership for Prescription Assistance) is coming to Philadelphia…

PA to Receive $60.1 Million in Childcare Funding

Some parents in Pennsylvania may soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief. While the Child Care Works waiting list has reached record levels in the past year, more funding is on its way courtesy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These funds are meant to help working families access childcare, and hopefully will go towards reducing the waiting list.

Not Only Does Education Pay, It Might Keep You Employed

(chart courtesy of the Keystone Research Center's Policy blog. Be sure to check it out!)

Everyone knows that education pays, right? More education = higher wages = greater opportunity to be self-sufficient. Which is why everyone from the president on down is asking that adults get at least one additional year of education beyond high school (The Workforce Alliance and its Skills2Compete plan calls for two years of additional education).

During this economic downturn, another important byproduct of education is taking shape: more education seems to equal a smaller likelihood of unemployment. As you can see in this great chart from the Keystone Research Center (thanks, Mark!), high school graduates in Pennsylvania have a far lower unemployment rate than students without a high school diploma. Taking a few college classes or getting an associate’s degree correlate with even lower unemployment in Pennsylvania, while adults 25 and over with bachelor’s degrees have only a 2.2% unemploymen…

Key SECTORS Legislation Spotlights Skills Needs

(h/t The Workforce Alliance)

In recent years, Pennsylvania has been a workforce leader when it comes to Sector Initiatives. Now, based on the success of our programs and similar programs in other states, legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to promote similar programs at the national level.

In an Industry Partnership, businesses in the same industry (and, usually, the same region) come together to discuss their workforce needs usually regarding job retention, skills gaps, and recruitment. The IP often partners with a community college and with other local organizations to offer classes and training in needed skills that can be used throughout the industry.

These classes benefit workers by providing an opportunity for them to earn the skills they need to succeed professionally and financially, and they benefit the employers by ensuring a pool of skilled workers to meet their employment needs. In Pennsylvania, IPs focus on High Priority Occupations, which are high-gro…

The Economic Stimulus Impact on Children, Child Welfare, and Families: A State and National Perspective

You are invited to attend:
The Economic Stimulus Impact on Children, Child Welfare, and Families:
A State and National Perspective

featuring Secretary Estelle Richman, CWLA Vice President of Policy and Public Affairs Linda Spears, and CWLA Co-Director of Government Affairs John Sciamanna, on April 22, 2009, from 10 AM to 12 PM. This event will be held at the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Please RSVP to Ann DelCollo at 610-543-5022 x221 or by emailing her at

Starting Over in Retirement

This article from the New York Times points to some important issues that we have been working on in recent years – the needs of adults over 65, and the skills gap faced by many adults in Pennsylvania. As the article notes, retired adults are going back to work to make up for their lost income, and many are attending community college to learn new skills for the workforce.

In Pennsylvania, community colleges play a critical role in giving workers of all ages the opportunity to earn the skills they need to find and hold well-paying jobs. Most of Pennsylvania’s workforce (adults 25 and older) finished their education with a high school degree or less. Unfortunately, most of Pennsylvania’s jobs, both now and in the future, require some additional skills (though not a college degree).

Community colleges should be the ideal places for adult workers to gain the skills they need. Many of Pennsylvania’s community colleges offer free schooling for displaced workers, which is a great place to s…