Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Open Letter to Legislators Regarding the Budget

I am writing today to thank you for your support of working families, particularly the businesses and clients who work with PathWays PA, and to ask for your continued support of these businesses and families throughout the budget debate.

PathWays PA is an organization that serves more than 6,000 women, children, and families in the Greater Philadelphia area. Our programs endeavor to keep families together, to support parents and their children, and, most of all, to work with families so they can attain self-sufficient jobs and to work with businesses to create a strong workforce. But for strong families and strong businesses to continue making their mark on Pennsylvania, certain programs must remain.

One of the most important state programs is the Industry Partnership (IP) program, which uses a small amount of funding to create long-term benefits for businesses and employees. This program provides opportunities for workers to earn new skills and credentials, creating an employer-approved ladder to a more skilled workforce. Since 2005, more than 73,000 workers have been trained through the Industry Partnership program, with wages increasing 6.6 percent on average in the first year after training.

Opportunities for education and training such as IPs are among the most important in helping Pennsylvanians compete during and after the recession. Community college funding, Child Care Works, and adult literacy all join with IPs in leading to a more stable and educated workforce. For instance, in Pennsylvania, 38 percent of adults struggle with basic literacy skills, which means many have trouble filling out job applications or reading basic instructions. With literacy education, these adults can move on to achieving better jobs, higher wages, and more secure employment.”

From our perspective, if the choice is between cutting the programs families need most or increasing revenues, we prefer that you look at ways of increasing revenues responsibly through broad-based reforms. We hope that as you continue to support working families that you will be able to remove any devastating cuts before they take their toll on our businesses and workers.


Very truly yours,

Carol Goertzel
President/CEO, PathWays PA

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