We are currently in the second week of the fiscal year, and unfortunately with no budget for Pennsylvania in sight. While the Governor and General Assembly are in negotiations, important programs are still at risk of being cut. Please keep reminding your legislators of what programs Pennsylvania cannot afford to cut.
To help stay up to date, PathWays PA will send a Budget Alert every Wednesday until the budget is complete. Particular attention will be given to specific programs, such as Industry Partnerships and Child Care Work Subsidies, which provide Pennsylvania’s workers with training and supports so they can work even in these tough economic times.
For more information throughout the week on the budget and other issues, be sure to check out the PathWays PA Policy Blog.
A Personal Story
Maris Grove, a retirement community that takes part in the Industry Partnership (IP) program, has worked with PathWays PA to provide training for workers.
According to Kathy Ardekani, a Healthcare Counselor at Maris Grove, the IP classes give new opportunities to people working there: “Once people know what is available to them, it certainly opens up a whole new world that they absolutely did not know existed.”
Caregivers who had not yet become Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA’s) found that the IP classes bring new opportunities for growth. “Just even speaking to them about the programs being offered brought those care managers to tears; it gives them hope and it gives them a possibility for their future.”
Employees participating in IP’s earn new skills and credentials, and “having those credentials behind their names improves their possibilities for better employment.” The programs offered through the IPs open up new doors for individuals who otherwise would have been stuck in a position where they are unable to earn a self-sufficient wage.
Take Action! Industry Partnerships are consortiums that allow employers to improve and expand their workforce by bringing together companies committed to the development of their workforce.
- This program provides workers with access to training that gives them the skills necessary to maintain jobs and obtain employment with sufficient wages so workers can adequately support their families.
- In Pennsylvania, more than 6,300 businesses are involved with more than 70 Industry Partnerships across the state and more than 70,000 workers have been trained since 2005.
- On average, those workers have seen their wages rise by 6.62 percent within the first year after receiving the training.
- To read more about how the Industry Partnership program is helping in one county please click here.
Child Care Work Subsidies
Take Action! The Child Care Works Subsidies allow parents to afford to work by assisting them with the expense of child care.
- For many parents the cost of child care may be more than they bring home in a paycheck.
- Currently in Pennsylvania, over 16,000 are eligible for the child care subsidies but are currently on the waitlist, where some families remain for months.
- In the meantime, they must pay more than they can afford for child care, provide childcare through an unreliable patchwork of friends, family, or substandard facilities, or risk losing their jobs at a time when employment is hard to find.
- For more information please see a new report from PCCY, “Child Care Works, A Program with a Growing Need”
Adult Education and Family Literacy
Take Action! Adult education and family literacy are especially important during this recession to ensure that families have the opportunity to gain the education they need to be or become self sufficient.
- These services have seen an increased demand in recent months.
- According to a new report from the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board, over 202,000 adults in Philadelphia do not have a high school diploma, and 40 percent of Pennsylvania adults struggle with basic literacy skills.
- Overlooked and Undercounted: Struggling to Make Ends Meet in Pennsylvania shows that 40.9 percent of all Pennsylvania households have a high school education or less, and of those households, 49% of those with less than a high school education earn less than the Self-Sufficiency Standard
CHIP – Cover All Kids
Take Action! During the past three years, CHIP has provided comprehensive health insurance coverage for thousands of children throughout Pennsylvania who would not have been eligible without the Cover All Kids program.
- However, current budget proposals rescind this CHIP provision, which could result in up to 12,000 kids being cut from the program.
- Even during an economic crisis, it is important to pay attention to the long-term effects of short-term cuts.
- A recent report from Rice University puts the cost of health insurance through age 18 at $7,451, while the benefits equate to as much at $15,000.
The latest budget proposal has $72 million in reduction. Cuts include:
• $34 million from the Department of Public Welfare
• $14 million from the Department of Education
• $7.5 million from the Department of Community and Economic Development
The current understanding is that the bulk of the cuts will come in the form of layoffs, as many as 800. At a time when more people than ever before need services their questions and claims will be have to be handled by fewer employees, which will likely result in people missing out on critical benefits.
Another $50-70 million may be cut by shifting projects to the capital budget.