Thursday, April 30, 2009

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

AntigenicShift HiResAcross 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 necessary breathing room to be able to care for their children and stop the spread of diseases, such as the swine flu.

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.

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

Clara's CardMedia 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 Pennsylvania. With this information, Pennsylvania can be a blueprint for federal health care reform.

The Insuring Healthy Births report is available online.

Sponsors: Coalition of Labor Union Women; Consumer Health Coalition; Health Federation of Philadelphia; Institute for the Study of Civic Values; Maternity Care Coalition; PA Association of Community Health Centers; PA Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals; PA Health Access Network; PathWays PA; Pennsylvania Association of Licensed Midwives; PhilaNOW; Public Citizens for Children and Youth; United Way of Southeastern PA; and WOMEN’S WAY.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

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

Pandemic Pete "The Swine Flu Sow" 003With 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 this dilemma, we in Pennsylvania and across the country need a minimum standard of earned sick time for workers.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Paycheck Fairness Act, S. 182 (#fairpay)

UscapitolindaylightDear 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 2007, and currently stands at nearly $4 an hour.

We need The Paycheck Fairness Act because the exceptions and legal interpretations made to EPA have diluted its intended effectiveness. As a result, women working full-time, year-round still only earn 78 cents for every dollar men earn. Women of color fare worse, earning between 59% to 69% of the median income of all men.

The Paycheck Fairness Act clarifies and strengthens protections available under the EPA. It closes gaps that have led to a narrow, constrained reading of the law’s protections and it includes improvements to strengthen the enforcement tools used to uncover pay discrimination, The provisions of the Paycheck Fairness Act are sorely needed in the prevailing economic climate. The welfare of all Americans depends on women’s achievement of meaningful equality in the workplace. We urge you to support the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Very truly yours,
Carol Goertzel
PathWays PA

Equal Pay For Equal Work Media Advisory (#fairpay)

Barack Obama signs Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 1-29-09Equal 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 about $200 billion is lost each year because of the pay disparity between men and women.”

Equal pay means receiving comparable pay for comparable work. In other words, women and men with similar education and job responsibilities should earn the same pay. However, this is often not the case. In Pennsylvania, a male with a bachelor’s degree earns on average $59,475, while a female with the same degree earns $38,788. Meanwhile, a male with a professional degree earns $109,900 per year, while a female with the same degree earns less than half that salary ($51,718).

The Paycheck Fairness Act would strengthen the protections available under the Equal Pay Act and close the gaps that have led to a narrow, constrained reading of the law’s protections. It would also strengthen the enforcement tools used to uncover pay discrimination; prohibit unfair reprisals targeting employees who discuss pay and pay disparities on the job and encourage voluntary efforts by employers to evaluate – and correct when necessary – their own pay practices.

“We believe that supporting The Paycheck Fairness Act would put more money into the pockets of every family – money they have already earned,” notes Goertzel. “We are asking people to mark Equal Pay Day by asking their Senators and Representatives to cosponsor the Act.”
PathWays PA will also be taking part in the National Blog for Fair Pay Day 2009. Their blog postings can be found throughout the day at

PathWays PA began in 1978 as the Women's Association for Women's Alternatives, one of Pennsylvania's first residential programs to keep low-income, vulnerable women together with their children. It has grown to become one of the Greater Philadelphia region's foremost providers of residential and community-based services for women and their children. Each year PathWays PA serves more than 6,000 women, children and families who reside in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Chester counties through a full complement of social services, job training and employment assistance, outreach and residential programs. Contact with questions or to set up an interview.


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

Sweet Baby Kisses Family LoveThanks 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 Conference on Children and Youth, a two-year process where a Policy Committee will be formed to foster a dialogue on legislation and how communities can come together to address issues raised by the child welfare system.

Christine Balka discussed the shockingly shrinking budget for Philadelphia. It is believed the budget will have a $ 1 billion deficit over the next five years. Without more money, specifically from taxes, services and programs will be cut. Individuals and organizations need to contact their legislators to reinforce the fact that more money is necessary for important programs and the current system is working and it needs to be continued.

PathWays PA would like to thank all the presenters and the almost 100 people who attended the event.

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 the Paycheck Fairness Act to identify and root out the institutional biases that are increasingly putting the economic security of women and their families in peril. PFA would close certain loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and would ask government agencies to spend more time and resources on ending pay inequity. Both of Pennsylvania’s senators are key contacts regarding this bill. We have linked a sample letter to send to Senator Casey and to Senator Specter. As part of your actions to recognize Equal Pay Day, please send letters to the Senators reminding them of the need for pay equity in the US.

Monday, April 27, 2009

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 hunger. While there are many public and private programs designed to help food insecure people they are not always well connected or coordinated with each resulting in service deliver gaps and redundancies.

When: June 2, 2009 8:00 – 3:00

Where: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Show Building, VIP Room

Cost: $60 per person (includes AM break, lunch, and materials)

Registration Deadline: May 22, 2009

If you would like to register or have any questions please contact the PA Hunger Action Center at 717-233-6705.

Urge Governor Rendell and Representative Evans to Support the Homeowners’ Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP)!

In light of the rising numbers of unemployed Pennsylvanians and the increase in the number of mortgage foreclosures, it is imperative that funding for the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s HEMAP program be increased to $20 million. HEMAP is designed to loan money to unemployed or ill homeowners to make mortgage payments until they can get back on their feet. With a 74% increase in foreclosures and an unemployment rate on the rise, programs like HEMAP must be expanded.

Join the Pennsylvania Unemployment Project by sending letters to Governor Rendell and Representative Evans, urging them to support HEMAP. Click to access the letter to Governor Rendell and to Representative Evans. To sign on, email John Dodds at

Urge Senators Specter and Casey to Support the Paycheck Fairness Act!

The Paycheck Fairness Act, passed in the House and now pending in the Senate, aims to strengthen current laws against wage discrimination and requires the federal government to be more proactive in preventing and battling wage discrimination. It is critical for the bill to have more co-sponsors for it to successfully pass the Senate.

Please join the National Women’s Law Center by sending letters to Senators Specter and Casey, urging them to become co-sponsors of the Paycheck Fairness Act. Click here to access the letters to Senator Specter and Senator Casey.

Turn Up the Volume for Equal Pay Day 2009!

As we approach Equal Pay Day 2009, the point in the year when women’s earnings finally catch-up to those of men from the previous year, we must make a louder noise than ever before, using our votes and our voices to win economic justice.

Please join 9to5 in their efforts to turn up the volume by clicking here to find an Equal Pay Day Know Your Rights factsheet, sample op-ed, and sample letter.

You can use the Know Your Rights factsheet to become more familiar with the issue and then pass it along to help educate your co-workers, friends and family.

Use the sample op-ed to make your voice heard in community newspapers and other local media outlets.

The sample letter is a way that you and others can let your U.S. Senators hear your support for the Paycheck Fairness Act.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Free Advocacy Training for Direct Care Leaders

Please join Direct Care Alliance at its 2nd Annual “Voices Institute” Retreat.

When: September 22 – October 3, 2009

Where: Racine, Wisconsin

Online Application due Thursday, April 30, 2009.

This is a one-week intensive leadership and advocacy training retreat to help direct care workers, worker association and coalition staff, and other advocates develop their leadership, advocacy, and organizational development skills, so they can advocate more effectively for better direct care jobs.

For more information on applying for this retreat please click here.

Urge Pennsylvania State Legislators to Ensure the PA Tuition Relief Act Passes!

The Pennsylvania Association for Continuing Education (PAACE) is urging the Pennsylvania state legislators to ensure that the Pennsylvania Tuition Relief Act passes making college tuition more affordable for every Pennsylvania family earning under $100,000 a year. It will help more than 170,000 students and it will put a college degree within reach of 10,000 students who otherwise would be unable to afford tuition.

PAACE has created an online petition and is urging you to sign. Please ask your students, volunteers and community partners to also get involved. The petition can be accessed online at:

PA 7th Congressional District: Pennsylvania Institute of Technology Veterans Scholarship

The PA 7th Congressional District is offering a Veterans Scholarship that provides the necessary funds to pay all tuition and fees of eligible veterans who receive full Pell and PHEAA funding and enroll in select degree programs at the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology (PIT).

For more information, you can contact Jack Dixon at PIT via email at or by phone at 866-275-7616.

Swine Flu? Whoops, Forgot to Provide Paid Sick Days.

Outbreaks of a potentially pandemic flu virus, called the "swine flu" are being reported all over the world, including in the U.S. White House officials monitoring the situation are recommending that: "If you're sick, stay home, get treatment, go see a doctor."

This is easier said than done. In the U.S. today, nearly half of workers are not allowed to earn paid sick days. How do the experts expect people to stay home when they are sick , if they don't have any paid sick days?Click here to sign the petition today! The United States needs to allow all working individuals to earn paid sick days to ensure our economic security, and protect public health.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Why Earned Sick Time is Important to Everyone

Kleenex tissuesWhen 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 would address this concern at the national level, and PathWays PA has teamed up with other organizations to work on the issue at the state and local level. Please take part – you can send a letter to your senators and representative, join us on Facebook to support earned sick time in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia, or become part of our coalition of advocates and businesses working to ensure all Philadelphians and Pennsylvanians have the opportunity to earn sick time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

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 petition supporting the Governor's plan to provide tuition relief to incoming freshman at community colleges. Visit to sign on or learn more.


Equal Pay Day Rally!

Come and support the Equal Pay Day Rally and visit your representatives in Harrisburg.

When: TUESDAY, APRIL 28, 2009, 9:30 A.M.


This year Katharine M. Watson from the 144th Legislative District will be chairing the Rally.

Questions? Please call or email: Barb Schmouder, President BPW/PA, at (570) 398-0125, or


Join NCTC by Calling Your Representative and Opposing H.R. 1214- Stop Predatory Lending!

Oppose H.R. 1214! This is a bill that will effectively legitimize predatory lending by capping interest rates at 391%, undermine current reform efforts in states around the country, and fail to eliminate current loopholes.

Make calls to your representative opposing H.R. 1214 and supporting a 36% interest rate cap (S. 500 / H.R. 1608). Take the lead in targeting your Members on the House Financial Services Committee - where H.R. 1214 is currently under review. Click here for NCTC Talking Points on H.R. 1214; click here for a list of Committee Members; and click here for a list of Co-Sponsors.


Urge Senators Casey and Specter to Support the Paycheck Fairness Act!

The Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) would be a critical step forward in the fight for fair pay for women. Women were paid 77.8 cents for every dollar paid to men in 2007; African American women 68% of what men were paid; and Hispanic women 59% of what men were paid. The wage gap has been improving at a rate of less than half a cent per year since 1963, when women were paid 58.9 cents for every male dollar. Without stronger measures to promote equal pay, and assuming the same slow rate of improvement, the gender wage gap would not close completely until around 2058.

Join the National Partnership for Women and Families by sending these letters to Senator Specter and Casey, urging them to support the Paycheck Fairness Act. Click here to access the letter to Senator Casey, and click here to access the letter to Senator Specter.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Send a Message For Healthy Families

Kleenex-small-boxIn 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:

  1. Show your support for earned sick time by visiting Facebook. Sign up to support earned sick time in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia.
  2. Email if you are interested in being active in coalitions at the state level and in Philadelphia to bring about earned sick time for workers.
  3. Use the comments section of this blog or email us to tell your story of needing earned sick time to care for your family

Thursday, April 16, 2009

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 from their current loan. The Gutierrez bill, known as HR 1214, would cap these interest rates – but only at 391%. It would also limit payday loans covered by the bill to those with a term of 91 days, which means that lenders could circumvent the law by offering longer-termed loans.

The National Community Tax Coalition has a series of talking points about this bill that you can read to get more information (or, if you are a Stephen Colbert fan, you can look for his take on the bill in his April 14 segment of “The Word”). There are also a list of things you can do:

  1. Sign on your organization on to the NCTC petition - All organizations are welcome, but especially those that run VITA sites in their state. Several bills are listed in the petition, FYI.
  2. Reach out to your representatives who are on the relevant committee or who are cosponsoring the bill – in Pennsylvania, Rep. Paul Kanjorski (DEM-PA-11th) and Rep. Jim Gerlach (REP-PA-6th) are on the committee. Rep. Paul Kanjorski is also a cosponsor.
  3. Submit your Client Stories - these stories are instrumental in highlighting the need for policy change. Share your stories of clients who have been helped by the EITC and the Child Tax Credit and/or those that have been hurt by RALs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

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.

Monday, April 13, 2009

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!

Need help paying for your prescription? The PPA Bus is coming to Philadelphia and will be there to help your unemployed members.

They may qualify for programs that provide free, or nearly free
prescriptions. The Help-Is-Here-Express and their helpful
counselors will be on-hand to help you find out if you, or
members of your family, are eligible.

Help-Is-Here Express & Community Health Fair

Monday, April 13, 2009

2 PM until 4 PM

(3 PM informational press conference)

Love Park, 16th St. and JFK Blvd., Philadelphia

This event will feature free tee shirts, a live radio broadcast,
and promises to be fun for the entire family!

To download a flyer for this event visit:
Sign a Petition to Save Children's Services
A budget deficit will force cuts to important services for children and families. Join PCCY by signing a petition to City Council supporting a temporary increase in wage or property tax to save children's services and our city's future.


We can't afford to cut child and family services. In this time of economic crisis, we're all going to have to chip in a little extra to avoid service cuts in this year's city budget. Mayor Nutter has proposed a temporary property tax increase to fill the budget hole. It's up to City Council to make the next move.

Sign today!
Join Maternity Care Coalition at their Rally on May 4th in Harrisburg!
Maternity Care Coalition is gearing up to promote their latest report and are looking forward to spreading the word about the report at their rally on May 4th in Harrisburg!
Insuring Healthy Births, available for review on their website at, reviews the healthcare services childbearing women need and the kinds of health insurance currently available in the state. They examined other states' solutions and considered the lessons they've learned. This report summarizes their research, and recommendations for change are on pages 13-16.

Please RSVP for the rally by calling 215.989.3554 or emailing


Call your Senators and Urge them to Cosponsor the Bill to Hold a White House Conference on Children and Youth!
Senator Mary Landrieu, along with her bipartisan cosponsor, Senator Richard Burr, is set to re-introduce her bill to hold a White House Conference on Children and Youth in 2010. They have circulated a Dear Colleague letter asking other senators to become original sponsors when the bill is introduced. Each new Congress requires all bills to be re-introduced for the new session.

Join Child Welfare League of America by calling your Senators TODAY and asking them to cosponsor the bill to hold a White House Conference on Children and Youth.

Tell them to contact Senator Landrieu (D-LA) or Senator Burr (R-NC) and ask that they be included as a cosponsor for the new bill. A White House Conference is needed to focus community and national attention on the nation's most vulnerable children, and as a result, on the most critical issues facing children in the United States in the 21st century.

Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard to be connected to your Senator at 202-224-3121.
Sign Statement of Principles for Child Nutrition Reauthorization
The Food Research and Action Center, along with members of the Child Nutrition Forum, needs your help. Congress gets back from its Spring Recess on April 20th, and they want to tell them that more than 1,500 organizations from every state in the country have signed onto the Statement of Principles.

You can help them make it happen! Take these two steps. First, if you haven't signed the Statement of Principles, click here to sign on. Second, if you already signed onto them, click here and tell five organizations in your community to join you.
Spread the Word About Unemployment LifeLine!
The Unemployment LifeLine is a one-stop guide that links workers to the resources in their area, from unemployment offices to veterans' services to child care. It also offers the opportunity to talk to others and share support and lessons learned.


Tell your unemployed (and underemployed) friends and family about the Unemployment LifeLine. No one should be without the help they need, and no one should feel alone in a difficult time.
Urge Congress to Make Long-Term Care a Top Priority!
Join WOW, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and allied organizations across the country in calling upon the U.S. Congress to make long-term care a priority in broader health care reform.


· Include Long-Term Care in Health Reform
· Co-sponsor the CLASS Act


· Click HERE to send an e-mail and learn more
· Visit with your legislator during the April recess

Set up your own meeting or join meetings alongside other health care advocates to make the case for supporting home and community-based long-term care.

Click HERE to find contact information to set up your appointment.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

PA to Receive $60.1 Million in Childcare Funding

Baby playing with SophieSome 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.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

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% unemployment rate.

In Pennsylvania, 38.6% of adults 25 and over have only a high school education. Over half of all adults in Pennsylvania (52.2%) have only a high school education or less. By comparison in the US, 29.8% of adults 25 and over have only a high school education, and 46.3% have a high school education or less.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Key SECTORS Legislation Spotlights Skills Needs

US Congress 02(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-growth occupations that pay self-sufficient wages and/or provide opportunities for workers to move up a career ladder to better jobs.

At the national level, the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act will target industries in need of skilled workers (yes, even in with high unemployment, there are some industries that can’t find skilled workers to meet their needs). Grants through the program will go towards businesses that provide opportunities for their workers to reach economic self-sufficiency.

To learn more, please check out the links at, and come back to our blog for more updates!

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

Friday, April 3, 2009

Starting Over in Retirement

Newspapers-20080928This 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 start. However, Pennsylvania’s community college consistently rank among the most expensive in the country, which becomes even more of a problem during this recession. For more on community colleges, look for a new report from PathWays PA to be released in the next week or two.