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Showing posts from March, 2010

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - March 31, 2010

State Budget

Last week the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a budget bill that reflects the Governor's budget proposal. The bill passed the House by a vote of 107-89. The bill now goes on to the Senate, which is expected to reconvene on April 12.

The House bill did not include any action on new revenue proposals, including the Stimulus Transition Fund, that were included in the Governor’s budget. If no new revenue is raised this year, the state will have a deficit of $2.4 billion in 2011-12 and $12.8 billion by 2014-15. The House is expected to work on the revenue proposals in other legislation.

What is the Stimulus Transition Fund?

The purpose of the fund is to cover the budget hole that will exist after the federal stimulus funds expire in June 2011. In the coming fiscal year, the state is expecting to receive $2.7 billion in federal stimulus dollars. This money will fund health care, corrections, and education. In the following fiscal year (FY2011-2012), the …

PathWays PA Job Postings - March 31, 2010

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Financial Educator
Innovative program that promotes economic well-being in low-income families seeks a BS/BA level Financial Educator. You must be comfortable with people, computers and TANF system and have the ability to discuss basic financial planning and budgeting. Must be able to work some evenings and Saturday mornings. Independent transportation required; bilingual a plus. 4 year degree required - no exceptions - prefer BSW, background in education, or related field. Counseling experience also preferred. This position will split time between Delaware County and Philadelphia. Fax resumes to LD/LK 610-328-2807. EOE

Trauma-informed Therapists
PathWays PA is seeking quality therapists to provide trauma-informed therapeutic services to women, teen mothers and teen girls in their homes. Must be trained-in trauma-informed services and be familiar with the S.E.L.F. model; must also be comfortable addressing sexual abuse and domestic violence issues. Flexible hours required. LSW a…

LIHEAP Extended for Two More Weeks Until April 16

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Pennsylvania has announced a two-week extension of LIHEAP (the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program), which will mean that the program will end on April 16 instead of April 2. Through LIHEAP, families can receive cash grants to pay for home heating fuel and crisis grants for heating emergencies.

According to the Commonwealth, LIHEAP has helped 382,046 families through cash grants and 111,178 households with crisis grants.  By comparison, in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, LIHEAP served 547,302 applicants with cash grants and 202,533 with crisis grants. Income eligibility for the program changed between the 2008-2009 season and the 2009-2010 season.  In 2008, families earning below 210 percent of the Federal Poverty Level- or about $44,520 for a family of four- could access the program. This year, only families earning below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($33,075 for a family of four) can access it.

If you are in need of heating assistance, you can find applications at coun…

Invitation to 2010 Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on the Future of Pennsylvania's Workforce and Economy

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We are writing to invite you to the 2010 Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on the Future of Pennsylvania's Workforce and Economy. Occurring less than a month before the Commonwealth's primary elections, this forum will offer an informative and interactive look at the candidates' plans for stimulating job creation and moving Pennsylvanians back to work. The forum will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on April 19th at the National Constitution Center. PathWays PA is proud to be a supporting co-sponsor of this forum.

We hope that you will be able to participate in this important community event. The way in which we address job creation and workforce development in the next four years will impact the Commonwealth's future for decades to come. For more information, please see our formal invitation below. If you plan to attend, please save the date and RSVP at www.pagovforum.org. In addition, please feel free to share this announcement with colleagues that you think may be intereste…

Health Care Reform in Pennsylvania

While health care reform is helping millions of Americans across the country, below is a look at how Pennsylvanians with and without insurance will see real benefits as a result of the legislation:
8.1 million residents who have health care coverage through an employer or purchase it themselves will be better protected against insurance company abuses.3 million families will have access to tax credits and other assistance to help reduce the cost of their health care premiums.2.2 million senior citizens will have improved Medicare and pay less in prescription drug costs.262,800 small businesses will be eligible for tax credits to help pay the cost of health care for their employees.143,600 residents with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage.Thanks to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and the Pennsylvania Health Access Network the above information is available for each of Pennsylvania’s 19 Congressional Districts.

Support the Industry Partnership Program in the Senate!

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As many of you know, the Department of Labor and Industry’s Industry Partnerships legislation (HB 2230) unanimously passed the House of Representatives last week. It will now be referred to the Senate’s Labor and Industry Committee when they return on April 12.

The Industry Partnership bill amends the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Act to make Industry Partnerships a permanent part of Pennsylvania’s workforce development system. It will require the Department of Labor and Industry to continue defining targeted industries and High Priority Occupations, and to administer a grant program when funds are made available.

What can you do to help pass this important legislation? Call your legislators today to ask them to vote for the Industry Partnerships bill! If you don’t know who represents you or the district in which your business is located, visit http://www.legis.state.pa.us/. A script is below if you would like to use it:

If your legislator is on the Senate Labor and Industry…

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: March 29, 2010

PathWays PA Invites You to a Resource Fair and Publications Release

Please join PathWays PA and other local nonprofit organizations at a resource fair for the release of our newest publication, Making Wages Work, which looks at the gaps between public benefits and wage adequacy. We will also be launching Keeping It Real: Teen Finances, a handbook for teens to help then manage their money.

The event will include an overview of our new report, handbook, and the release of the Online Training and Benefits Eligibility Tool (OTBET). The OTBET is an online tool that allows staff and clients to determine the personal Self-Sufficiency Standard and benefits eligibility for their own families.

Following the presentations, local nonprofits will have resources available to share regarding their services and publications.

WHEN: April 12, 2010, 9:00 – 11:00 AM
WHERE: The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 7 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103

To sign up, call PathWays PA at 6…

The Sky Did Not Fall in San Francisco

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(cross-posted from Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces blog)

As states and localities continue to debate earned sick time laws, it is important to look at the track record so far in San Francisco, the only city to have had such a law on the books since 2006 (Milwaukee passed a paid sick and safe days ballot initiative in November 2008, but it has been held up in court, and paid sick and safe days legislation took effect in Washington, D.C., in March 2008).  Despite predictions that "the sky would fall" (employees would be laid off, businesses would close), San Francisco has shown that even during a recession, cities can benefit from earned sick time.

In September 2008, IWPR released a report looking at the early impact of earned sick time on the San Francisco economy compared to local counties.  From February 2007-February 2008, employment increases in San Francisco were on-par with Marin and San Mateo counties and "substantially above" the rate of chang…

Got 23 Cents to Spare? That's the Cost for One Hour of Earned Sick Time

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(cross posted from  the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Blog)

A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers some great information on earned sick time throughout the US.  According to the report:
61 percent of all private industry workers have earned sick time84 percent of all workers in the occupational group "Management, professional and related" have access to earned sick time42 percent of all workers in the occupational group "Service" have access to earned sick time73 percent of full-time private industry workers and 23 percent of part-time private industry workers have access to earned sick time81 percent of workers in the highest wage bracket have earned sick time, compared to 33 percent in the lowest wage bracketIn March 2009, the average cost of sick leave per employee hour worked for private-sector employers was 23 cents.In "Management, professional and related" the cost is 53 centsIn "Service" the cost is only 8…

Movement on Summer Youth Funding

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From our friends at the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals


Earlier this week, Chairman David Obey (D-WI) introduced H.R. 4899, Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act of 2010. This measure would provide $600 million for summer youth programs. Timing of House consideration is still up in the air, but it could come up as early as today. This program supports our local and national economy, and provides a meaningful way to engage youth.

If you support this program, please contact your member of Congress today and request that he or she support H.R. 4899. Explain how important it is that the Summer Youth programs receive this much needed funding. Be sure to share any success stories that you have. The more personal you can make your story – the better!

To find the phone number for your Member of Congress, simply go to www.house.gov.


image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/befuddledsenses/ / CC BY 2.0

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - March 24, 2010

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State Budget

On Monday, Representative Vitali withdrew amendments he had offered that were meant to halt or hinder natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, which would have also required a $110 million cut to basic education funding.

With no other amendments, including one originally proposed by Representative Levdansky, brought up for debate, the House of Representatives yesterday approved the expenses portion of the Governor’s proposed budget (HB 2279) by a vote of 107 to 89. The budget includes $26.26 billion in state funds and $2.76 billion in federal stimulus money for a total of $29.03 billion in spending. The revenue portion of the budget is likely to be debated in the House in April.

In the House budget proposal, spending for many programs would continue at levels below FY 2008-09, and most departments would see cuts to their funding. The plan would restore state funding for basic education and provide additional support using federal stimulus dollars. A few other ar…

Another Program Included in Healthcare - The CLASS Act

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People haven't said much about it (until today's posting on the New York Times), but the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act has been included as part of the healthcare reform bill signed this week.  Under the CLASS Act, workers can choose to opt-in to a voluntary payroll deduction, which in turn will result in their receiving a minimum benefit of $50 per day to purchase non-medical long-term care services and supports when needed in retirement.

Thanks to everyone who helped promote the CLASS Act!

image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Census: Help Children Get Counted.

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We've mentioned it before, but in Census years, children are the most likely to be undercounted.  According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, young children are missed at a higher rate than any other group, with 1 million children undercounted in the 2000 Census.

In order to highlight the need for counting children, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has developed a toolkit (which includes Dora the Explorer factsheets and web buttons) to help spread the word.   Remember, when children are undercounted, it leads to a loss of fund for schools, HeadStart, and other important programs. Please work with your friends, colleagues, and clients to make sure everyone is counted in the Census this year!

Online Tools to Help Decipher the Health Care Bill

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If you want to learn more about what is in the health care bill and how you will be affected please see the online tools below:

An interactive tool where one can see how the bill will affect them. A side-by-side comparison of the heath care proposals.A consumer’s guide to health care reform with frequently asked questions and answers.A timeline of how health care reform came about.A look at how people will be insured under the bill.Stories from real people and how health care reform will affect them.

What Does Health Care Reform Really Mean?

Now that a health care reform bill has passed, many are wondering what the bill will really do for them. Below is a timeline of when aspects of the bill will go into effect:

In three months:
Individuals who have not been able to find coverage because of a pre-existing condition will be eligible for subsidized coverage through a high-risk insurance program. In six months:
Many insurance plans will be prohibited from placing lifetime limits on medical coverage, Insurance companies can no longer cancel policies of people who become ill, Children with pre-existing conditions can not be denied coverage, and Dependent children can remain on their parents' health insurance plans until age 26.In one year:
Senior citizens will receive more help paying for drugs in Medicare, There will be more oversight of premium increases, and Businesses with fewer than 25 employees and average wages of less than $50,000 could qualify for a tax credit of up to 35 percent of the cost of their premiums. In…

Green Jobs Need Women - And Women Need Green Jobs

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On Saturday, March 20, PathWays PA and other organizations participated in The WOMENomics Forum (co-sponsored by the Friends of Delaware County Women's Commission, Eastern Delco and Interboro Business & Professional Women, Delaware County Women's Commission, The Center Foundation, PathWays PA, The Pennsylvania Commission for Women, and Delaware County Council), where we spoke about green jobs for women. A copy of our presentation is below, and a description of the event appeared inThe Delaware County Daily Timeson Monday.

If you are interested in green jobs, now is the time to get involved. The Sustainable Business Network just released a list of green jobs available in Philadelphia, including information on the education level needed to access these jobs. For more information on women and green jobs, you can also visit the Women's Economic Security Campaign.

PathWays PA Invites You to a Resource Fair and Publication Release

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Think the Need For Equal Pay is Over? Think Again.

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An article published this weekend in Newsweek highlights the struggles women have faced, and continue to face, in finding equity in workplace earnings.  A new report from IWPR shows that in 2008, the ratio of women's full-time median annual earnings compared to men's was 77.1 - in other words, women earned 77.1% of what men did over the year.

While pregnancy and child-rearing has long been blamed for the difference in earnings between men and women, the fact remains that just one year out of college, women are earning only 80 percent of the wages of male colleagues - even after earning higher GPAs in college.  Here are some other facts you might find interesting:
Even 10 years out of college, full-time working women who have not had children earn 77 percent of what men are earning.43 percent of all women work in one of four occupations: secretary, registered nurse, teacher, and cashier, also known as "pink-collar" jobs.  Overall, more than half of all women work in sa…

Health Care Reform Passes

After many months of hearings, studies, rallies, and negotiations, health care reform finally is a reality. Last night the House of Representatives passed a final package of health care reforms. While the final bill may not be perfect, the legislation will protect Americans from harmful insurance industry practices, offer the uninsured and small businesses the chance to obtain affordable health care, and cover 32 million uninsured Americans. The measure passed the House by a vote of 220 to 211.

For some members this vote was a very difficult one but one they chose to make to the benefit of so many Americans. If you are supportive of health care reform, please take the time to see how your legislator voted and let them know if you agree with that vote.

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: March 22, 2010

As the State House is preparing to vote on the Governor’s budget proposal, this week’s E-Newsletter is focusing on the State Budget including updates and action steps.
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House to Vote on Budget Today

Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Governor’s proposed budget bill.

The Representatives are voting early this year, 100 days before the budget is due, to show their commitment to have an on-time budget – after a 101-day delay in passing last year’s budget. If the bill passes the House, it will then go to the Senate where it is expected to stay for some time.


Potential Amendments to State Budget Mean Cuts to Education and Other Services

Two Representatives have filed amendments to the Budget Bill that would cut funding. The amendments are meant to halt or hinder natural gas drilling on state land in the Marcellus Shale. The amendments include:
Representative Greg Vitali's amendment, which would take $110 million from education funding.Repr…

PathWays PA Special Budget E-Alert - March 17, 2010

State Budget


The House Appropriations Committee has advanced a bill containing the Governor’s proposed budget. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is planning to hold a vote on the state budget bill on Monday, March 22.

There have not been amendments to the bill thus far. Separate from the budget bill, however, is proposed legislation to end or limit drilling in the Marcellus Shale, which would reduce revenue available for the budget. The Governor proposed and the House Appropriations Committee included $180 million worth of leases in the budget proposal. Without that revenue, potential cuts could be made to funding for basic education, the Department of Public Welfare, and other crucial services. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center may be including a list of potential cuts on their website.


Philadelphia Budget

City Council is scheduled to hear testimony today on whether the proposed tax on sugary drinks, which is estimated to raise $77 million, will affect jobs …

NPR Series: The Work-Life Balance

(Cross post from the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Blog)

The majority of our society no longer looks the way it did in the 1950s, with one member of the household, generally the husband, working outside the home. Today, if two adults are in a household, both of their incomes are usually needed to keep up with the added costs of daily life. In other households, single parents may be on their own caring for their children. These new family models make the standard 40 hour, 9-to-5 workweek difficult for many parents.

To discuss this issue, NPR is doing a three-part series on how employers can give employees some flexibility so they can have more of a work-life balance. Some of the techniques used by employers include flex-time, results-only work environments, and telecommuting. Employers interviewed in the first segment said that by giving employees more options, they have a more productive staff and less turnover.

First, more and more employers are discovering th…