Monday, June 28, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: June 28, 2010

The Time for Paid Sick Days Is Now: Survey Shows Overwhelming Public Support for a Paid Sick Days Workplace Standard

A new survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and commissioned by the Public Welfare Foundation demonstrates that lack of access to paid sick days has significant negative consequences for public health, health care costs, and families’ financial security. The survey also shows that overwhelming majorities support paid sick days laws as a matter of basic labor policy.

The survey results could not be clearer: It is time for policymakers to guarantee access to paid sick days to the over 40 million U.S. workers who currently lack them. Workers should not have to risk their jobs to care for their families and should not have to risk their own-well-being—and the public’s health—to do their jobs.

If you believe paid sick days is an important issue, please contact your federal, state, and (if in Philadelphia) local legislators and urge them to act on legislation that would afford workers the right to earn this basic labor standard. To learn more about this issue please visit the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Blog.


Federal

Support the Local Jobs for America Act

The Senate’s introduction of the Local Jobs for America Act is a major step forward towards winning a direct job creation program that will make a real impact on our communities.

This legislation would provide critical funding to states, local governments, and community-based organizations to save and create one million jobs in communities around the country. It provides $75 billion over two years for states and localities to use to create new jobs that meet crucial community needs and to retain existing workers. This funding would save or create 750,000 jobs. The Local Jobs for America Act also provides $23 billion for education jobs, funding to hire police and firefighters, and funding for on-the-job training programs.

Please sign your organization onto this letter, and share it with other organizations in your state that might be willing to sign on. If you would like to sign onto the letter lease contact Jesse Poon at jpoon@communitychange.org.

The deadline for signing on is today, Monday, June 28.


State

Support Industry Partnerships

On Wednesday, June 30, the Industry Partnership bill (which passed unanimously in the House) will have a hearing in Harrisburg. Please take a moment to call your Senators TODAY and ask them to support the bill, especially if they are on the Senate Labor and Industry Committee.

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.

Below is a possible script you can use when calling legislators:

Script: Hello, my name is ______, and I am (your job title and business/organization- e.g. Human Resources Manager at Important Corp./Administrator at Terrific Nonprofit). I live/work in the Senator’s district, and I am calling to ask Senator (name) to vote for the Industry Partnerships bill in the Senate Labor and Industry Committee. (If you are a member of an IP, please let the legislative staffer know.)


You can also add: The Industry Partnerships program is important because....


If your legislator is not on the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, you can call and ask him or her to cosponsor the bill and to vote for it when it comes up before the Senate.


Script: Hello, my name is ______, and I am (your job title and business/organization- e.g. Human Resources Manager at Important Corp./Administrator at Terrific Nonprofit). I live/work in the Senator’s district, and I am calling to ask Senator (name) to cosponsor the Industry Partnerships bill. (If you are a member of an IP, please let the legislative staffer know.)


You can also add: The Industry Partnerships program is important to my business/organization because....

Please email us at policy@pathwayspa.org to let us know what legislators you were able to contact

Help Assure the Adoption of a Budget that Supports Victims of Abuse and Strengthens Families

During the recession, the federal government gave states additional money to pay for their Medicaid expenses through the Federal Medicaid Matching Assistance Program (FMAP). This additional money is set to expire at the end of this year. Without an extension, Pennsylvania will be facing an additional $850 million hole in the budget.

As of yet Congress has not passed an extension and without the additional funding Pennsylvania is likely to face additional budget cuts. For example, some cuts that have been proposed include a 25 percent reduction in child welfare services, 50 percent reduction in domestic and sexual violence services as well as elimination of drug and alcohol and homeless services.

The Protect Our Children Committee (POCC) is dedicated to preventing child abuse and the victimization of children. POCC has put together a letter to members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate urging them to ensure that the state budget being negotiated seeks to minimize the ripple effect – human and economic – resulting from the failed effort on FMAP. Central to this strategy will be a balanced approach to the state budget – an approach that seeks to offset the FMAP loss and resulting public/private sector job losses with the need to consider ways to raise revenue.

Please review the letter and if you agree that the General Assembly needs to take a balanced approach to the budget sign onto the letter by 5:00 today, Monday, June 28.

Information/Events

Building on Pennsylvania: A Statewide Summit on Regional Opportunity 

Pennsylvania’s manufacturing towns and older, suburban communities were once thriving, diverse, and attractive places. Our aging communities are now experiencing crumbling infrastructure, abandoned Main Streets, loss of jobs, struggling schools, and excessive tax burdens, while newer communities are at risk for unbalanced growth.

Building One Pennsylvania: A Statewide Summit on Regional Opportunity will give visibility to the common challenges faced by our communities and will launch an organizing structure for advancing the state and federal policy agenda that will revitalize and strengthen Pennsylvania. The summit will feature national experts on regional equity, land use, and municipal and school governance, as well as testimony from local community leaders.

WHEN: Friday, July 16, 2010, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (doors open at 9:00 a.m.)
WHERE: Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, 750 E. King Street, Lancaster, PA
FEE: $15 (includes lunch)

Invited guests include Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial candidates, U.S. Senate candidates, and members of the federal administration.

Register now to save your space. More than 500 community leaders are expected to attend the day-long summit. Organizations convening the summit include 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, Good Schools Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Council of Churches, Southeastern Pennsylvania First Suburbs Project, YorkCounts and a number of municipal governments and community leaders.

For more information please e-mail buildingonepa@gmail.com or call (866) 720-4086.

Rally Against Budget Cuts

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition is holding a rally against budget cuts.

WHEN: Thursday July 1, Noon
WHERE: Philadelphia City Hall, Dilworth Plaza (15th Street Side)

The Vote for Homes! Coalition is marching to the rally. If you would like to join in the march, meet the Coalition at Broad Street and Fairmount Avenue at 11:00. For more information, contact Jennine Miller at 215-232-7272 or jmiller@projecthome.org.

To RSVP for the rally, contact Kate Atkins at (215) 563-5848 x 16 or sepabudget@gmail.com.

Health Care Reform Implementation: How to Get Involved in YOUR State!

Want to help ensure that the promise of health reform is achieved? Want some strategic ideas about how to get involved in your state? Want to ensure that the voices of women and women's health advocates are heard? Have questions and ideas about health care reform implementation?

If so, please join the next Raising Women’s Voices conference call.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 1:00pm – 2:15pm EST

On this call Raising Women’s Voices will discuss strategies for state-based health reform advocates to become active in health care reform implementation. You will hear from a panel of women's health advocates from different states around the country who have begun this work and will share their experiences with you.

We look forward to this important conversation and to your participation. Please email info@raisingwomensvoices.net to RSVP and receive the call in information.

New Health and Human Resources Guide Available

An updated version of the state's Health and Human Services Resource Guide is now online at DPW's home page, www.dpw.state.pa.us.

The guide summarizes information about available services and resources for all Pennsylvanians and provides contact information for more than 100 state programs. Residents can find information about available services such as Medical Assistance, mental health services, addiction treatment, early learning options, Cash Assistance, immunization programs and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

The guide also includes information on how Pennsylvanians can apply for many of the services online via www.COMPASS.state.pa.us.


PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

Self Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania 2010-2011

PathWays PA is proud to announce that we released the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania 2010-2011.  The Standard measures how much income a family of a certain composition in a given place must earn to meet their basic needs without public or private assistance.
Some ways the Standard can be and has been used include:
  • Funding - When applying for funding, the Standard promotes a new way to measure need and success
  • Eligibility - When creating or evaluating programs, using the Standard as an eligibility limit opens the programs to new populations
  • Reference - When discussing financial needs with board members, staff, or clients, the Standard establishes a new measure of reference
If you would like to receive a copy or have any questions about the Standard please contact policy@pathwayspa.org or call 215-543-5022 X255.

Online Training and Benefits Eligibility Tool

The Online Training and Benefits Eligibility Tool (OTBET) is an online tool that allows staff and clients to determine their personal Self-Sufficiency Standard and benefits eligibility for their own families.
This is an easy to use tool that determines eligibility for multiple programs including LIHEAP, food stamps (SNAP), child care assistance, and CHIP. Once eligibility is determined, link are provided to connect staff or client to COMPASS and other programs that clients may find useful.

Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges

PathWays PA is proud to announce the release of a new paper that examines the impact that community colleges and other workforce development can have on the earnings of Pennsylvanians.

While many students enter college straight from high school, a growing number of students need access to higher education after they have already entered the workforce. Nationally, 2/3rds of the 2020 workforce has already graduated from high school, but they have not all gone on to higher education. Pennsylvania ranks 3rd highest in the country for the number of adults (age 18-64) whose formal education ended with a high school diploma or GED.

By 2014, 51 percent of all jobs in Pennsylvania will require some college, though not a four-year degree (also known as "middle skills" education). As of 2008, only 22 percent of Pennsylvanians age 25 and over fit into the middle skills category.


Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges examines the needs of adult workers in Pennsylvania and the part that community colleges can play in serving those needs.

PathWays PA Offers Expedited Career Path to First Responders and EMT

PathWays PA is offering eligible job seekers free education and training to achieve certification as a First Responder followed by Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification.

Successful candidates will have:
  • Achieved qualifying scores on WorkKeys® Assessment
  • Clean criminal background check
  • No back problems or physical restrictions
  • The ability to lift 125 pounds 33 inches off the ground and carry for 10 feet
  • Willingness to working with and touch all people
  • A valid drivers license (or the ability to obtain one during training)
  • Ability to pay attention to detail and flexibility to change course as circumstances warrant
  • Willingness to work different shifts and weekends
If the above qualifications are met, then an individual may be eligible for the training, which includes:
  • 6 weeks of Math/English Skills building classes
  • CPR Training and Certification
  • 50 hours of First Responder Training
  •  77 hours of EMT training over 7 weeks
  • Career coaching support 

Please feel free to share this information with your clients and networks. For more information please call 610-543-5022 and ask for Jennifer Oglesbee at extension 256 or joglesbee@pathwayspa.org or Barbara Lewis at extension 228 or blewis@pathwayspa.org.

Take Action on Earned Sick Time

48 percent of workers in the United States have no access to earned sick time, which means that if they are sick (or if their family members are sick) they must choose between working sick or losing their pay (or their jobs). If you are one of the 48 percent who have no earned sick time - or one of the 52 percent who do - please take our survey and tell us more!

There are bills at the federal, state, and local level to support earned sick time for everyone - here is what you can do:
  • Support the Federal Healthy Families Act! Under The Healthy Families Act, workers would have the opportunity to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 7 days of sick time per year. This time could be used to care for workers or their families, or could be used as "safe days" in cases of domestic violence. Tell your legislators that we need paid sick days now!
  • Support the paid sick days campaign in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia! Become our friend! Show your support for earned sick time by visiting Facebook. You can support earned sick time in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia. Support both!
  • If you don't live in Pennsylvania, you can still support earned sick time. Visit The National Partnership for Women and Families website to learn more about campaigns in your area.
  • Tell us your story! Are you a parent who lost their job to stay home with a sick child? Are you a business owner who provides/supports paid sick days? Email your story to us at policy@pathwayspa.org.
  • Call your Representatives! If you live in Philadelphia, call your City Councilperson and urge them to support "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces," which guarantees earned sick time for all working Philadelphians. Not sure who your City Councilperson is? Click on this link and type in your home address to find out which district you live in: http://www.phila.gov/citycouncil/districtform/districtform.html.
  • If you live in Pennsylvania (but outside of Philadelphia), call your state Representative. Tell him/her you support earned sick time for workers. Not sure who your Representative is? Simply type your address here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm.

Do You Need Help Paying for Post-Secondary Education?

PathWays PA offers Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), a matched savings program that offers financial education while helping you save for school. Through the program, your savings can be matched at a rate of three-to-one. If you save $500, we will give you an additional $1500 to go towards your school expenses.

Applicants must meet program income guidelines, be working (full or part time), and be enrolled or accepted into an accredited institution.

If you are interested or have any questions, please e-mail Kelly Binder at kbinder@pathwayspa.org.


Need Assistance With Public Benefits Applications?

PathWays PA provides assistance to those who need help applying for food stamps or other benefits. For further information, you can contact our office in Philadelphia 215-387-1470 or Delaware County 610-543-5022.

For more information about the services provided by PathWays PA please visit our website.

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