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Showing posts from September, 2010

Watch: Health Reform Hits Main Street

Thank you to the Kaiser Family Foundation for creating this video.

Confused about how the new health reform law really works? This short, animated movie -- featuring the "YouToons" -- explains the problems with the current health care system, the changes that are happening now, and the big changes coming in 2014.







Written and produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Narrated by Cokie Roberts, a news commentator for ABC News and NPR and a member of Kaiser's Board of Trustees. Creative production and animation by Free Range Studios.

"Census figures in region show poor getting poorer" - Includes Quote From PathWays PA

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"Census figures in region show poor getting poorer"
By Alfred Lubrano and Dylan Purcell
Inquirer Staff Writers
The poor got poorer and the well-off didn't get any better in the Philadelphia region in 2009, according to U.S. census figures released Tuesday.

Philadelphia retained its unwanted position as the poorest among the country's 10 largest cities, with a poverty rate of 25 percent. Making a bad situation worse, the number of children in poverty under age 18 in the city fell to one in three.To read the full article, visit the Inquirer's website.

Ask Your Legislators to Support Voluntary Post-Adoption Agreements

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In the last few days available for the House to consider bills, an important piece of legislation promoting child adoption remains on the table. Senate Bill 1360, a cost-neutral bill which provides for voluntary post-adoption contact agreements, still needs approval. Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children has a sign-on letter you can use to support this bill today.

The policies proposed in SB 1360 (which have already been adopted in 23 other states) are not new. Many children in foster care, especially youth, are reluctant to be adopted because they don't want to lose all contact with close birth relatives. About ten years ago the federal government encouraged states to amend adoption law to encourage the use of voluntary post-adoption agreements; and the Joint State Government Commission made a similar recommendation to the General Assembly.

These agreements both promote the adoption of children from foster care and provide children the opportunity to maintain appropriate cont…

Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces Newsletter

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PHILADELPHIA LOBBY DAY & PRESS CONFERENCE

Come Learn More about the Need for Earned Sick Time in Philadelphia and Share Your Story with Members of Philadelphia's City Council.

Over 41% of workers in Philadelphia have no earned sick time, while 78% of restaurant and accommodation workers are forced to choose between going to work sick, or sending a child to school sick, and losing a day's pay or possibly their job.

The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces is holding a Press Conference and Lobby Day, complete with Lobby Training, to provide information for Philadelphia's City Council about the importance of earned sick time and to urge them to continue work on the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (Bill No. 080474).

WHEN: Tuesday, October 12th

The Press Conference will take place at 1:00 PM, in the Mayor's Reception Room in City Hall, with visits to City Council Members throughout the afternoon. There will be a Lobby Training held at 123 S. Broad St…

Severance Tax to Come Up for Vote Today: Call Now!

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(from our friends at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center)

A severance tax bill is now going to the House floor for a vote today, September 28. SB1155 sets a competitive tax rate and has no front-end exemptions. It is expected to raise $120 million in the first six months of 2011 and $326 million in Fiscal Year 2011-12. A vote is scheduled for 3 pm. Please contact your legislators right now!

The final bill allocates the first $75 million in funds raised this fiscal year to the General Fund. $70 million will make up for Pennsylvania's reduced FMAP allocation, and $5 million will go to the Department of Labor and Industry for worker training. The legislation also includes an annual $10 million job tax credit.

After the first $75 million this year and for all future years, funds are distributed as follows:

60% to the General Fund 40% to environmental programs and local governments
SB 1155 will provide a stable source of new funds for health care, human services, and education we…

October 12th: Earned Sick Time Lobby Day in Philadelphia

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Come Learn More about the Need for Earned Sick Time in Philadelphia and Share Your Story with Members of Philadelphia's City Council.

Over 41% of workers in Philadelphia have no earned sick time, while 78% of restaurant and accommodation workers are forced to choose between going to work sick, or sending a child to school sick, and losing a day's pay or possibly their job.


The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces is holding a Press Conference and Lobby Day, complete with Lobby Training, to provide information for Philadelphia's City Council about the importance of earned sick time and to urge them to continue work on the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (Bill No. 080474).


WHEN: Tuesday, October 12th



The Press Conference will take place at 1:00 PM, in the Mayor's Reception Room in City Hall, with visits to City Council Members throughout the afternoon. There will be a Lobby Training held at 123 S. Broad Street 8th Floor - Room 8B at 11:00 AM. Food…

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: September 27, 2010

PathWays PA Special Announcements

Save the Date: Help Bring Earned Sick Time to Philadelphia Workers

On October 12, 2010, join the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces in meeting with Philadelphia’s City Council members to discuss the need for earned sick time in Philadelphia. In Philadelphia, 41% of workers are force to choose between going to work sick or losing their pay (or possibly their jobs).

Come let members of City Council know that earning a minimum number of paid sick time is a basic right that workers should have.


For more information and to register for this event please visit, http://earnedsicktimelobbyday.eventbrite.com/.

PathWays to the Stars 32nd Anniversary Celebration Sports-tacular!

PathWays PA will celebrate 32 years of services to low-income women, children and families this year by hosting the PathWays to the Stars 32nd Anniversary Celebration Sports-tacular.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 9, 2010, 6:30 – 9:00PM
WHERE: Radisson King of Prussia’s Waterford Ba…

Presentations from the Forum on Pennsylvania's Community Colleges

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Last week, PathWays PA held a series of presentations focused on community colleges at the national and state level.  Presenters included Vickie Choitz from CLASP and Brandon Roberts from the Working Poor Families Project as well as information from PathWays PA.  For those who are interested, the presentations are viewable below.  PathWays PA's newest report, "Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges" can be found on our website.

CLASP Presentation


Working Poor Families Project Presentation


PathWays PA Presentation

Press Release: PathWays PA to Hold Event to Discuss Pennsylvania’s Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges

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2/3rd’s of 2020 Workforce are Already Out of High School – Community Colleges are the Best Way to Ensure Higher Education for Adults to Ensure a Stronger Workforce and Higher Earning Potential.

In today’s troubled economy, access to good jobs and wages has become more important than ever, creating another reason for Pennsylvania to take action to ensure more students can afford and access community college education and the increased earnings potential it provides. In a new report, “Pennsylvania’s Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges,” PathWays PA examines the impact that community colleges and other workforce development can have on the earnings of Pennsylvanians.


PathWays PA is proud to announce a forum focused on the needs of Pennsylvania's workforce and the role community colleges can play within that workforce.


WHERE: United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA


WHEN: September 23, 2010 - 2:00-4:00
WHO: Carol Goertzel, Presid…

Presentation to Delaware Valley Grantmakers: A Perfect Storm

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Today, PathWays PA had the privilege of speaking at a meeting of the Delaware Valley Grantmakers to discuss the "perfect storm" of policy and economic issues that will be coming to a head by the end of this year. 

Among those issues are the end of the Way to Work program, the lack of extensions for unemployment compensation, the need for adult literacy and Industry Partnerships, and the impact of domestic violence in Pennsylvania.  To learn more, please download our report!

Happy 6 Month Anniversary of Health Care Reform: Time to Celebrate New Protections and Benefits for All

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On Thursday, September 23, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act celebrates its 6 month anniversary. This is an anniversary that marks the start of numerous provisions to help Americans of all ages.

Below are some of the major provisions that will give millions of Americans access to reliable, high quality medical care, while keeping costs down:

Children through out the country are denied coverage every year. On September 23, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage to children under 19 because they have a pre-existing condition. Insurance companies have been able to retroactively cancel a policy when the insured person becomes sick if there was an unintended mistake on insurance paperwork. On September 23, insurance companies will be prohibited from rescinding coverage for individuals and groups of people, except in the case of fraud. Individuals with expensive medical bills due to chronic diseases commonly reach their lifetime limits of their policy.…

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Work force: Pennsylvania should keep Industry Partnerships

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Please take a moment to read this article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and then take action on Industry Partnerships!
It seems like an easy thing to do -- businesses maintaining links with schools and training programs that provide the skills needed in prospective employees.

But rapidly changing technology and shifting needs at the workplace can make it difficult for companies, many of them small and with few workers, to find the new hires qualified to do today's jobs.

A Pennsylvania program, however, backed by business and labor called Industry Partnerships helps industries identify their training needs and communicate that to education partners. They, in turn, develop and deliver the training, creating job applicants who show up ready to work with the desired skills. The idea began under Gov. Richard Schweiker and came to fruition under Gov. Ed Rendell.

Today almost 6,300 Pennsylvania employers in 20 industries participate in 74 partnerships that have trained more than 73,000 w…

Video and Audio on Earned Sick Time

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On Sunday, September 12, PCN's monthly television program "Agenda for Action" included a story on HB 1830, including a story from Tiffany Lomax about her need for earned sick time.  That video will be rebroadcast on September 26, but it is now available online as well.

In addition, WITF's Radio SmartTalk featured an hour-long segment on earned sick days on September 13.  You can listen and leave your own comments at the Radio SmartTalk page.  You can also download the podcast through iTunes for free.


(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/locomotion/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: September 20, 2010

PathWays PA Special Announcements

There are a number of exciting things going on at PathWays PA. Please see information about some of these things and events below.  Still Time to RSVP to PathWays PA’s Release of "Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges"

PathWays PA is proud to announce a forum focused on the needs of Pennsylvania's workforce and the role community colleges can play within that workforce. The forum is based on a report from PathWays PA 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. "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.

In addition to discuss…

Patriot-News Editorial: "Paid sick leave: It's a way to cure productivity ills"

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Check out this editorial in the Patriot-News:
You wake up this morning, ready to start a new week, when suddenly it feels like someone overnight laid a concrete block on your head.

It’s decision time: Do you call in sick or soldier through the workday?

For too many people, the answer to the question is between pain and getting paid.

An estimated 2.2 million workers in Pennsylvania have no paid sick days, many are people working low-paying jobs. If they take a day off when they or a family member is ill, they lose a day’s income, some even risk losing their job. Many just work sick. To read the full editorial, visit the Patriot-News website.

You're invited to the PathWays to the Stars 32nd Anniversary Celebration Sports-tacular!

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To buy tickets (which include refreshments), contact Pam Przybylski by email or at 610-543-5022 x234.  Tickets may also be purchased online.  Tickets are $50 in advance or $60 at the door.

Press Release: Pa.'s Poverty Rate Holds Steady Thanks to Unemployment Comp System

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HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --National poverty rates rose significantly in 2009, climbing to 14.3% from 13.2% in 2008, new Census Bureau data show.

In Pennsylvania, poverty rates remained essentially unchanged, going from 10.8% in 2006-07 to 11% in 2008-09. (The Census Bureau averages two years of survey data in order to improve the reliability of the state-level estimates.)

The poverty rate would have risen even further nationally and in Pennsylvania in 2009, had it not been for unemployment compensation extensions and other key provisions of the 2009 American Recovery Act that have helped middle-class and low-income families stay afloat.
Read the whole press release (including a quote from Carol Goertzel)!

Join PathWays PA at the WOW Building Bridges to Economic Security Meeting in Philadelphia

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Please register online now for the Wider Opportunities for Women's (WOW) Building Bridges to Economic Security regional meeting in Philadelphia. Registration is free, but space is limited.

WOW's regional meetings will feature acute insights on how Americans are thinking about the economy, work, retirement - all the pillars of the American Dream - and what that means for advocates. Participants will choose from four policy workshops each led by national and local experts (including two speakers from PathWays PA ).

Join us in Philadelphia at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel on Monday, October 4th. The meeting will run from 9:00am-5:30pm, with registration and breakfast beginning at 8:00am. Lunch is included.

Please spread the word and register today!

If you have any questions, please contact Kelly Stellrecht.

PathWays PA Job Postings - September 16, 2010

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Residential Worker
Part-time and Full-time - need caring and motivated individual to provide support and supervision for Delco group home serving women and children; HS/GED, Associates Degree and experience preferred; driver’s license required. Includes nights and weekends. Fax resumes to: LD/CFF 610-328-2807.

Childcare Worker
Child Learning Center at Delco Group home. Must have knowledge of early childhood development & ability to nurture and promote positive growth in pre school age children. AA in Early Childhood Ed. preferred. Salary $12/hour. Fax resume to LD/CFF 610-328-2807.

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 and credentialed/eligible to be cred…

Poverty Numbers Are On The Rise - Do They Tell the Whole Story?

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Today marks what has come to be known as "Poverty Day," the day when the newest statistics from the American Community Survey show the changes in the Federal Poverty Level. While the complete data will not be released until late September, reports indicate that over 1.37 million or 11.1% of people were living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) in Pennsylvania. Nationally the number stands at 43.6 million and is the largest population living below the FPL since poverty estimates began being published 51 years ago.

In just this last year the number of people living in poverty nationwide increased by 3.7 million and for the last two years that increase has totaled 6.2 million. While this Great Recession has hurt many families, it is clear now just how much worse it could have been. According to the Center on Budget and Policy, 3.3 million more individuals would have been living in poverty in 2009 without the expanded unemployment benefits. During this recession, the …

Special E-Alert Regarding the Industry Partnership Program

As many of you may know, there are two pieces of legislation pending with the Pennsylvania General Assembly that will establish in statute the Commonwealth's successful Industry Partnership program.
In March, House Bill 2230 passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously.On June 16, 2010, Senator Mike Brubaker introduced Senate Bill 1409, a nearly identical bill, which passed the Senate's Labor & Industry Committee unanimously. This Senate bill now awaits action by the full Senate in the Fall.
PathWays PA is sending this special e-alert today to ask you to take a minute to visit workforcepa.com and participate actively in getting the Industry Partnership legislation over the finish line.

What are Industry Partnerships?
Industry Partnerships consist of groups of businesses with similar product markets and skill needs that identify and address their common workforce education and training issues.These partnerships currently include more than 6,300 employers in Pe…

Take Action for Responsible Taxes

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(from our friends at the Coalition for Human Needs)

As soon as next week the Senate will begin debating a bill that will permanently extend tax cuts for middle class Americans earning below $250,000/year. We must act now to ensure that members of Congress hear the voices of those who support a responsible tax policy. To this aim, Americans for Responsible Taxes has organized a week of action designed to put pressure on the Senate to support middle class tax cuts and oppose giveaways to the wealthiest costing us $700 billion over the decade ($1 trillion including interest costs).

The message is simple:
Pass tax cuts for the middle class and working families, as the President has proposed, and let the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% expire. We critically need the $700 billion savings this would create to invest in jobs, protect important programs like Social Security and begin to pay down the long term deficit.Don't hold tax cuts for the middle class hostage to an attempt to give…

Coverage of Unemployment Modernization Press Conference

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GROUPS URGE PASSAGE OF UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BILL

A coalition of groups representing organized labor, community legal services, disability rights advocates, advocates for domestic violence survivors and others called on the members of the General Assembly to immediately consider House Bill 2400. The legislation would amend Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Law to allow the Commonwealth to qualify for $273 million of federal funds made available under the federal Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act. To read more, visit the PLS Eye Opener for September 15.

Retire PA - Pennsylvania Treasury’s Retirement Security Initiative

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Saving for retirement is a financial challenge for all of us. This challenge grows bigger every year, and it demands attention in family rooms and boardrooms all across the Commonwealth.

As shown in the Pennsylvania Elder Economic Security Standard, a PathWays PA publication that measures the cost of living for older adults, retiring and being able to “age in place” is truly expensive. Depending on housing, health, and other circumstances, elders living along in Pennsylvania need between $14,012 and $23,386 a year just to cover their basic living costs. Even though Social Security is not enough to cover just the basic costs, one out of four retired elders in Pennsylvania rely on it as their only source of income.

Far too many Pennsylvanians are in danger of experiencing an economically insecure retirement. It is time to speak honestly about this difficult subject – the goal of Retire PA, a Pennsylvania Treasury Retirement Security Initiative, is to open this dialogue important …

Support the Marcellus Shale Severance Tax

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(from our friends at the SEPA Budget Coalition and Better Choices for Pennsylvania)

As the Pennsylvania House and Senate come back into session, the House is making plans to debate a severance tax on natural gas.  The severance tax is necessary to make up for the reduced FMAP allocation and has already been included in this year's state budget. Without it, Pennsylvanians can expect at least $70 million in cuts this year alone in addition to the cuts that have already been made. In the future, the severance tax will play a major role in state budgets - if industry production estimates are accurate, the severance tax could be the 4th largest state revenue source..

House members are debating the structure of the tax. It is important that education, health and human service groups weigh in to remind our representatives that kids, seniors and people with disabilities should not be forgotten in this debate.

We are asking you to support the following:
A strong severance tax that does not …

Listen to our Unemployment Modernization Press Conference

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Did you miss our press conference on unemployment modernization yesterday featuring Carol Goertzel from PathWays PA and Sharon Dietrich from CLS? If so, you can listen here, and then take action below!

Unemployment Compensation Benefits - write to your legislator: Pennsylvania has the opportunity to receive $273 million from the federal government in return for making some small, commonsense changes to unemployment compensation (including making sure that survivors of domestic violence qualify for unemployment if they must leave their jobs). If you agree some changes should be made, write to your legislators now!Unemployment Compensation Benefits - write a letter to the editor: Unemployment continues to exceed 9.3% throughout our state. How can we help the unemployed? One way to start would be to accept $273 million from the federal government in unemployment compensation (UC) funds. If you support accepting this $273 million, please tell your story!image courtesy of http://e…

Does Your Community Have Inadequate Access to Full-Service Grocery Stores?

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For roughly 23 million Americans, access to supermarkets is severely limited. TRF, a leader in neighborhood revitalization, has been working to improve fresh food access in underserved communities. TRF provides financing for supermarkets and other grocery stores that plan to operate in underserved communities across the Mid-Atlantic. By improving the retail food landscape in these communities, TRF’s programs provide families with increased access to fresh, more affordable foods.

TRF along with PolicyMap is offering data on the areas with low access to full-service grocery stores, or Low Access Areas (LAA).

This includes:
LAA location at the Census block group level Average LAA score Number of limited service stores in the LAA Percentage of grocery retail expenditure leakage in the LAA How LAA areas compare to non-LAA areas  You can overlay these areas on any of publicly available information such as demographics, income, health, crime and more to learn more about the nature …

Come Learn About New Health Care Reform Provisions Going into Effect Next Week

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Ending pre-existing condition clauses for children, banning lifetime limits and that practice of insurance companies rescinding care...

All these provisions and more go into effect next week - six months after the passage of health care reform.

Join the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN) for an event on Monday September 20th at 1:00 PM at the Arch Street Methodist Church. Speakers with include:
Senator Robert Casey Ron Pollack, Executive Founding Director of Families USA and Joanne Grossi, Region 3 Director US Department of Health and Human Services
PHAN is proud to welcome all three for what promises to be an exciting event! These dynamic speakers will take you through the significant changes to our health care system you should expect to be seeing soon.

And if you're one of the thousands of Pennsylvanians that worked last year to help make these reforms a reality, be sure to come on Monday to show your support!

Doors open at 12:30 PM on Monday, September 20th at the A…

Ask Your Representative to Join the New Adult Literacy Caucus!

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(From our friends at the National Coalition for Literacy)

A new caucus has been created in the House of Representatives.  The Adult Literacy Caucus, sponsored by Congressman Dan Maffei, is looking for members interested in adult literacy and education.

Congressional caucuses provide ways that Congresspeople can advance causes that are important to them. A House caucus is a group of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives who share something in common, whether personal (ex: the Congressional Hispanic Caucus), related to a district’s needs (ex: the Congressional Rural Caucus) or about House Members’ interests or concerns, like the new Adult Literacy Caucus.

Now that Congressman Maffei has formed the House Adult Literacy Caucus, please ask your House Member to participate.
You can locate your House Member’s contact information using ProLiteracy’s or TESOL’s interactive map. Contact your U.S. Representative’s office. Ask to speak to the staff member in charge of adult education issue…

Celebrate National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week!

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Take a moment to write to your legislator for Adult Education and Family Literacy Week!

During this recession, every penny counts as Pennsylvanians search for family-sustaining employment. However, penny-wise can be pound-foolish when it comes to funding the programs Pennsylvanians need to find those jobs.

Eighty percent of jobs in today’s economy require some form of education beyond high school. Since more than 750,000 adults in Pennsylvania (age 18-64) lack a high school diploma or GED, the only means they have of attaining these jobs is through adult education classes.

However, over the past two years, the budget allocation for adult literacy has decreased by 50%. Meanwhile, GED classes are filling more quickly than ever. Even though the fiscal year just began in July, many counties have run out of space in their programs and begun waiting lists.

If you support adult literacy, please write to your legislators today to let them know!

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: September 13, 2010

Still Time to RSVP to PathWays PA’s Release of "Pennsylvania's Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges"

PathWays PA is proud to announce a forum focused on the needs of Pennsylvania's workforce and the role community colleges can play within that workforce. The forum is based on a report from PathWays PA 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. "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.

In addition to discussing this report, participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about workforce development and community colleges from around the country. Vickie Ch…