At today’s County Supervisors meeting, Supervisors Sharon Bronson, Richard Elias and Ramon Valadez voted 3-2 to approve a County Budget that included a 20% increase for JobPath. This is in line with PCICEO/SAI’s goal from last October’s Accountability Session to double JobPath’s County funding by 2020. The highly successful JobPath Program has over a 98% retention rate in some fields and has now moved over 1,500 struggling Pima County residents through training and into living wage jobs.
Over 500 local residents attended a bilingual “Education and Economic Success for All” Accountability Session at Amphitheater High School on Sunday evening, Oct. 2nd. Over 50 congregations, schools and community groups participated. State legislature candidates Chris Ackerley (R), Rosanna Gabaldon (D), and Daniel Hernandez (D) from AZ House LD 2, Randy Friese (D), and Pamela Powers Hannley (D), from House LD 9 and County Supervisor District 3 Candidates Sharon Bronson (D), and Kim DeMarco (R), attended, answered a series of specific yes-no questions, and then explained their responses.
The topics covered education, hunger/food security, SPICE (synthetic marijuana), JobPath workforce funding, and affordable housing. The session also included a discussion of the pros and cons of the $48 million Amphi Bond Proposition 447.
Amphi neighborhood resident and Sacred Heart member, Christina Crawford, shared the evening’s most dramatic story, concerning her son’s SPICE addiction. She challenged the candidates and legislators in attendance to change the laws: “Get this stuff out of the stores and smoke shops! Get it out of the hands of our children and neighbors!”
The session was co-sponsored by Southern Arizona Interfaith, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, the Amphitheater School District, Literacy Connects and the UA College of Education.
Other attending candidates included US Congressional District 2 candidate Matt Heinz, Arizona Corporation Commission candidate Tom Chabin, State legislative candidates Andrea Dalessandro, (LD 2 Senate), Stephanie Mach, and Kirsten Engle, (LD 10 House), County Supervisor candidate Richard Elias, District 5, Pima County School Superintendent candidate Dustin Williams, Pima Community College Governing Board candidate Martha Durkin, District 5, Amphi Governing Board candidates Deanna Day and Julie Cozad, and TUSD Governing Board candidate Rachael Sedgwik.
Hundreds of participants pledged to vote and get at least 10 others to vote and dozens pledged to do a non-partisan get-out-the-vote walk on Saturday, Oct. 15th from 9 to 11:30 am. The walkers met at Literacy Connects located at 200 E. Yavapai, a block east of Amphi High School.
On Tuesday night, the Mayor and Council told 30 Pima County Interfaith and JobPath leaders that they would cut JobPath’s city budget by 7%. However, five of them pledged to make up the funding loss from private funds. Mayor Rothschild and Council Member Paul Cunningham have already met with Bombardier and TMC and have pledged, along with Council Members Regina Romero, Richard Fimbres, and Karen Uhlich, to work with PCICEO and JobPath to raise the “cut funds.”
PCICEO Executive Team member Rev. Leah Sandwell-Weiss (St. Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church), told the council that, “JobPath provides parents not only the opportunity to move up to middle-class jobs, but also the opportunity to improve their lives with better housing, education for their children, and family life.” Both she and Art Mendoza (JobPath Board member and President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)), stressed the importance of public funding for education, economic development and anti-poverty efforts. He said, “Now is a great time to invest more in these students, not less: this reduction will impact the number of students we serve and it sends the wrong message about the City’s economic recovery.”
Pima County Interfaith will follow-up with the Mayor and Council and challenge them to set meetings with at least 20 area businesses until the funding gap has been erased. It will also challenge Council Members Steve Kozachik and Shirley Scott to participate in these meetings.
On another note, on Tuesday the Pima County Board of Supervisors approved a tentative budget that includes a 16% increase of funding for JobPath to $500,000.
Follow us on Facebook.