After a campaign that included educating County Supervisors about the economic (and life) impact of JobPath workforce development program, leaders of Pima County Interfaith won a 18% increase in funding for the program, from $423 thousand to $500 thousand. Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 for the increase after Pastor Steve Springer of Dove of Peace Lutheran Church and Lindsay Leonard, a JobPath graduate, spoke.
Former students like Patty Popp credit JobPath for helping them bridge the gap between minimum wage work and a living wage career. After training for an associate's degree in radiologic technology, she kept on advancing to her current position as Director of Clinical Operations at Radiology Limited. Her story can be read in the first article below.
Southern Arizona Training Program Lifts Students Out of Minimum Wage, Arizona Daily Star
Long Term Impacts of JobPath Graduates on Pima County, Applied Economics
"St. Philip's in Tucson engages in the political and electoral processes on more than one level. It was a founding member of Pima County Interfaith Civic Education Organization, a nonprofit advocacy organization that takes action on issues that impact families and communities at the local and regional levels. The advocacy and education have included issues such as gun violence, immigration, environmental economics, education funding, Sandwell-Weiss said.
The group hopes that by providing information and helping people connect those issues to their faith, especially Jesus' call in Matthew 25 to find him while caring for people on the margins of society, "hopefully it will make a more informed electorate and an electorate that will work to make some changes," she said."
Episcopal Congregations Find Ways to Engage in Current Political Cycle, Episcopal News Service
An economic impact study examined almost 400 people who graduated from JobPath in the last five years to track their progress. They found that the vast majority of people who graduated from JobPath still have a job five years later in the Tucson area, and that many have tripled or even quadrupled their pre-training wage.
Said Applied Economics researcher Sarah Murley, "That is a huge increase over a relatively short period of time." JobPath was established by Pima County Interfaith as part of a multi-pronged living wage strategy.
Local Job Training Program Lifts Incomes, Arizona Daily Star
Tucson's JobPath: Most Grads Better Off Than Before, Arizona Public Media
Pima Community College Chancellor Lee Lambert and five key Pima County Interfaith Civic Education Organization leaders signed the first ever Memorandum of Understanding between the college and interfaith group to promote collaboration around civic engagement, student leadership development, and other mutually beneficial activities. The MOU will be in effect for 5 years.
Monsignor Raul Trevizo, Pastor of St. John the Evangelist and Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Tucson, Rev. Sharon Ragland, Senior Pastor of St. Mark's Methodist UMC, Fr. Tom Tureman, S.D.S., Pastor of Most Holy Trinity Catholic, Rev. Delle McCormick, Senior Pastor of Rincon Congregational UCC, and Deaconess Marjie Hrabe, President of the PCICEO Board spoke at the signing ceremony. Rev. Ragland spoke of the importance of Pima to her daughter's success, and Msgr. Trevizo recalled teaching classes at PCC as one of his first jobs after college. All the speakers stressed the importance of students being supported, engaged and successful.
In the second of three steps to secure funding for workforce development and affordable housing, PCIC leaders testified before Pima County Supervisors, persuading them to support (4-1) an expanded bond package which includes a building for workforce development program JobPath ($1M), affordable housing ($20M), neighborhood reinvestment ($25M) and open space / environment ($80M).
Randy Mayer, the pastor of Good Shepherd UCC, argued that this bond was an opportunity to leave the County in better shape than they found it. He also pledged the support of PCIC and Southern Arizona Interfaith to help pass the propositions this November -- the final step towards victory.
After 6 Pima Community College campuses and 3 PCC adult learning centers challenged the 30 religious institutions of PCIC to a friendly competition of 'who can sign up the most voters,' Bishop Kicanas responded with a public endorsement of the Pima County bond.
PCIC leaders soon followed up with a civic academy for 40 pastors of 8 denominations, in addition to twenty more scheduled at individual congregations, libraries and community centers. The intent of the civic academies is to educate voters about the potential community benefit of the seven proposed bonds, as well as the costs. This is part of a long running campaign to expand workforce development opportunities offered by JobPath.
PCIC-CEO Educates Pastors on County Bonds, The New Vision
Bishop Kicanas Endorses Pima County Bond, The New Vision
Over 250 leaders of Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC) convened at St. Phillips in the Hills to celebrate 25 years of success. Since 1980, PCIC has leveraged upwards of $100 million in state and local funds into projects that benefit the common good including KidCo, JobPath, local parks and recreation centers across the County.
In addition to enjoying a youth-led mariachi band and desserts, participants honored longtime and retired leaders Episcopal priest Paul Buckwalter, Methodist Pastor David Wilkinson, former PCIC/AIN Lead Organizer Frank Pierson, former Diocesan CCHD representative Joanne Welter, and deceased former Tucson Mayor and PCIC leader George Miller. Bishop Gerald Kicanas of the Tucson Catholic Dioceses chaired the event, which included stories from six younger leaders. Congressman RaÃºl Grijalva, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, former State Rep. Ethan Orr and Southern Arizona Leadership Council Chair Lisa Lovallo from Cox Communications were among the speakers.
The event not only celebrated PCIC, but also raised $20,000 for the organization.
Interfaith Council Celebrates 25 Years of Service, Tucson News Now - Fox 11
Celebrating 25 Years, ABC News 13
Live Coverage, ABC News 13
Additional Photos, PCIC Facebook
340 PCIC leaders packed the hall of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Tucson for an "Education Accountability" session with 30 member institutions in attendance. Candidates for State Representative, Pima Community College Board, and Arizona Attorney General publicly responded to PCIC concerns around DACA, foreclosures, JobPath workforce development, and overall funding for public education.
Tucson Weekly reports on Fr. Tom Tureman's "barn burner" speech denouncing the educational system failure in Arizona: "Teachers are our first responders, but instead of supporting them, we revile them...." 'elect people who ignore education and spend their energy shouting about immigration and taxes.' More below.
Speakers Give Candidates an Earful, Tucson Weekly
Voters Fill Accountability Session in Pima County, Tucson News Now
Photos from event, PCIC
Support PCC, Arizona Daily Star
PCIC Wins In-State Tuition for DACA Students in Pima County, West / Southwest IAF
PCIC executive team member Ernesto Lujan and Literacy Connects Executive Director Betty Staufer called on the public to support local economic development through investments in institutions like the Pima Community Colleges and job training program JobPath. They praised the efforts of PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert under whom they see "renewed emphasis on adult education and literacy...and a continued commitment to immigrant youth (i.e. in-state tuition for those who have work permits under DACA).
Stauffer and Lujan urged the public to pay attention to the contested race for PCC Board members, and to attend the upcoming PCIC accountability assembly with PCC Board candidates September 28 at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Tucson.
Support PCC, Arizona Daily Star
PCIC clergy and leaders piled into City Hall to deliver a letter signed by 50 clergy requesting that the City not raise fares for low-income bus riders. The City Manager had proposed that Tucson double the fares of low-income people in addition to increasing all fares across the board. Bus riders and PCIC leaders filled the room while 60 listened from outside...
Concrete Example of Religious Leaders Standing Up for the Poor, Voces de Casa Maria
Tucson Drops Plan to Raise Bus Fares, Arizona Daily Star
Photos of PCIC in action, PCIC Facebook Album