125 Pima County Interfaith resident leaders of Ward 3 Tucson assembled and secured commitments from primary candidates Felicia Chew, Paul Durham and Tom Tronsdal. The session was organized by Pima County Interfaith Civic Education Organization, Southern Arizona Interfaith (SAI) and Literacy Connects. All three candidates pledged to support keeping Tucson an Immigrant Welcoming city, to support PCI efforts to fight SPICE and other drugs in Ward 3, and to meet with the organizations if elected.
Candidates Chew and Tronsdal committed to increasing funding for KidCo and JobPath, keeping low-income bus fares at their current level, and protecting the number of bus routes.
Attendees committed to vote, get others to vote, and to knock on doors in Ward 3 neighborhoods. Two "Neighbor to Neighbor - Walk & Call" sessions have already been scheduled.
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
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
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
"About 20 years ago, hoping to encourage citizens to become active in the community, members of the religious institutions of the Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC), spent a Sunday afternoon knocking on 10,000 doors, asking residents for their specific concerns..."
PCIC leaders heard the stories of families, researched ways to address the need for good-paying jobs and created JobPath to provide financially-assisted education, hands-on guidance during the academic career and assistance with job placement upon graduation.
Fast forward to the present and Jobpath now "takes students making $7,000 without benefits and catapults them into $40,000-a-year positions with full benefits." JobPath is one of 10 West / Southwest IAF labor market intermediaries transforming local labor markets and improving peoples' lives.