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
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
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.
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