community Service means Business!

15 August 2007

No Worker Left Hanging

American Society of Employers - Update Articles, August 2007
by: Pat Goggin

Governor Jennifer Granholm unveiled her long-awaited - No Worker Left Behind program on August 1st.

The program is designed to retrain upwards of 100,000 displaced Michigan workers to prepare them with what the Governor describes as, complex skills needed in cutting-edge industries that will fuel future economic growth.

The vision is that workers who take advantage of this opportunity will be at the front of the line and able to take advantage of high-demand jobs such as those found in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, biotechnology and renewable energy. The program also targets entrepreneurial endeavors.

The program is generous; an individual may qualify for up to $5,000 per year for two years at a state college or university, as well as at licensed proprietary schools such as ASE. The program even provides resources for childcare.

One does not need to be unemployed to take advantage of the program. Any person who has received a notice of termination or layoff from employment, or any employed person with a family income of $40,000 or less, may qualify, according to a fact sheet put out by the Governor's office.
Participants must, however, complete a skills assessment administered by Michigan Works!

The program takes into account the business climate in the different regions of the State. It will align training opportunities geographically with high-demand occupations available in that region.

Michigan Works! will assist these new workers in finding opportunities, as well as work with employers to identify qualified applicants. Participants must pursue either an associate's degree or occupational certificate in a high-demand occupation. Completion of a Bachelor�s degree or even a Master's degree may also qualify.

Those interested and qualified may begin the process immediately, but they need to be confident of their decision; this is a one-time offer and available on a first-come, first-served basis. An individual has three years in which to sign up and four years in which to complete the program

To fund the program, the Governor plans to use $37 million of federal money formerly earmarked for job training. Despite the current budget crunch in the state, the Governor hopes for an eventual $40 million of additional state funding. Ms. Granholm says that by redirecting federal funds currently used for job training, the program will make Michigan more attractive to job-creating businesses.

For additional information about No Worker Left Behind, call Michigan Works! at 1-800-285-WORKs, or e-mail them at, or visit their website at:">">


Working with CLAAY

Duquesne University’s Career Literacy for African American Youth (CLAAY) is a program that assist middle and high school students to define, pursue and achieve their career and academic goals through career mentoring, tutoring and related programs.

CLAAY is looking for career mentors to work with middle school and high school students during the 2007-2008 school year. This school-based career mentoring and academic tutoring program serves students in ten high schools in the City of Pittsburgh, at McKeesport Area Technology Center, and in five school districts in Beaver County (Aliquippa, Ambridge, Beaver Falls, Freedom and Rochester).

This fall CLAAY will begin working with students at Woodland Hills High School. The time commitment for CLAAY career mentoring is 16 hours during the school year (3 hour mentor training and 13 hour school-based career mentoring). CLAAY career mentors meet with their student at their school two hours per month between October 2007 and May 2008.

CLAAY is seeking enthusiastic, motivated, and committed volunteers who desire to make a positive impact on the future career direction of students in our region.

If you interested in becoming a CLAAY career mentor and/or need more information about the CLAAY program, please contact Damon Bethea at 412.325.1565 x31 or

Please feel free to also check out our Website at

13 August 2007

yesterday, tomorrow, today

Ghetto Life 101

The audio diaries of LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman, two young boys living in one of the most notorious public housing projects in America.

The candor in Jones and Newman's diaries brought listeners face to face with a portrait of poverty and danger and their effects on childhood in one of Chicago's worst housing projects.
Like Vietnam War veterans in the bodies of young boys, Jones and Newman described the bitter truth about the sounds of machine guns at night and the effects of a thriving drug world on a community...MORE

ONLY Six Ways?

From Kimeiko Hotta Dover,
Your Guide to Adult / Continuing Education.

Six Smart Ways to Improve Adult Education

In the study, New Skills for a New Economy:
Adult Education's Key Role in Sustaining Economic Growth and Expanding Opportunity, MassInc offers six suggestions for improving adult education to alleviate Massachusetts' basic work skills deficiency. Adult education programs everywhere can benefit from these suggestions:

1. Offer weekend classes- while a significant number of Adult Basic Education (ABE) class registrants indicate a preference for studying on Saturdays, less than two percent of ABE classes are currently offered on that day. There are no classes offered on Sundays, and registrants are not asked whether they would like to study on Sundays.

Retain experienced full-time teachers - although full-time teachers are signficant determiners of program quality, just over one-third of Massachusetts' ABE teachers work full-time. Attrition in ABE is high - almost three-quarters of the ABE teachers have been with their programs for less than three years.

3. Technology and distance learning - increase the availability of these flexible learning options.

4. Funding - most ABE funds are presently granted to community-based private providers who arrange classrooms and hiring on a class-by-class basis. MassINC argues that this arrangement makes the system more fragile than if the funds were directed at institutions with permanent staff and infrastructures.

5. Intensity of instruction - short, intensive classes appear to yield better results than brief periods of instruction conducted over a long period of time.

6. Link ABE to the workplace - offer classes in workplaces, with employers paying employees to attend at least half of the class.

What do employers want?

What do employers want?

In 1995, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published the results of an international adult literacy survey (IALS) in the report, "Literacy Skills for the Knowledge Society."

The study compared adult literacy skills in twelve countries, including the English-speaking nations of Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
IALS examined three types of literacy:

Prose - the ability to understand and use information from texts such as editorials, news stories, poems and fiction.

Document - the ability to understand and use information in various formats, including job applications, payroll forms, transportation schedules, maps, tables and graphics.

Quantitative - the ability to apply arithmetic operations in activities such as balancing a chequebook, calculating a tip or determining interest on a loan.

Survey participants were graded on a five level scale:

Level 1 - very low level literacy - may not be able to determine an appropriate dose of medication from its label.

Level 2 - low level literacy - can perform simple tasks using material that is simple and clearly laid out.

Level 3 - basic literacy - the minimum desirable level by employers in most countries.

Levels 4 and 5 - high literacy - able to integrate several sources of information and solve complex problems.

Factors such as computerization, technological change and global competition have led to greater demands upon employees.
Employers increasingly demand minimum literacy levels of 3 or higher from their workers....MORE

from the desk of Natalie Green

CONTACT Pittsburgh Volunteers Needed!

CONTACT Pittsburgh, a crisis and suicide hotline, is looking for nonjudgmental listeners to provide immediate emotional support to adults and teens. Volunteer Crisis Line Specialists are needed to work at the center’s crisis hotline, which is staffed 365 days a year.

Last year, trained volunteers handled more than 20,000 calls from adults and teens with problems ranging from family conflict and physical abuse to addiction and suicide. If you’re looking for a place to serve, and if you’re willing to listen, CONTACT may be the opportunity to put your compassion to work.
Each and every one of our volunteers undergoes a rigorous, comprehensive training program, receiving education in topics as diverse as suicide, elderly and teen issues and the concerns of returning veterans.

With the speed of life increasing ever more rapidly in our world, the need for an understanding voice increases as well. Won’t you consider becoming a lifeline for someone in need?

Classes will be held on the following dates:

Thursday, September 20 from 6 to 9 PM

Tuesday, September 25 from 6 to 9 PM

Saturday, September 29 from 9 AM to 2 PM

Tuesday, October 2 from 6 to 9 PM

Saturday, October 6 from 9 AM to 2 PM

Tuesday, October 9 from 6 to 9 PM

Thursday, October 11 from 6 to 9 PM

Participation is mandatory at all training sessions. Applications are due September 7.

Upon completion of the training, volunteers are asked to work 8 to 12 service hours per month.
For additional information about becoming a volunteer, contact Christy Stuber of CONTACT Pittsburgh at
(412) 820-0100 or
For more information about CONTACT Pittsburgh, go to


* Prenatal alcohol exposure is the leading known cause of preventable mental retardation

* Estimates of the incidence in the U.S. is 1 in 100 live births have a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
At that rate, it is more common than Autism.

* A new study done in Italy, where it was thought there were almost no fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), they found an incidence in first graders of 1 in 25 to 1 in 50 children affected by an FASD.
As that was an active surveillance study, and in the U.S. we have only done passive surveillance,
that is thought to be a more accurate estimate of the incidence.
At that rate, it is more than 3 times as common as Autism.

* It is often unrecognized and/or misdiagnosed leading to inappropriate, unsuccessful treatment

* Many of the children and adolescents with an FASD reside in foster homes, adoptive homes, or residential settings and have frequently experienced multiple moves often because the FASD has not been recognized

* There remains a tremendous amount of stigma resulting in people not wanting to look at the possibility of an FASD. However, women do not use alcohol during their pregnancies because they want to give birth to a child with an FASD.
This is not a matter of shame, blame, guilt, or judgment. Rather, this is a matter of how to help
individuals and families be successful.

* This is a lifelong disorder

* The overall costs of raising one person with an FASD range from $860,000 to $4.2 million over a lifetime (presentation by Hendrick Harwood of the Lewin Group found in the “Grab and Go” section of the SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence website:

* The effects of alcohol on a fetus begin before most women know they are pregnant.

* There is no proven safe amount of alcohol to use during pregnancy; the only proven
totally safe amount to use is none.

* Prenatal alcohol exposure can cause damage to the brain

* Intelligence may or may not be affected

* Children and adolescents with an unrecognized FASD often fail with typical education, parenting, and treatment approaches due to the way their brain functions

* People with an FASD can be very successful with the proper recognition and support.

* FASD is a human issue. We must never lose sight of that. It affects the lives of individuals, families, systems of care, and entire communities.

* This is one of the few birth defects that is 100% preventable

There are a number of fact sheets that can be downloaded from the Center’s website: that may be useful for further information.

eliminating racism
empowering women

Please Save the Date:
YWCA Racial Justice Awards Reception & Dinner
Friday, November 30, 2007
6:00 PM
Omni William Penn Hotel, 530 William Penn Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

YWCA Racial Justice Awards

Award Purpose and Categories
Through the YWCA's Racial Justice Awards, the YWCA seeks to promote a
society in which all people receive equal treatment and have equal
access in the workplace, public services and spaces, through the justice
system, in the classroom, and throughout the greater Pittsburgh

For the past 16 years, the YWCA's Racial Justice Awards have recognized
people and organizations that have made a difference in promoting racial

To encourage broader implementation of positive actions and
groundbreaking changes that forever serve to enable racial equity and
bring about systemic change that creates a diverse community, in 2007
the YWCA is expanding its racial justice awards to include individuals
and/or organizations in the following categories:

* Community Engagement
* Community Service and Public Safety
* Company / Business
* Education
* Government
* Legal

The awards will be made to salute individuals, companies, and/or
organizations in each category that have implemented new laws, policies,
practices, procedures, programs, guidelines, and similar sustainable
actions that positively impact people of color in the broader society.

Nomination Process
An individual, organization, and/or company can nominate an individual,
company, and/or organization in any one of the categories.

Self-nominations are accepted as well.

The nominee's actions should significantly benefit Pittsburgh area residents.
The nominee should have undertaken a groundbreaking action within the past two years that should
have made an irrevocable, positive change in how people are treated in
the applicable category.

Examples of fundamental changes that would have
qualified in their time include actions leading to:

he Civil Rights Act of 1964,
Americans with Disabilities Act,
Title 9 Legislation,
the Home Rule Charter of 1998,
the Saunders Taskforce,
Small Business Administration,
new workplace employment guidelines/policies,
changes to procedures for counsel or law enforcement,
legal or legislative actions,
community event or activity, or creation of a new office or community
program to enable fair treatment and inclusion for all, and similar

Nominations should be printed and submitted either electronically or via

Fax: 412-391-5109 (Attention: Racial Justice Awards)

Mail: YWCA Racial Justice Awards, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, 305 Wood
Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

Attachments should be limited to 5 pages.

YWCA BY 5:00PM EST AUGUST 24, 2007.

Award Selection

The YWCA's Racial Justice Award Committee, comprised of a broad cross
section of Pittsburgh's community leaders, determines the award
recipients. Each entry is judged on a sliding scale to identify:

* leadership taken to address racial inequity;
* quantifiable change that is now enabled;
* initiative taken to address the specific problem identified;
* timing, breadth of impact, and geographic scope of action.


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