Wolf Administration Receives Grant for Mum or dad Pathways Initiative to Help Financial Development for Households

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller and Acting Secretary of Education (PDE) Noe Ortega announced today that Ascend has awarded Pennsylvania $ 150,000 through the Aspen Institute’s Policy Acceleration Partnership to establish support networks that remove the barriers to education for single parents seeking post-secondary education or vocational training.

Pennsylvania was one of six jurisdictions across the country that have received funding in support of the Commonwealth’s Parent Pathways Initiative, which aims to help parents access supportive services specifically designed for low-income families who are facing challenges that could affect post-secondary academic success.

“Parents often feel restricted due to their economic circumstances and their obligation to their family to take on the stress and the work of training and further education. However, if we invest in the tools and support needed to let them know that they are not alone on this journey, we can empower parents to invest in themselves and their families and to take that crucial step forward, ”said Secretary Miller. “This funding will help us build these support networks in Pennsylvania. I am incredibly grateful to the Aspen Institute for recognizing the value of this work as we all look to our economic recovery from the public health crisis and building a better future for all of us. “

The Parent Pathways initiative is focused on expanding access to post-secondary education and training partnerships for low-income parents by establishing mentor bonds that help parents make a successful transition to school, support access to basic family needs and when needed Housing assistance offer two-generation programs to support the healthy development of children and families. The aim is to support innovative models that open doors and remove barriers for single parents, especially single mothers, whether through post-secondary education or vocational training.

“Achieving a college degree or certificate can seem like an impossible dream for parents, balancing the many demands of work and family,” said incumbent Education Minister Noe Ortega. “This grant will help educational institutions and community partners across the state develop parent pathway initiatives, break down barriers, and enable adult learners to achieve their educational goals while maintaining family stability.”

In the summer of 2020, DHS and PDE surveyed community organizations previously interested in the Parent Pathways initiative to understand the biggest areas in which modeling of this initiative needs to be facilitated in Pennsylvania. The three main needs identified in this survey were understanding the availability of government funding, helping with policy development, and liaising with subject matter experts. With Ascend grant funding, the Wolf Administration can meet these needs by:

  • Establish a Parent Pathways Advisory Board to advise state and local partners on policy issues related to public support, staff development, and other considerations that affect success in post-secondary education and training for single parents or lower-income two-parent families;
  • Build a Parent Pathways Learning Network to provide technical support to local partners who wish to develop models that meet the needs of their community. Pennsylvania will work with the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice to support local partners who have previously expressed an interest in developing Parent Pathways programs in their community to build sustainable, comprehensive partnerships that meet the needs of families in do justice to their community. and,
  • Creation of a sustainability plan that uses the relationships with philanthropic partners around the Commonwealth and future funding opportunities to support the establishment of local models and to build sustainability into the program development.

“Hope Center for College, Community and Justice is honored to support the Wolf Administration, DHS and PDE in the Parent Pathways Initiative,” said Christine Baker-Smith, Executive Director of the Hope Center. “These efforts reflect the research base showing that a multigenerational approach can lead directly to economic and social mobility through education. This work reflects our ongoing commitment to helping parent students pursue a college degree and our commitment to improving the For our neighbors in Pennsylvania. “

The Parent Pathways model was largely inspired by the existing Ruth Matthews Bourger Program for Women with Children (WWC) at Misericordia University. The WWC program helps single mothers and their children living in or near the poverty line gain a university education and continue their careers. The program aims to break down barriers related to intergenerational poverty and support whole persons to address social determinants of health. 100 percent of WWC graduates go straight to a professional career and / or graduate school after completing their studies.

Most of the women who attend WWC are survivors of domestic violence, homelessness, food insecurity, and other similar circumstances. All participants in the program receive government assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Childcare Grant by completing a 10 hour weekly work requirement to meet the district grant eligibility criteria.

In September 2018, DHS and PDE announced a Request for Information (RFI) to broaden the departments’ perspectives on existing models such as the WWC and explore possible opportunities for nationwide implementation of a program that would help increase higher education opportunities for low-income individual students. Parent families. A summit was held in April 2019, attended by more than 200 partners from the fields of post-secondary and early childhood education, health care, human resource development, housing and other areas of human service, to promote the model of parental paths and support for two generations, whole people and Discuss families. This grant funding enables Pennsylvania to help partners come together to develop these models in their community and advance policies that support student parents.

More information about DHS can be found at www.dhs.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kendall Alexander – [email protected]

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