Harrisburg, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier today announced grants totaling more than $2.5 million were awarded to seven Pennsylvania organizations that answered the department's call for collaboration on grassroots efforts to eliminate barriers to Pennsylvania's Unemployment Compensation (UC) system. UC Navigator Grant recipients are community-based organizations that share the Wolf Administration's goal of helping Pennsylvania workers learn about, apply for and -- if eligible -- receive UC benefits.
"The Wolf Administration is taking decisive action to build a more accessible and equitable Unemployment Compensation system, and these community organizations will play a critical role in helping us meet our goals," said Secretary Berrier. "At L&I, we are excited to build on our existing partnerships with organizations embedded in Pennsylvania's local communities by collaborating on this first-of-its-kind project."
Funding for the grants, awarded to Pennsylvania through a competitive federal grant process in June, will also support L&I's efforts to deliver timely UC benefits to workers, especially individuals in groups that are historically underserved, marginalized and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. Through these community partnerships, the UC Navigator Grant is designed to improve UC access for all Pennsylvania workers, but especially the following groups:
- immigrants and refugees in Pennsylvania's biggest urban centers – Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
- individuals in low-income communities with limited access or familiarity with technology
- individuals with disabilities
Funds awarded to community organizations may be used for outreach and education (classes, workshops, seminars), educational equipment, staffing, training, and vendor costs (translation services, print/mail). Selected organizations will be trained by L&I staff on various aspects of the UC system, including initial applications, weekly certifications, appeals, and identity verification. L&I will also work with the community-based organizations to develop printed and web-based materials that will be translated into various languages and designed to address common questions and concerns from marginalized communities.
The following organizations received UC Navigator Grants:
Central Susquehanna Opportunities, Inc. | $382,746
NORTHUMBERLAND, SNYDER, UNION, LYCOMING, COLUMBIA, MONTOUR, CLINTON, CENTRE AND MIFFLIN COUNTIES
Central Susquehanna Opportunities, Inc. (CSO) is a non-profit organization serving a nine-county rural region that promotes economic, educational, social, and workforce development in collaboration with the community to provide diverse resources that promote self-sufficiency and community prosperity. CSO will conduct outreach events to help workers learn about and apply for UC benefits – particularly those with limited broadband Internet access.
Mon Valley Unemployed Committee | $396,080
ALLEGHENY, ERIE, WASHINGTON, BEAVER, WESTMORELAND, CRAWFORD, LAWRENCE AND CENTRE COUNTIES
The Mon Valley Unemployed Committee will reach low-income and rural communities, targeting by geography and income as well as by types of employment, using relationships with organizations working with those communities and types of unemployed people, to expand outreach to those most in need of assistance. The assistance will include education and guidance for unemployed people seeking UC benefits.
Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center, Inc. | $419,150
Philadelphia Legal Assistance's Unemployment Compensation Unit will serve as the statewide UC resource center for community-based organizations, legal aid organizations, and social service organizations that assist low-income and underserved workers and their families. Philadelphia Legal Assistance will also provide in-person assistance to low-income Philadelphia workers, with a focus on Spanish-speaking workers in North Philadelphia, through partnerships with Philadelphia CareerLink® North and other community workers.
Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia | $418,084
PHILADELPHIA, DELAWARE AND MONTGOMERY COUNTIES
In collaboration with VietLead, the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia (CAGP) will focus on providing multilingual, comprehensive outreach and navigation to Cambodian and Vietnamese refugee and immigrant communities of Philadelphia and surrounding counties to increase their awareness of Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits eligibility and help them navigate through the enrollment process and maintenance of benefits.
ACLAMO | $419,008
ACLAMO is a social service organization that aims to meet the diverse needs of Latino individuals and families through a holistic, one-stop shop approach and serves approximately 20,000 individuals each year primarily in the Norristown, Pottstown, and Lansdale areas. ACLAMO will aid the Latino community in navigating the challenges that come with accessing UC benefits, enable more workers to utilize the available services and reduce employment-based disparities in the community.
Campaign for Working Families, Inc. | $419,161
The Campaign for Working Families, Inc. (CWF) operates community-based tax sites offering free tax services, public benefits screening and applications and financial education. CWF will use UC Navigator Grant funding to add Unemployment Compensation access to the services already provided to the community. CWF will target hard-to-reach populations and distribute outreach materials in multiple languages including Spanish, Chinese, French, Russian, Arabic, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Korean, Haitian Creole, Khmer and Hindi.
Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation | $100,000
The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) has served a low-income, limited-English proficient, Chinese immigrant community of workers, families and small businesses since 1966. PCDC will assist L&I by identifying barriers to UC, providing in-language direct service to UC applicants and increasing UC education among low-and-moderate income, limited-English proficient Chinese-speaking residents.
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