HARRISBURG, September 22, 2010 – On the floor of the Senate today, state Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Phila./Montgomery) called on the U.S. Congress to swiftly pass legislation that would extend federal stimulus dollars for job creation.

The funding, from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund, has been used to fund the state’s successful “Way to Work” program, which has helped put an estimated 20,000 people to work by covering 100 percent of gross wages for private and non-profit employers.

Unless Congress acts quickly, this program will end on September 30 when the funding expires.

“Now is not the time for Congress to turn its back on helping people find jobs,” Hughes said. “It is essential that Congress pass the funding for this important program before recessing — and keep Pennsylvanians working in productive and quality jobs.”

Hughes, along with Sens. Jay Costa (D-43rd) and Christine Tartaglione (D-2nd), have worked to draft a resolution supporting quick action to extend these contingency funds and keep Pennsylvanians working.

Several months ago, Hughes and his Senate Democratic colleagues proposed a package of bills to create jobs and generate employment opportunities.

This legislation was a part of an initiative that would leverage state and federal funding to create more than 40,000 transitional jobs over the next two years for adults and youth. The “Way to Work” initiative was coordinated and administered by the state departments of Welfare and Labor and Industry.

“Let’s send a message” Hughes said. “We need the U.S. Senate to step forward and act now. Jobs are at stake and a critical program is in jeopardy.”

Hughes said the program extension has been twice approved by the U.S. House, but has failed to gain passage in the Senate.

“We need to keep the pressure on and force the Senate to act,” Hughes said.
“Hundreds of jobs have been created and funded because of this program.”

Hughes added that the nation is facing a devastating job crisis. The economic downturn has been crushing to America’s workforce. Employers have been forced to lay off thousands of individuals – as businesses close and companies downsize.

“In the face of the longest recession since the Great Depression, job creation should remain our number one priority,” Hughes said. “A great deal of work remains in our efforts to rebuild Pennsylvania’s workforce.”

More information about the PA Way to Work initiative is available at www.paworkforce.state.pa.us.

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