Allegheny House Dems secure $325K boost for social programs

State grants fund digital literacy, transportation resources

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 22Literacy Pittsburgh and Travelers Aid were each awarded a state grant to support their operations, members of the Allegheny County Democratic Delegation in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives announced today.

Helping a diverse population of workers get to job sites across the region, delegation chair Rep. Nick Pisciottano said a state grant of $250,000 to Travelers Aid Society from the state Department of Human Services will provide critical funding for the agency’s Employment Transportation Assistance Program.

“Simply giving someone a ride to work can be lifechanging,” said Pisciottano, who also sits on the board of Pittsburgh Regional Transit. “Nobody should miss out on a day of pay because they can’t get to work. Supporting Travelers Aid’s programming with this funding will play a direct role in ensuring over 200 local workers can keep earning a paycheck.”

“Travelers Aid is grateful for the support of ETAP provided by the Allegheny County House Democratic Delegation and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services,” Travelers Aid Deputy Director Melissa Katich said. “Without this support transportation barriers would remain an obstacle to securing employment for many Allegheny County residents."

Katich said ETAP assists 210 individuals, through 14 partner agencies, every month in attending employment-related activities such as job training, job search and job retention by providing participants with a monthly bus pass, noting the program has increased retention rates, program contact and the number of participants able to secure employment.

Delegation city vice chair Rep. Aerion A. Abney said an award of $75,000 to Literacy Pittsburgh from the state Department of Education will allow the organization to expand their existing services to include career programming and digital literacy.

“Investing in adult literacy programs empowers individuals to take control of their lives,” said Abney. “Teaching people to read and navigate our increasingly online society allows them to be more engaged at all levels of the community.”

“We are grateful for the support of the Allegheny County House Democratic Delegation and Rep. Pisciottano’s leadership,” said Literacy Pittsburgh CEO Carey Harris. “This investment enables us to help our neighbors learn English, skill up for good jobs, and to thrive as parents, employees and community members. With this support, Pittsburghers can continue to be good neighbors to those left behind and those who have just arrived.”

In addition to Abney and Pisciottano, the Allegheny County Delegation comprises state Reps. Jessica Benham, Dan Deasy, Dan Frankel, Matthew Gergely, Emily Kinkead, Anita Kulik, Brandon Markosek, La’Tasha D. Mayes, Joe McAndrew, Dan Miller, Lindsay Powell, Abigail Salisbury, Mandy Steele and Arvind Venkat.