News

February 24, 2021

Landforce Crew Applications Open

Are you interested in becoming employed to restore Pittsburgh’s environment? Applications are now being accepted for 2021 Landforce Crew Members! Paid training will be included.

 

About

Landforce Crew Members receive training and support to overcome barriers to a permanent job that provides family-sustaining wages. This training will include professional development opportunities that will further participant’s knowledge about environmental stewardship, community development, and workforce skills. Crew Members will also work with Landforce staff to:

    • identify long-term career goals,
    • establish a plan for employment,
    • develop an effective resume,
    • build appropriate job search and interview skills, and
    • identify employment opportunities to apply for.

Crew Members in training will earn $10 per hour for 35 hours per week. Employed Crew Members can earn up to $15 per hour for 35 hours per week. View the full job description.

What To Expect

Landforce Crew Members will assist Landforce with land stewardship contracts on a seasonal basis. Projects may include constructing trails, restoring habitats, installing gardens, managing vacant lots, maintaining green infrastructure, planting and caring for trees, and other land stewardship projects.

Mandatory seven-week training for this position will start on April 12, 2021. Individuals who successfully complete the training will be hired in early June as Landforce Crew Members. Please note that this is a seasonal temporary position with significant workforce development benefits.

Timeline

    • February 7, 2021 – Application Opens
    • March 11, 2021 – Application Closes
    • March 8 – 23, 2021 – Interviews
    • March 24 – April 1, 2021 – Working Interviews
    • April 12, 2021 – Training Starts

Submit An Application

To apply, complete the online application. All applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Candidates will be reviewed and interviewed as their applications are received. Applications with incomplete answers will be penalized.

Selected individuals will also need to complete an online or in-person interview process. Hiring decisions will be made by the week of April 5, 2021. To learn more, visit the application webpage.

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News

February 23, 2021

2021-2022 Kindergarten Registration Open

Kindergarten registration has opened in Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Fayette, Greene, and Westmoreland Counties for the 2021-2022 school year.

 

Registering Your Child

If your child is five, it’s time to register them for kindergarten. Hi5!, a kindergarten readiness and registration campaign coordinated by The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, and Trying Together.

View details about Kindergarten registration in the Pittsburgh Region and find your district’s information in the following documents:

Early and on-time registration allows schools and districts to plan for classroom materials, resources, and staff as they prepare to welcome a new group of students. It also enables families to establish relationships with teachers and administrators that are so important for easing the stress and anxiety of children (and their families) as they begin elementary school.

Learn More

For more information about helping your child make the move to Kindergarten, visit the Kindergarten Transition page on the Trying Together website.

To receive the the Hi5! Kindergarten Transition newsletter, visit our sign up page!

 

News

February 18, 2021

ECE Jobs: February 18 – February 24, 2021

Are you looking to start or transition your career in the early childhood field? You’re in luck! Early learning programs in Pennsylvania are currently looking to fill positions. To view this week’s featured job descriptions, see the list below.

 


 

Featured Jobs

 

Preschool Teacher

A. S. Wee Care Learning Center is looking to hire a Preschool Teacher. This professional will be expected to create lesson plans that are age-appropriate for the learning and development of the group supervised. They must also manage classroom activities and transitions including free play, meals, restroom breaks, and nap time, in addition to developing and maintaining positive relationships with children and parents.

To apply, please visit A. S. Wee Care Learning Center in person to receive all needed application paperwork. For more information, call 412.761.6482 or email a.s.wckelly@gmail.com.

 


 

Submit a Job Description

Each week, Trying Together publishes a news post that features employer-submitted job positions from early learning programs across Pennsylvania. Trying Together shares these posts online through our website, social media channels, and newsletter. To make it into next week’s post, please submit the Child Care Provider Job Post Submission Form no later than Tuesday, February 23.

This form is intended for positions in the early childhood field. Job descriptions not related to the early childhood field will not be included. All job descriptions submitted after February 23 will be published in the next week’s news post. Please note that publication dates may vary due to state and federal holidays. For questions, contact Lainey Yockey at lainey@tryingtogether.org.

 


 

Search Additional Jobs

Are you interested in starting or shifting your career in early childhood care and education? Visit the ECE Hire website or sign up for their weekly newsletter for current job listings and helpful tips on interviewing, resumes, and more. To stay up to date on our featured positions and more, follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

 

News

February 17, 2021

Celebrate Black History Month with Ms. Cynthia

This February, Trying Together Community Outreach Specialist Cynthia Battle is celebrating Black History Month through a series of Virtual Storytime sessions featuring books by African American authors! Join us in singing, dancing, and reading by watching the video series below! Videos will continue to be added after February.

 

 


 

Upcoming Live Sessions

Are you interested in watching a virtual storytime session live? Join Ms. Cynthia every Wednesday and Thursday at 6 p.m. for the Raising Readers Together Club! Wednesday sessions are intended for tweens and teens. Thursday sessions are intended for children ages birth to five years old.

 

Featured Books

Tweens and Teens

Birth to Age Five 

News

Child Care Providers and State Legislators Discuss Policy Changes

Trying Together and child care providers joined Pennsylvania state policymakers on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 to voice their concerns about recent state-level program and policy changes that have widely destabilized the child care sector.  

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, child care subsidy payments in Pennsylvania were modified so reimbursement was based on enrollment versus attendance. At the time, this measure was taken to ensure financial stability as child care providers were encountering complex challenges that exceeded the scope of their normal operations, including mandated closures. In September 2020, at Governor Tom Wolf’s direction, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) restored the original subsidy payment practices from enrollment-based back to attendance-based, which has had a devastating effect since many programs continue to be under-enrolled due to COVID-19.

“At this point we are at 66% of our pre-COVID enrollment. This loss of about 35% equates to more than $1.5 million in tuition. We are feeling it big time,” said Jason Kunzman, Chief Program Officer, Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. “We believe that the primary driver in not being able to admit more children into our programs is actually the difficulty we’ve experienced in trying to recruit qualified staff. It goes without saying that operating in a COVID environment, everything is harder. What used to take one person to do now takes three people…this has been a real hardship to the entire industry.  

“[We need] more sustainable, longer-lasting changes to the financial model that can make high-quality  care accessible to as many families as possible while allowing providers to pay their educators a livable wage.”

To compound these constraints, OCDEL repurposed the Education & Retention Award (ERA) for STAR 3 and STAR 4 high-quality educators to a Pandemic Relief Award (PRA) in December 2020, providing $600 to 33,000 child care employees across the state with many programs waitlisted due to a lack of funds. 

Currently in Pennsylvania, the average wage of a child care professional is $9.71 per hour with 50% of them receiving government benefits.

“Many of my staff are single moms or low-income who qualify for subsidies themselves… They returned to work during a pandemic, they risked their lives and their family’s lives for the greater good of the Pennsylvania economy, and the money was taken from them,” said Tracy O’Connell, Child Care Director, Catholic Youth Association. “To take away the only extra money these hardworking, dedicated teachers earn each year – during the year they deserve it the most – is heartless. There has to be a way to keep the ERA money for what it is designed to do, and that is to retain and reward degreed staff.”

Since the ERA typically awarded more funds than this to its recipients, the loss of the ERA further disincentivizes high-quality educators to remain in the field. Essentially, Pennsylvania doesn’t have the funds to meet the full needs of child care providers due to this change.

Senator Jay Costa, Senate Minority Leader (D-Allegheny), said child care providers are faced with a “catch-22” if the ERA is permanently taken away. 

STARS requires you to have degreed  folks but you don’t have money to retain them because [their money is being taken away],” Senator Costa said. “We shouldn’t tie your hands behind your back to try to have you meet standards that let people know the quality of service that you’re providing because here are criteria you have to meet. Both Democrats and Republicans are committed to working with you on this.” 

The Commonwealth will receive $302 million in federal dollars to support child care via the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds from the most recent COVID-19 relief package.

Senator Lindsey Williams, Education – Minority Chair (D-Allegheny), said it’s important to invest in early childhood education.

It’s heartbreaking that we as a legislature haven’t found a way as of yet to take care of the child care workforce because that’s the only way we get our economy going,” she said. “You have my support to use existing federal dollars, hopefully future federal dollars and whatever state funding we can come up with to actually address these policy issues…so that it’s a big structural change on how we fund child care.” 

Senator Camera Bartolotta, Labor & Industry, Chair (R- Beaver, Greene, Washington) also stressed that the early childhood education workforce is essential to the state’s economic recovery.

“It is vital – it is imperative – that we get folks back to work. When we are opening our economy safely, these parents need their kids to be in a safe, healthy learning environment,” she said. “We’ve got to make sure that all of these institutions stay healthy economically as well as physically. That’s something that we have to prioritize. We are not going to open our economy if parents don’t have a safe place for their kids to go.”

The child care providers, families, and early learning advocates throughout the state like Trying Together look forward to the concerns discussed during yesterday’s call being addressed and resolved.

Read More

Child Care Worker Subsidy Replaced An Award That Providers Say Incentivized Staff Higher Education, 90.5 WESA

Child Care Facilities Call On Pennsylvania Lawmakers For Financial Assistance, KDKA-TV

Child care providers say Pa. policy shifts are causing financial strain, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Child care facilities struggling, PublicSource

News

February 16, 2021

One Lens: Share Your COVID-19 Experience

Pennsylvania First Lady Frances Wolf has invited Pennsylvanians to participate in the statewide virtual photo exhibit One Lens: Sharing Our Common Views. The exhibit seeks to document and celebrate the hard work and commitment of all Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

About

As First Lady Frances Wolf said, “We are living through an extraordinary moment right now. How we live, how we communicate, and how we educate our children have changed drastically since last March, but we all still yearn for a sense of community because that is what reminds us of our own strength and tenacity.” To offer a place of community, the One Lens exhibit was created as an opportunity for Pennsylvanians to share their stories, inspire each other, and help each other heal while documenting the history of this time.

The exhibit highlights the importance of preserving history by encouraging Pennsylvanians to share their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic through photography. Submitted images will be displayed for public viewing and saved as visual documentation of the pandemic.

Exhibit Themes

The exhibit will cover the following themes:

    • Our Heroes, paying homage to the pandemic heroes who cannot stay home.
    • Our Lives, looking at how we spend our time when no one is watching.
    • Our Communities, showcasing Pennsylvanians uniting in the face of a global health crisis.

Submit A Photo

To submit a photo, visit the One Lens webpage. All photos must be submitted by March 9, 2021. The full exhibit will be released on Friday, March 19, 2021. Submission eligibility requirements apply.

News

February 15, 2021

Free Virtual PD Sessions Available

Are you interested in learning about a range of early childhood topics? Join Trying Together for our free virtual professional development sessions. This list features courses from Trying Together’s public offerings and Connections and Conversations series.

Available Sessions

    • Connections and Conversations: Empowering the ECE Workforce with Apprenticeship
      Wednesday, March 3, 2021  |  6 – 7 p.m.

      During this session, participants will engage with experts and educators about “The Power of the Profession” as well as dive into some strategies of empowering the Early Childhood Workforce. Participants will connect about the importance of workforce development in the early childhood field including degree attainment, credentials, and apprenticeship. One PQAS credit hour will be available.

    • Strengthening Family Engagement: Tools for Positive Partnership
      Tuesday, March 16, 2021  |  12 – 1 p.m.  |  Intended for educators in Allegheny County.

      In this workshop, early learning professionals will explore ways to leverage families’ strengths, maintain positive relationships, and connect families with community support. The Trying Together Family Engagement Toolkit will serve as a guide for supportive engagement strategies, along with the family engagement technology tool Message from Me. One PQAS credit hour will be available.

    • Connections and Conversations: Benefits of Purposeful Programming and Partnerships
      Wednesday, March 17, 2021  |  6 – 7 p.m.

      During this course, participants will develop skills to help implement new projects into their classrooms and successfully collaborate with community partners to facilitate these activities. Participants will also engage in virtual discussions via Zoom with child development experts while interacting with early learning practitioners to share questions, experiences, and expertise about utilizing evaluation tools to design, review, and renew program goals. One PQAS credit hour will be available.

    • ELRC Region 5: Ask the Coaches (Keystone STARS)
      Thursday, March 25, 2021  |  6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

      Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region 5 Quality Coaches will a host one-hour discussion for Allegheny County child care owners, directors, and teaching staff to ask questions, network with peers, and learn about resources that support all things Keystone STARS. One PQAS credit hour will be available.

Registration

To register, please use the hyperlinked event titles above. Some registrations will take place on the PD Registry. If you do not have a PD Registry account, please complete this online form to create one. If you are unable to create an account, please contact pdregistry@pakeys.org.

More Information

For questions about Trying Together’s professional development services, please contact Jasmine Davis at jasmine@tryingtogether.org.

News

February 11, 2021

Get Matched With A “Mama Mentor”

Parenting can be hard. If you are the mother of a newborn (or are expecting a baby soon), enroll in the Nurture Program to get paired with a volunteer “Mama Mentor.”  This program is intended for mothers living in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

 

About

The Nurture Program provides information and parenting support to new and expectant mothers through their network of mentors and text-based platform. Their network of mentors consists of women with parenting experience and is supported by a team of program supervisors with training in early childhood development and infant mental health. Depending on the needs of the mother, mentors may share helpful resources, words of encouragement, or referrals to medical, mental health, or developmental professionals. Mentors also provide mothers with a safe space to access emotional support during such a transformative time.

Available Services

Nurture Program Mentors provide a range of services, including:

    • answering general questions about parenting and infant care,
    • suggesting activities you can do with your child based on their developmental stage,
    • offering encouragement or providing a sounding board when you need it
    • sharing evidence-based information and recommending local resources that can help you meet any needs that arise,
    • and more.

Request A Mentor

The program is always free, confidential, and completely virtual through the Nurture Program’s text-based platform. This program is intended for new (or soon to be new) mothers in Southwestern Pennsylvania. To get matched with a mentor, complete the online signup form.

More Information

For answers to commonly asked questions, visit the Nurture Program FAQ page. Individuals can also reach out to the Nurture Program by emailing info@nurturepa.org.

News

February 8, 2021

Victory Innovations Recalls Electrostatic Sprayers

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported a recall for Victory Innovations and Protexus Electrostatic Sprayers with Lithium-ion Battery Packs. This recall was issued due to fire and explosion risks.

 

About

On February 3, 2021, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall on Victory Innovations and Protexus Electrostatic Sprayers. This recall was issued due to reports of the sprayer’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack overheating and melting, which poses fire and explosion risks. Thus far, no injuries have been reported. However, property damage has been reported.

Individuals who have purchased this sprayer should stop using it, remove the battery pack, and dispose of the battery pack in accordance with local laws. After removing and disposing of the battery, contact Victory Innovations for a free replacement battery pack.

More Information

For more information, contact Victory Innovations at 888.674.2482, ES-Sprayerbatteryrecall@stericycle.com, or by visiting their website. If you plan on contacting them through their website, click on Battery Recall to request more information.

News

February 6, 2021

Maternal Wellness Study Seeking Mothers to Participate

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are conducting a Maternal Wellness Journal Study to learn about the mental health of moms.

 

About

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are seeking mothers to participate in their Maternal Wellness Journal Study. The goal of the study is to improve the mental health resources available to pregnant and postpartum people. The study involves 10 to 30 minutes of writing and answering questions each week for a total of five weeks. Study participants will receive $50 in Amazon gift cards as compensation for their full participation.

Join the Study

If you are interested in participating, complete the online questionnaire.