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July 2012

Solving The Talent-Employer Need Gap


By: Richard Dumaresq
Executive Director, PA Association of Private School Administrators

We continue to hear policy makers discuss the mismatch between employer skill needs and the existing skills of the workforce.  Career-focused schools actually see this disconnect every day.  Employers in a region may have multiple job openings for skilled workers in a particular field.  Yet, few students at career schools enroll in those programs in sufficient quantities to meet employer demand.  People often don’t know what the high demand careers are or where they can go to get the right skills.

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Friday Happy Hour: Beer Run Edition


We happen to be partial to Victory Hop Devil, but regardless of your preference, there continues to be a move afoot to change how you accrue your brew. Now the Pennsylvania Tavern Owners Association is weighing in on a proposal that would enable beer distributors to sell actual six-packs rather than the ubiquitous “Pennsylvania Six Packs,” the 24-container cases supposedly designed to moderate your alcohol consumption by requiring you to buy greater quantities of it. Anyway, the tavern owners, who are allowed to sell smaller quantities of beer, don’t like the idea much, saying it would cut into their profits.

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Senate Finance Hearing, SB 1400, “Property Tax Independence Act”


The Senate Finance committee met yesterday to hear a wide variety of testimonies representing interests across the Commonwealth on the ‘Property Tax Independence Act” or SB 1400. If it sounds familiar, you probably read about all the testimony from its twin bill, HB 1776 right here on the Triadvocate a few weeks ago.

The bill is essentially what it says it is: independence from property taxes. In lieu of these taxes, which were referred to as onerous at least 40 times yesterday, the sales and use tax would be increased and expanded at 7 percent and there would be an almost 1 percent increase in the income tax.

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If You Like Airport Screening, You’ll Love the Voter ID Balloting Process


By Jeff Garis, Pennsylvania Political Director, America Votes

Jeff is the political director for America Votes Pennsylvania.  He is a native of Pennsylvania and a 1987 graduate of Messiah College, and he resides in Philadelphia.

Our favorite “natural” law, bar none, is the Law of Unintended Consequences.  It seems to crop up when you least expect it with, well, “unintended consequences.”  The most recent example is the fall out from the state’s new Voter ID law – which will require every registered voter to produce a valid photo identification card before casting a ballot on General Election Day (November 6). 

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Block Grant Battle Yields Small Victories for Both Sides

Human Services

Back in February the Governor proposed funding county human services through a block grant, in addition to reducing the combined line-items by around $168 million, or 20 percent of what they received in fiscal 2011-12.  At the time, the County Commissioner’s Association endorsed the block grant proposal , as did various county commissioners, though they expressed concerns about the cuts.  As you would expect, this proposal was immediately met with an avalanche of opposition , from the city of Philadelphia,  the United Way, editorial boardsacademics and advocates.  Legislators from around the state, both Republicans and Democrats voiced their concerns as well.

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Friday Happy Hour: Math Lesson Edition


Next week, the Commonwealth Court will begin hearings on Pennsylvania’s shiny new voter ID law. In light of the recent revelation that some 750,000 registered voters do not possess a driver’s license or PennDOT ID, we have a bit of math to lay on you. If the Commonwealth started this week to process 750,000 photo IDs between now and election day, it would have to crank out one photo ID every four or five minutes for every hour of the business day, running five days a week. 

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Conspiracy? Where are the facts?


By Rick Kelly

Perhaps it’s because I’m in the reputation protection business, and maybe I’m stepping in front of a proverbial train, but it seems to me that before we race to remove statues, erase murals and rewrite the obituary of Joe Paterno, we ought to ease off the throttle just a bit.

To be sure, he and the other Penn State former administrators – Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz – committed a major, inexcusable blunder in not reporting to law enforcement or child welfare officials on Jerry Sandusky following the infamous shower incident in 2001.

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Friday Happy Hour: Grill of My Dreams Edition


This week in central Pennsylvania it would be difficult to avoid leading off with anything other than the release of the Freeh report, which, much like a root canal, was both painful and necessary. The report recounted in great detail the failure of senior Penn State administrators to potentially put a stop to the acts of serial pedophile Jerry Sandusky as early as 1998, or at least by 2001. If you just can’t seem to get enough news and commentary on this subject, we’ll leave you with the random observations of Triad’s Rick Kelly on the crisis management aspects that are ahead for Penn State.

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Random observations regarding the Freeh report


I hadn’t planned on following the release of the Freeh report quite so closely, but I was invited to appear on the Jack Arute and Rick Neuheisel satellite radio program this week to discuss the crisis management aspects of it.  Following are my thoughts on the report and the events of the day, in no particular order.

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Triad's Rick Kelly Provides Insight Into Freeh Report On Sandusky Case

Jerry Sandusky

Rick Kelly, Director of Crisis Communications, at Triad Strategies was in the national spotlight today (July 12) giving perspective to the on-going Jerry Sandusky investigations on the Sirius XM satellite radio network.  Rick was interviewed on “College Playbook” by Jack Arute, the ex-UCLA, Washington and Colorado head coach, about the implications of former FBI Director Louis Freeh’s probe commissioned by the Penn State University trustees.  Rick has penned a few posts on the Triadvocate since the serial sex abuse story broke last fall (For Penn State the Long Road Ahead, When “Shut the Hell Up” is the Best Advice, and Advice to Sandusky’s Lawyer:  Again Shut the Hell Up).   If you could not tune in at 1:00 pm today, you can still hear the riveting ten minute segment here. 



The Triadvocate is a publication of Triad Strategies, LLC, a bipartisan lobbying, public affairs, strategic communications, grassroots advocacy, issue management consulting firm located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh

Friday Happy Hour: Wonderful World Edition

Photo Credit: CNN

The most important development this week, hands down, was that physicists may have discovered a new subatomic particle, called the “Higgs boson,” that could be the key to understanding why there is diversity in the universe. In other words, the long-awaited explanation as to why in Pittsburgh your sandwich comes with fries on it, while in Philly you get Cheez Whiz.

Well, we don’t know much about science books, but fortunately we came upon this helpful explanation in the New York Times: “According to the Standard Model, the Higgs boson is the only manifestation of an invisible force field, a cosmic molasses that permeates space and imbues elementary particles with mass. Particles wading through the field gain heft the way a bill going through Congress attracts riders and amendments, becoming ever more ponderous.” OK, we get it now. The explanation would do Dr. Science proud, not only for helping to understand an important scientific discovery, but also explaining why bills in Congress are ever so ponderous.

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Getting Rich Off The Poor?

By Lynn Keltz
Executive Director
Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers Association


PMHCA 7.3.12

It has been asserted in a conservative blog that some people get rich off the poor.  That is a tough concept to grasp. The non-profits that serve people with mental health needs, individuals with intellectual disabilities, the homeless and people in substance abuse treatment are not like Royal Dutch Shell with huge profits and huge tax breaks.  And their financial information is easily viewed in every non-profit’s IRS Form 990.

The direct care workers hired to provide daily supports to people living as independently as possible barely earn a living wage. Many don’t have health insurance.  Employees such as county behavioral health case managers and supervisors in private, non-profit agencies generally make wages and salaries at or below the median income, which from 2006-2012 was $50,398, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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