In this Update:
Stefano Connects Local Fire and EMS with Funding Opportunities
This week, Sen. Pat Stefano (R-32) held First Responders Funding Workshops in Perryopolis and Somerset.
Sen. Stefano, as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, recapped several measures that the General Assembly has taken to assist fire and emergency medical services (EMS). Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Randy Padfield and Acting State Fire Commissioner Thomas Cook provided an overview of funding opportunities under their agencies, Department of General Services Marketing Manager Felicia Campbell presented on the COSTARS purchasing system and Senate Grants Specialists Joe Marsicano and Chris Yniguez provided guidance on applying for grants.
“I was pleased to offer this opportunity to local officials, firefighters and EMS providers,” said Sen. Stefano. “And more importantly, I was glad that so many first responders turned out, asked questions and gave feedback. I want to make sure our first responders have all the funding tools available to them.”
“In October, I held a similar workshop at the Bakersville Volunteer Fire Department,” said Sen. Stefano. “As a result of that discussion, I am introducing legislation, Senate Bill 1027, that would permit junior firefighters to be fully trained by the time they turn 18. We’ll be looking to bring this up at the committee meeting next week.”
The Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee will be held on Monday, Feb. 7, at noon. It will be livestreamed on Senator Stefano’s Facebook page.
Schools Have New Tool to Ease Substitute Teacher Shortage
The General Assembly recently passed Act 91 to help schools find substitute teachers to fill critical staffing shortages caused by the pandemic. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has released guidelines for schools to follow in taking advantage of the law.
Act 91 provides additional pathways for quality individuals to pursue and complete certifications and enter the educator workforce. Specifically, the law creates a new Classroom Monitor Permit for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. A classroom monitor may be employed to provide coverage and deliver preplanned assignments in classrooms. A classroom monitor may not plan lessons or create or grade student work.
An individual receiving a Classroom Monitor Permit must satisfy the following requirements as outlined in Act 91:
Additional consideration should be taken when determining if a classroom monitor should work with students with disabilities. Schools can find more information and resources about the changes under Act 91 on the department’s Certification Services website.
Grants Available for Community Learning Centers
Organizations may now submit their intent to apply for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program, which provides funding to support community learning centers that provide academic, artistic and cultural enrichment opportunities for students and their families.
Eligible organizations include public school districts, charter schools, private schools, nonprofit agencies, city or county government agencies, faith-based organizations, institutions of higher education, for-profit corporations and others.
Programs must take place during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session to help students attending high-poverty and low-performing schools to meet state and local standards in core academic subjects. Centers must also offer students a broad array of activities that can complement their regular academic programs and literacy and other educational services to their families. How to apply.
Help for Students to Acquire Skills in High Demand by Employers
Financial assistance is available to help students learn skills in high demand by today’s employers in energy, health, advanced materials and diversified manufacturing, and agriculture and food production.
The PA Targeted Industry Program, created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 2012, provides need-based awards up to $5,000. Approved veteran applicants may receive up to 100% of the student’s total educational costs or the max award, whichever is less. Awards can be used to cover tuition, books, fees, supplies and a $4,000 living expense allowance.
Students must have received a high school diploma, GED or recognized homeschool certificate. Students who have completed a bachelor’s or graduate degree are still eligible to apply for assistance. Information and Applications
Senate Committee Activity is Streamed and Stored Online
Last year, the Senate held nearly 330 public meetings and hearings that were streamed live from the Capitol and locations across Pennsylvania. You can find them all, plus 2022’s committee activity, here.
The Senate’s 23 standing committees, ranging from Aging and Youth to Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness, are where legislation is vetted, debated and, if necessary, altered before being considered by the full Senate. Committee hearings bring citizens, experts and other interested parties together for public presentations on various topics.
Now Online: 2022 Trout Stocking Schedule
The 2022 adult trout stocking schedule is now available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
The trout stocking schedule is searchable by county, lists the waterways in alphabetical order, and indicates stocking dates, meeting locations for volunteers and the species of trout that will be stocked.
In 2022, Pennsylvania will return to a single, statewide Opening Day of Trout Season on the first Saturday in April, which is April 2. A single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day will take place on Saturday, March 26. Under this change, which will result in a longer regular season for trout statewide, the practice of holding a separate regional opening day and mentored youth day for Pennsylvania’s 18 southeastern counties will no longer occur.
To accommodate the earlier statewide trout season, preseason trout stocking operations are set to begin the week of Feb. 21.
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