Business & Economy
Analysis of House Budget Cuts on Working Families in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Monday, 28 February 2011 12:06
DATE:                  February 24, 2011

Last week the U.S House of Representatives approved a budget for the rest of Fiscal Year 2011 that would drastically cut funding for programs that help working families, such as child care subsidies for low-income families and a wide range of education programs.  

“Working families in Iowa and around the country are sitting around their kitchen tables and wondering how to balance the struggles of child care and access to a quality education with busy schedules and a tough economy,” said Harkin.  “For low-income Iowans, those struggles are multiplied.  There is no question that the time has come for tough budget decisions, but the smart way to bring down the deficit is for Congress to pursue a balanced approach of major spending cuts and necessary revenue increases, while continuing to invest in the programs that grow our future, while creating and maintaining jobs.”

Cuts to specific programs that would affect Iowans include:

Head Start: The House plan would cut over $1 billion from the Head Start program, which provides comprehensive early childhood services—education, nutrition, health, social, and emotional development—to nearly one million low-income children and their families.  This would eliminate those services for about 218,000 children and their families next year (an almost 25 percent reduction), close 16,000 Head Start classrooms, and lay off 55,000 teachers, teacher assistants and related staff. 
  • Estimated Impact on Iowa: There are 18 Head Start grantees in Iowa providing early childhood services to over 7,000 low-income children and their families.  The House plan would eliminate those services for about 1,800 children next year, close 100 classrooms, and lay off 400 teachers and related staff. A map of the Iowa Head Start centers can be found here.

Child Care: The House plan would cut $39 million nationally from the Child Care and Development Block Grant, just as child care funding provided in the 2009 Recovery Act is coming to an end.  The grant program provides subsidies to low-income working families to help pay for the cost of child care, as well as funds to improve the quality of care.  The House plan would eliminate subsidies for about 165,000 low-income children, significantly reducing the availability and affordability of quality child care for low-income families.  These are families that are working, or in some cases looking for work, and that depend on those subsidies to do so.

  • Estimated Impact on Iowa: The House plan would eliminate child care subsidies for over 1,500 low-income Iowa families next year.

Afterschool Programs: The House plan would cut funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program by $100 million, which would eliminate before- and after-school services, summer enrichment programs, and similar services for an estimated 100,000 students across the country.  Such programs provide a safe environment and extended learning opportunities for students, and make it easier for parents to work.  Funding is targeted to schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families.

  • Estimated Impact on Iowa: Iowa would lose more than $500,000 in funding, denying more than 500 students an opportunity to benefit from safe and productive learning environments after school and other extended learning opportunities.

Title I Grants: The House plan cuts Title I education funding by nearly $700 million, meaning 2,400 schools serving one million disadvantaged students could lose funding, and approximately 10,000 teachers and aides could lose their jobs.  Title I funding is the foundation of federal support for elementary and secondary education and provides a flexible source of funding that can be used to support extended learning opportunities for students.

  • Estimated Impact on Iowa: Iowa would lose more than $4.5 million in grants to local educational agencies under the House plan.

School Improvement Grants: The House plan cuts school improvement grant funding by nearly $337 million.  These funds are targeted by states to their lowest performing schools.  These funds may be used by schools to provide extended learning time for students.

  • Estimated Impact on Iowa: Iowa would lose more than $1.7 million in grants to local educational agencies under the House plan.

Harkin’s full statement on the budget proposals before Congress can be found here.

For a compilation of all outreach pieces on this issue, please click here

 
Alternative Energy = Jobs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Russ Handler   
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 12:54

Expert Reveals How Alternative Energy Will Put Americans Back to Work

The old jobs are dead. Long live the new jobs.

That’s the message Tom Rand sees in the current news cycle as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced in January that unemployment rates would take four to five years to get back to “normal.” In the meantime, several states announced that alternative energy jobs were soaring.

“In America, we used to make things,” said Rand, a new millennium combination of scientist and venture capitalist who believes the country’s future hinges on the development and ownership of alternative energy technology. “We built cars, homes and other manufactured goods that we’d use here and export abroad. As our quality of life was raised, other countries used their lower economic classes to make up a new generation of cheap labor aimed at undercutting American made goods. Today, we have millions of manufacturing workers who have been displaced and are unable to find work. In the meantime, our dependence on fossil fuels continues to make Americans slaves to foreign oil. Alternative energy is the industry that can break that chain in a variety of ways.”

Rand, author of the book KICK the Fossil Fuel Habit: 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World from Greenleaf Book Group Press (www.tomrand.com), said he is already seeing an explosion of new jobs in the alternative energy sector.

A Colorado solar energy company is expected to create 1,200 new jobs within the next couple of years thanks to a $400 million loan guaranteed through the US department of energy and another $110 million in equity financing,” said Rand. “The best thing about it is the company, Abound Solar, won’t require the new hires to have experience in alternative energy. Because the jobs are manufacturing oriented, the typical skills learned in traditional manufacturing jobs are transferrable to the new initiative. And it’s not just manufacturing, these technologies need to be installed. We’re rebuilding an energy infrastructure, and that takes the trades – all the trades and lots of them.”

Rand added that the wind power industry also received a big boost from the government with the renewing of a key tax credit, which is hoped to increase wind project installations by about 50 percent. That’s just one part of the equation, though.

“A national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) policy was before Congress last year, but it didn’t pass,” Rand added. “If Congress succeeds in passing it this year, it would solidify the wind energy market enough that it could create several hundred thousand jobs as a result. Meanwhile in Florida, the renewable energy industry is hoping the legislature will pass a $1 consumer fee that would generate 95,000 new alternative energy jobs in that state. The bottom line is that the new energy jobs aren’t a myth -- they are out there, and not only can they put America back to work, but they can also secure our energy independence for generations to come. It’s just smart business for America.”

 
Sherwin Williams reopens Davenport store PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sarah McQuilkin   
Friday, 18 February 2011 16:43
The Sherwin-Williams store at 111 East 50th Street Davenport, IA, which was damaged earlier this week, is currently open for professional paint contractors and will return to its normal store hours for all customers beginning Saturday, Feb. 19.

 
Brian Wegerer named Top 20 Midwest Construction Professional PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Amy L. Thon   
Friday, 18 February 2011 12:26
Rock Island – KJWW Engineering Consultants is proud to announce Brian Wegerer, PE, was named to ENR Midwest’s Top 20 Under 40 list.

An independent panel of judges selected the top 20 from 40 nominees based on professional excellence; leadership in their company and profession; service to their profession and community; and honors and awards earned for involvement in landmark projects.

The Jan. 24, 2011 article in ENR Midwest states “Brian Wegerer’s staff of 30 tackles some of KJWW’s largest projects, drawing on his experience leading technical and multi-discipline teams.”

Wegerer has spent nearly his entire career with KJWW Engineering, and currently serves as Associate Principal and as an operations manager for the firm’s Industrial/Government
“Because younger engineers look to him for leadership, project management and mentoring, KJWW selected him to instruct them in project management and consulting,” the article stated.

Early in his career as an electrical engineer, Brian took on the lead role in many high-profile projects and became the technical expert on systems associated with various projects. Some of the projects Brian lead as Project Manager and Lead Electrical Engineer include:

$200 million new Sherman Hospital that features the largest-lake coupled geothermal system in the United States

$75 million Provena St. Joseph Hospital bed tower expansion

$42 million Trinity at Terrace Park Hospital

Numerous projects for Deere & Company

Brian attended Black Hawk College before transferring to Iowa State University to pursue a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. In 2000, he received an MBA from St. Ambrose University. Brian received a “Leaders Under 40 Award” from Black Hawk College in 2008 and currently serves on the Black Hawk College Foundation board. He is married and has three children and resides in Coal Valley, Ill.

About KJWW: KJWW offers a range of engineering services including structural, mechanical, electrical, technology and medical equipment solutions for healthcare, education, government, commercial and industrial facilities. KJWW’s staff comprises of more than 400 full-time employees in seven offices. The firm is headquartered in Rock Island, Ill., and has offices in Chicago; St. Louis; Madison, Wis.; Des Moines, Iowa; Naperville, Ill.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Dubai, UAE; and Ahmedabad, India. For more information, visit www.kjww.com.

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Harkin Statement on the Wisconsin Budget Protest PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Friday, 18 February 2011 12:24
WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 18, 2011 - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today issued the following statement on the budget protest in Wisconsin:

“States around the country are facing tough budget decisions – just as we are here in Washington.  But what does it say about our priorities when we pass tax cuts for the wealthiest, yet ask public employees who are already being stretched thin to give even more?  These are our nation’s teachers and caregivers – people our families rely on each day who are living within their means.  Yet, those in the upper income bracket are not being asked to sacrifice anything.  That’s unfair.

“In Wisconsin, public servants are being scapegoated and budget cuts are being used as an excuse to undermine workers' rights.  That’s no way to go about building consensus and it’s no way to treat American workers.”

 
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