Texas IAF Fights to Protect ACE Fund from Senate Special Item Cuts

[Excerpts below]

Since 2014, Texas has paid nonprofits across the state to help nearly 800 poor, older students navigate their way through community college….

The programs face uncertain futures because they are funded using a budgeting tactic known as a special item. Those items are used to pay for specific programs at universities by sending the schools that host them money outside the normal higher education funding formulas…..

Next year, that kind of help could end, though not because lawmakers are unhappy with the program. If the Senate gets its way in ongoing state budget negotiations, the Legislature would overhaul the way it pays for higher education in Texas — and funding for the Texas Innovative Adult Career Education Grant Program could disappear.

“It has nothing to do with our program or the effectiveness of it,” said Elizabeth Valdez, lead organizer for The Metropolitan Organization in Houston, which is advocating for lawmakers to continue funding the grant….

[Photo Credit: Gabe Hernandez, Texas Tribune]

Commentary: Funds Help Adult Career Program Boost Workforce, Families, Austin American Statesman

State Should Continue Funding ACE Job Training, San Antonio Express-News [pdf]

Proposed Higher Education Funding Overhaul Could Come With Collateral Damage, Texas Tribune

Senate ResolutionSenate of the State of Texas

Texas Job Program Shows Unusually Strong, Lasting Gains, Study FindsAustin American Statesman [pdf]

Study Affirms Project QUEST AchievementsSan Antonio Express-News

Escalating Gains: Project QUEST’S Sectoral Strategy Pays OffEconomic Mobility

Texas Innovative Adult Career Education (ACE) Grant Program: The Wise Investment for Proven Economic Development, Texas IAF

Texas IAF Fights to Restore Full Funding for Adult Career Education (ACE) & More

Over 200 leaders from organizations of the Network of Texas IAF convened at the Texas state capital to call on state legislators to restore full funding for the Texas Innovative Adult Career Education Fund (ACE Fund).  The delegation met with 20 legislators and staff asking them to support the ACE fund at its full $5 million and oppose anti-immigrant legislation.  Leaders additionally asked for local control covering issues as wide ranging as affordable housing and bail reform.

Texas IAF leaders additionally invited as guests of the legislature, as a resolution was read in support of the ACE fund by five Texas House members.  Later that day the Senate also read a resolution in support of the ACE fund.

At a press conference organized by the Texas IAF, legislators from across the state emerged from the Capitol to speak in support of the ACE fund.  Capital IDEA graduates from Houston and Texas, in addition to graduates from other IAF Labor market intermediaries told stories of how the workforce initiatives changed their lives, moving them from $10.00/hr part time work to careers earning as much as $70,000 per year!  The average wage of a graduate from these programs is $20.66/hr.

Texas IAF Network Joins Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops Against Anti-Immigrant SB4

Said Bishop Joe Vásquez of the Catholic Diocese of Austin, representing the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, “We reject the premise that persons who are merely suspected of being undocumented immigrants should be rounded up by state and local police agents.”

TMO leader Rev. Fred Clarkson, with the Network of Texas IAF Organizations, spoke in opposition to Senate Bill 4 which would punish so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ by withholding state funding and forcing law enforcement to act as immigration agents.

“This bill requires local police and sheriff’s deputies to enforce federal immigration laws as if their job of maintaining public order and the public safety weren’t difficult enough as it is,” said John Elford, senior pastor of University United Methodist Church and member of Austin Interfaith.

[In photo, Austin Catholic Bishop Joe Vasquez speaks, surrounded by religious leaders of the Network of Texas IAF Organizations.]

Texas Interfaith Leaders Take a Stand Against SB4, KXAN

Press Release, Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops

Texas IAF Leaders Develop Legislative Agenda

At a statewide convening of the Network of Texas IAF Organizations, leaders developed an agenda of issues to tackle in the upcoming legislative session.  The top two issues will be immigration (stopping anti-immigrant legislation) and the ACE Fund (promoting full funding for investments in long-term workforce development).  Several organizations plan on additionally tackling local control as it impacts local rental housing, property tax and bail reforms.

Texas IAF 40+ Years Anniversary: Photos

during the Class 6A bidistrict softball game between Reagan and Smithson Valley at NEISD Complex on Friday, April 29, 2016

Ernesto Cortes, Jr., Co-Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation agitates the audience alongside Sr. Christine Stephens, Co-Director of the Interfaith Education Fund.

during the Class 6A bidistrict softball game between Reagan and Smithson Valley at NEISD Complex on Friday, April 29, 2016

Sr. Christine Stephens

Catholic Bishops Most Reverend Mark Seitz and Most Reverend Joseph Fiorenza with Ernesto Cortes, Jr.

A mariachi kicks off the beginning of the celebration.

Event Co-Chairs: Brenda Schell and Fr. David Garcia

El Paso Catholic Bishop Most Reverend Mark Seitz

IAF Organizer Sr. Judy Donovan with IAF Co-Director Mike Gecan, Sr. Christine Stephens and Frank Sanchez of the Needmor Foundation

Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) Executive Director Ralph McCloud

IAF Organizer Joe Rubio and Mrs. Loretta Bernard

Texas IAF leaders Sr. Gabriela Lohan, Sandra Fuentes, Rev. Chris Jimmerson stand behind

Ralph McCloud looks on Bishop Mark Seitz shakes Brother Richard Daley’s hand.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff

San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor

Texas State Senator Hinojosa presents Proclamation from Texas State Senate

Methodist Bishop Joel Martinez of the Southwest Texas Conference

Project QUEST Executive Director Sr. Pearl Ceasar greets Texas IAF leader

IEF Boardmember Reverend Dr. Rhenel Johnson with Oralia Garza de Cortes at side

IAF Organizer Arnie Graf, COPS / Metro Lead Organizer Jorge Montiel look on as COPS Co-Founders Andy Sarabia and Beatriz Gallegos stand to be recognized.

Austin Interfaith co-founder Fr. John Korscmar stands to be recognized while Austin Diocesan CCHD Committee Member Barbara Budde applauds.

Valley Interfaith co-founders Fr. Jerry Frank, Fr. Alfonso Guevara and Ofelia de los Santos stand to be recognized.

The Border Organization co-founders stand to be recognized.

Texas IAF leader Rev. John Ogletree exhorts the audience alongside Dolores Davila from El Paso.

Texas IAF leaders Minerva Camarena-Skeith and Rev. Price

TMO Lead Organizer Elizabeth Vasquez with Ernesto Cortes

Ernesto Cortes, Jr. and Sr. Christine Stephens

Proclamations in Support of the Texas IAF

1604 - Texas Senate - Proclamation in Recognition of Texas IAFNoting that for “more than 40 years, the network’s organizing efforts have had a profound impact on the lives of countless families” and that it is “truly fitting that its exceptional achievements receive special recognition” the Texas Senate issued Proclamation No. 332 to “commend the Network of Texas Industrial Areas Foundation Organizations on its commitment to helping families, developing leadership, and promoting conversation on the issues facing our state.”

See below for proclamations from the US House of Representatives, Texas Senate, and City of Houston.

Statement of the Honorable Gene Green, US Congressional Record

Proclamation No. 332Texas Senate

Proclamation, City of Houston

Press Recognizes Texas IAF

Texas IAF leaders take the stage

IAF Celebrates 40 Years Making Texas BetterEl Paso Times [pdf]

Grassroots Grows Up, Texas Observer [pdf]

Ordinary People Acting ExtraordinarilySan Antonio Express News [pdf]

Austin Interfaith, COPS and the Big BangAustin American Statesman [pdf]

Austin Interfaith Celebrates 30 Years of Building PowerAustin American Statesman [pdf]

De los Santos: My Life-Changing Work with Valley Interfaith, Rio Grande Guardian [pdf]

Organizacion Que Ayuda a la Comunidad Inmigrante en Texas Cumple 40 Anos y se  Marca Nuevos ObjetivosLa Voz [pdf]

Interfaith Dialogue: Austin Group Celebrates 30 Years of Faith in ActionCatholic Spirit

TMO Focuses on ‘People Power’, Houston Chronicle

Faith Groups Joining in Larger Networks Celebrate 40 Years of Reducing Poverty in TexasNational Catholic Reporter

Grassroots Grows Up by the Texas ObserverQuorum Report

Cardinal & Bishops Laud Texas IAF

1604 - Bishop Fiorenza's Letter of Congratulations

As the 40+ anniversary of the Texas IAF approaches, religious judicatories have begun congratulating the network for over four decades of leadership development and transformation.  Descriptions of the work of the network range from “virtuous” to “transformative” and “a force for change.”

Click below to read letters from:

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo,Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Bishop Daniel E. Flores, Diocese of Brownsville

Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, Diocese of Austin

Auxiliary Bishop Greg KellyDiocese of Dallas

Bishop Michael F. Olson, Diocese of Fort Worth