This is more money than Pima County has allocated for Social Services over  the last decade to outside agencies.

Pima County Interfaith Council

Helping families help themselves

A Working Paper

For The

Family Development Fund

A New Economic Opportunity for Tucson and Pima County

Febuary 20 - Febuary 26 1997 - Tucson Weekly - Page 15

At the October 20, 1996 PCIC Canidate Accountability Convocation the  candidates present unanimously agreed to attend an Economic Summit to be held  Feburary 28 and March 1, 1997. Community, business and elected leadership will  come together to shape this bottomup economic strategy for Pima County  and Tucson Families. Participants in the Economic Summit will collaborate in  refining and implimenting the Family Development Fund, and in securing  commitments for the budgeted 10,000,000 needed to underwrite its operations.

The focus of the two sessions will be on the Family Development Fund. It's  intended to be a series of scholarships and incentives designed to move families  and individuals currently unemployed or in low-wage jobs into jobs paying  between $8 and $12 an hour, according to PCIC officials. 

Under the groups plan, organizations would contribute up to $10 Million over  an unspecified period of time. This money would be used to provide education,  job-training assistance, child care and program administration beginning this  year.

Participants in the programs three year phases- remediation, literacy and job  training- will be asked to donate hundred hours of service to the community in  addition to the program's other requirements. 

PCIC officials estimate the average cost for each person by the program could  be $10,000 thus limiting the total number of participants to 1,000. 

Potential problems for the proposal are several: 

First, securing large numbers of jobs paying $8 to $12 and hour here will be  very difficult. The average wage for graduates of the state's JOBS program,  which is designed for people leaving welfare, is less than $6 an hour. 

Secondly, PCIC has a reputation for working only with "our families" and  excluding all others. Officials of the group claim they'll allow anyone to  participate, but an organization based primarily of church members will be  viewed with suspicion by many. 

Finally, the group's sketchy poverty-fighting idea appears in several ways  very similar to other programs which are already underway in Tucson. Those  programs, operated by long established and under-funded organizations and  agencies, should also be given a chance to compete for additional government  money. 

While recognizing that the Family Development Fund wont solve all of Tucson's  poverty problems, PCIC Co-chair Jim Haag believes it's a start.

The Bottoms Up Economic Summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday  Februray 28 and Saturday, March 1, in room A of the Pueblo Neighborhood Center,  101 W Irvington Road.