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04/20/2021 07:46 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20210&cosponId=34283
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 21, 2021 10:00 AM
From: Representative Napoleon J. Nelson
To: All House members
Subject: Establishing Career Pathways for Underrepresented Professions
 

From the COVID-19 pandemic to the murder of George Floyd, the year 2020 has laid bare the deep inequality and injustice that continues to plague our nation in areas such as health care, education, and law enforcement to name a few. Research has consistently shown that people of color on average have worse treatment outcomes in health care, particularly in mental health care, receive lower quality education, and receive unfair treatment from law enforcement.

One of the major causes of these disparities is the underrepresentation of people of color in the health care, education, and law enforcement fields. Several studies have shown that people of color have substantially improved health care and mental health care outcomes when their doctor or mental health professional is a person of color. Additionally, students of color have substantially improved educational outcomes when their teacher is a person of color, and law enforcement departments have fewer fatal encounters with people of color once a large proportion of the department is comprised of officers of color.

For this reason, I will be introducing two pieces of legislation. The first bill would create the Pennsylvania Opportunity Pipeline Program (POP Program), which would provide grants to enable schools to establish pipeline programs designed to aid low-income students and students who are underrepresented in the education, legal, law enforcement, and health care fields in pursuing careers in those fields. The second bill would establish a loan forgiveness program for mental health and intellectual disability staff, alcohol and drug addiction counselors, educators, and public defenders. The amount of loan forgiveness an individual could receive would be doubled if the individual works in a high-need area. Both bills would include a marketing set-aside to ensure the programs and the targeted industries impacted are elevated with students and parents in our communities. Together, these bills will aim to diversify the education, legal, law enforcement, and health care fields while improving the lives of people of color all across our state.



Document #1

Description: This bill would create the Pennsylvania Opportunity Pipeline Program to provide grants to enable school districts, Community Colleges and PASSHE Universities to establish pipeline
programs designed to aid low-income students and students who are underrepresented in the education, legal, law enforcement, and health care fields in pursuing careers in those fields.
 

Document #2

Description: This bill would establish a loan forgiveness program for mental health and intellectual disability staff, alcohol and drug addiction counselors, educators, and public defenders.