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Keystone Crossroads: Rust or Revival? explores the urgent challenges pressing upon Pennsylvania's cities. Four public media newsrooms are collaborating to report in depth on the root causes of our state's urban crisis -- and on possible solutions. Keystone Crossroads offers reports on radio, web, social media, television and newspapers, and through public events.Our partner stations are WHYY in Philadelphia, WPSU in State College and witf in Harrisburg. Read all of the partner stories here.Pittsburgh’s WQED joins the collaboration as an associate partner. Support for this project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Are Young Municipal Workers Bearing The Brunt Of Pension Reform?

Kate Lao Shaffner
Alex and Courtney Hayden at home.

Many Pennsylvania municipalities are already taking steps towards reforming their pension plans. Because municipalities cannot legally break pension obligations already promised, reform usually means changing the pension plans for new employees while older employees' pensions remain intact. So what does that mean? Is the younger generation bearing the brunt of pension reform?

Courtney and Alex Hayden live in a house just outside the Borough of State College with their two cats.

Alex works two part-time IT jobs while looking for full-time work and Courtney makes about $50,000 dollars a year as the communications coordinator for the State College municipal government. They have no complaints about Courtney's salary, but they can't help but worry about finances because of the poor job market for Alex, Courtney's chronic health issues, and their big student loans.

And they're really trying hard to plan for their future. One perk of Courtney's job is the benefits...but even working for the government doesn't guarantee future financial security.

Alex said back in the day, a government job meant "you're set for life." But now, he said, it's not the same.

Read more of this special report at the website of our partner Keystone Crossroads.