Bloomsburg and Luzerne County Community College Nursing Programs Enter Into Agreement

Two Chamber members, Bloomsburg University and Luzerne County Community College, recently entered into a new agreement that will help facilitate the transfer of LCCC’s nursing program graduates to BU to complete their bachelor’s degree. Nationally, nursing is one of the most in-demand professions and with two of our area’s largest employers — Geisinger and Commonwealth Health-Berwick Hospital Center — both being affected by this national shortage of nurses, the Chamber hopes that this new agreement can, over time, help address this workforce shortage for this profession on a local level. 

Below is the official joint press release from BU and LCCC announcing this new collaboration. 

NANTICOKE–Luzerne County Community College and Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania have entered into a new agreement which will help LCCC nursing graduates transfer from the community college to Bloomsburg University to complete their bachelor’s degree.

The Guaranteed Admissions Agreement is designed to facilitate the transfer of LCCC nursing graduates from The Mary Gill Carrozza, R.N. School of Nursing and Health Sciences to the BU online nursing program. LCCC graduates will be guaranteed admission into BU’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) online degree program with third year (junior) status.

In order to take advantage of the program-to-program agreement, students must graduate from LCCC with an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in nursing with a minimum grade point average of 2.0. LCCC nursing graduates are also required to successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX) prior to beginning courses at BU. The application fee to Bloomsburg will be waived.

“We’re pleased to continue our valuable partnership with Bloomsburg University, which has consistently ranked among the most popular choices for our students to continue their education,” says Thomas P. Leary, president, LCCC. “The College has many nursing graduates who are employed in the region and this cooperative agreement allows them to continue their education online and obtain a bachelor’s degree while working in their field.”

“This is another fine example of the strong, collaborative efforts BU maintains with its significant community college partners in Pennsylvania, with the ultimate goal of student success,” says Dr. Bashar Hanna, president, Bloomsburg University.

For more information about the new partnership, contact Jim Domzalski, director of enrollment management at LCCC at 570-740-7342 or email, or Tom Fletcher, vice president of enrollment management at BU at 570-389-5161 or email.

Executive Order Supports Broadband Infrastructure Expansion With Focus on Rural America

In an effort to support the expansion of broadband internet service in rural America, President Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 8 that streamlines the application process for locating wireless facilities on Federal property. The order sets guidelines and timelines for processing applications from private entities. It is hoped that other benefits will be realized from this policy “to use all viable tools to accelerate the deployment and adoption of affordable, reliable, modern high-speed broadband connectivity in rural America.” (Read the full executive order)

The Columbia Montour Chamber continues to advocate for the expansion of broadband in rural areas to support economic growth. In November, the Chamber sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission supporting a petition by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to keep $140 million for broadband expansion in Pennsylvania. While federal funds have traditionally only been available to regulated telecommunications companies such as Verizon, the PUC and Chamber are seeking greater flexibility to work with other potential providers.

New Legislation Makes $30 Million Available in Grants for Businesses in Solar Energy Field

From Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy

In an effort to help develop and maintain solar jobs and manufacturing in Pennsylvania, new bipartisan legislation was recently passed and signed into law to do just that. Act 40 is designed to keep solar energy jobs within the Keystone State instead of sourcing them to neighboring states, as has been practice in recent years.

Additionally, $30 million in grants and loans is now available through the Solar Energy Program (SEP) to businesses that manufacture solar equipment, or generate or distribute solar power. The goal is to support Pennsylvania’s efforts to strengthen its position in the clean energy space.

“The Solar Energy Program is vital in our efforts to make Pennsylvania a leader in clean energy,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “Developing new renewable energy sources including solar is critical to ensuring Pennsylvania has a balanced and diverse energy mix that maintains our position as a major energy producing state.”

Many local Pennsylvania chamber member businesses can benefit from the SEP as it provides financial assistance in the form of grant and loan funds to promote the use of solar energy in Pennsylvania.

If your organization is interested in applying for a SEP loan or grant, please visit the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development page.

PA Department of Labor Offers Free Workplace Safety Webinars During January

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Health & Safety Division will offer a series of free webinars on workplace safety throughout the month of January.  Titled PATHS (PA Training for Health and Safety), these webinars will cover subjects such as safe driving in inclement weather, dealing with angry people, snowblower safety, safety incentive programs, mold awareness, ADA compliance, social media safety and much more. Each webinar lasts approximately one hour depending on course material and viewer participation. 

For more information, to register, and for a complete listing of each webinar, visit the PATHS training calendar

Early-Stage, Technology-Oriented Businesses and Entrepreneurs Benefit from Tax Credits Through Keystone Innovation Zone Program

Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) tax credits for 273 early-stage companies totaling $15 million were announced by Governor Tom Wolf on Dec. 28, 2017. Included are 11 companies located within the Greater Susquehanna Keystone Innovation Zone, which includes portions of Bloomsburg, Danville, Lewisburg, Sunbury, and Selinsgrove.

The Keystone Innovation Zone Program is designed to support and encourage entrepreneurship in and around Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities by providing young Pennsylvania companies with vital working capital to meet critical needs, including covering capital expenditures, workforce expansion, operational expenses, and making companies more attractive to venture investment.

Run out of the PA Department of Community & Economic Development, the program provides tax credits for companies that have been in operation for less than eight years, whose gross revenues have increased over the previous year, are located in a Keystone Innovation Zone, and are operating within a targeted industry sector such as information technology or advanced manufacturing/diversified materials.

“By providing these tax credits, we’re helping to reduce the burden placed on companies as they go through the early stages of growth, thereby helping new ideas take root while pushing both our economy and the thriving tech sector forward,” said Governor Wolf.

For more information about the KIZ program, contact the Rural Business Innovation office in Bloomsburg at 570-245-0096.