Members Learn About Business Opportunities Surrounding Upcoming Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline

Mike Atchie from Williams gives attendees at Tuesday’s Learn at Lunch an overview of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project. He also spoke about the WILLShop Local mobile app, which will encourage workers to patronize local businesses and which local businesses and sign up to be listed on for free.

An engaged group of individuals from Chamber member organizations heard the latest updates on the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project and also about the many opportunities for business development that will be brought about by the pipeline project once it gets underway later this year. Mike Atchie, director of community outreach for Williams, spoke to the group at the August Learn at Lunch, held on Aug. 8 at Wesley United Methodist Church. He began the presentation by giving the audience a brief summary of how and why the project came about and everything that has happened in the three-plus years to get the necessary approvals and permits. Williams is awaiting a few final permits and then plans to get the project started in the fall, taking a about a year to complete. The purpose of the pipeline is to add additional transmission capacity for gas coming out of the Marcellus Shale region in north central Pennsylvania so that the gas can be more easily exported to other states and areas up and down the east coast through the Transco pipeline. According to statistics released last month by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, PA ranked second in the nation in natural gas production for the fourth straight year in 2016. 

The Atlantic Sunrise pipeline will run through Columbia County on its way to connect with the Transco pipeline in southern Lancaster County. Some workers that will construct the pipeline in Columbia County will be from outside the immediate area and will therefore need to locate goods and services. In order to encourage its contractors to patronize local businesses during their time here, Williams has developed a mobile application called WILLShop Local and all local businesses are encouraged to sign up, free of charge, to be listed on this app. 

The next Learn at Lunch is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 10, from 12-1 p.m. (location TBA) and will feature a speakers talking about the ChamberChoice affinity programs that are available as benefits of Chamber membership, specifically the Penn National business insurance program and the OnDemand Energy program. 

Natural Gas Forecasted to Equal or Exceed Coal as Electricity Source for Second Straight Year

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in its recent short-term energy outlook report, predicts that in 2017, natural gas will either exceed or equal coal as a source of electricity generation for the second straight year. Last year was the first that natural gas-fired electricity generation exceeded coal-fired generation, with coal generating 30% of U.S. electricity and natural gas responsible for 34%. In 2017, through the first four months, coal has provided 30% of U.S. electricity while natural gas has provided 28%, and the EIA expects that by the end of the year, both coal and natural gas will have each generated about 31% of the electricity in the U.S.

The EIA also recently released statistics that showed Pennsylvania as ranking second in the nation in natural gas production for the fourth straight year. Natural gas is a big part of the PA economy, and locally, a new natural gas pipeline is scheduled to get underway later this year. It will have an estimated economic impact of $85.5 million for Columbia County alone, and $1.6 billion for all of the project’s regions. The Atlantic Sunrise pipeline will expand the Transco gas pipeline system with a new pipe approximately 185 miles long connecting the existing pipeline just north of Columbia County to southeast Pennsylvania, which will allow for more efficient transportation of Marcellus Shale natural gas and should enable even more to be exported. 

Williams is also encouraging all workers that come into the area to work on this project to patronize local businesses. More information about the opportunities for local businesses related to this pipeline project will be available at the Chamber’s next Learn at Lunch, sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities, this Tuesday, Aug. 8, at noon at Wesley United Methodist Church. Mike Atchie from Williams will talk about the different types of opportunities for local businesses to cater to the visiting workers and give an overall update on the project at this event. The cost to attend this event is $10 for lunch and those interested can register here.

Third Annual Taste of the Valley Seeks Food, Catering and Beverage Vendors

The third annual Taste of the Valley will provide patrons with samples of local food and beverages from the areas top farms, wineries, breweries and restaurants. This annual fall event, which began in 2015, is primarily a fundraiser to benefit the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, but it also offers an opportunity for businesses in the food and beverage industry to have their products featured in front of a large audience ― all for a good cause. 

After being held in Lewisburg and Sunbury in its first two years, Taste of the Valley will be held in Columbia County this year at Ponduce Farms, 270 White Church Rd., Elysburg, on Sunday, Oct. 15,  from 12-3 p.m., as it attempts to highlight businesses in Columbia and Montour Counties. The event is now seeking vendors. There is no cost for vendors to participate. For more information or to register as a vendor, download a vendor information form, visit Taste of the Valley’s Facebook page, or call Sharon at AgChoice Farm Credit at 570-524-2204 or email

CPWDC announces launch of The Link, a new mobile career center serving the Central PA region

From CPWDC

Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC) is excited to announce the launch of The Link, a new mobile career center serving the Central PA region. The Link is staffed with expert professionals ready to help businesses find talent and help job seekers find opportunities right for them. Outfitted with seven computers, internet, a printer, presentation screen, and ADA accessibility, The Link offers state-of-the art technology. This career center on wheels is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania and will travel to neighborhoods across Central PA expanding the reach of PA CareerLink® services to jobseekers and businesses.

The Link offers a variety of services for jobseekers including but not limited to career guidance, assistance with searching and applying for jobs, resume and cover letter review, and work readiness workshops and training provided by workforce professionals. The Link will serve businesses by assisting with recruitment and job fair events and can be available for onsite, company training. The Link is also available for Rapid Response events aimed at helping recently laid-off employees get back to work quickly. 

“This new vehicle allows us to take the professional career services available at the PA CareerLink® beyond the walls of the Central PA CareerLink® offices to serve communities and individuals we sometimes have a hard time reaching,” says Erica Mulberger, Executive Director of CPWDC. “CPWDC recognizes that traveling to one of the six PA CareerLink® offices in the region can be a challenge for individuals living in rural communities, and The Link is our way of reducing that barrier to help more individuals find employment. I encourage companies searching for new talent and individuals looking for employment to check out what The Link has to offer,” stated Ms. Mulberger.

Interior of The Link

The Link is operated by Central Susquehanna Opportunities, Inc. and will provide services to Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union Counties. The Link schedule will include recurring stops, as well as time for special events like recruitments, job fairs and other community happenings. For the latest schedule of The Link, please visit @TheLinkMCC on Facebook. To schedule The Link for your job fair, event, or location please call Kelly Johnson, Link Outreach Coordinator, at 570-220-0003 or send a message on Facebook.

The Link is made possible thanks to a Community Based Partnership grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry and ongoing support from CPWDC.

The Chamber will hold a ribbon cutting at The Link next Monday, July 31, at noon at the PA CareerLink Columbia/Montour office at 415 Central Rd., Bloomsburg.

For Fourth Straight Year, Pennsylvania is Second in Nation in Natural Gas Production

According to statistics released last week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation in natural gas production in 2016, marking the fourth straight year that Pennsylvania has held this spot. Overall, the state is third in energy production and 27th in energy consumption. Pennsylvania was also the third-largest coal producing state and the only state that produced anthracite. 

Locally, both Columbia and Montour Counties contribute to that energy production either directly or indirectly through energy transportation. A big upcoming project intended to increase the ability to transport natural gas is the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project by Williams, which the Columbia Montour Chamber continues to support. This new project will expand the Transco gas pipeline system with a new pipe approximately 185 miles long connecting the existing pipeline just north of Columbia County to southeast Pennsylvania. Last month, Chamber president Fred Gaffney spoke in support of the project at a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection hearing held at Bloomsburg High School.

This project will allow for more efficient transportation of Marcellus Shale natural gas and should enable even more to be exported. Additionally, the Atlantic Sunrise project, which is scheduled to begin later this year, is expected to generate an economic impact of $85.5 million for Columbia County alone, and a $1.6 billion economic impact in all of the project’s regions. 

Williams is also encouraging all workers that come into the area to work on this project to patronize local businesses. More information about the opportunities for local businesses related to this pipeline project will be available at the Chamber’s next Learn at Lunch, sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities, on Tuesday, Aug. 8, at noon at Wesley United Methodist Church. Mike Atchie from Williams will talk about the different types of opportunities for local businesses to cater to the visiting workers and give an overall update on the project at this event. The cost to attend this event is $10 for lunch and those interested can register here.