Regional Industrial Development Forum Scheduled

Focus Central Pennsylvania will host an Industrial Development Forum on Tuesday, June 6 from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Bucknell University’s Elaine Langone Center, Lewisburg. This event was organized to join industry thought leaders to take a comprehensive look at the current and future state of industrial development in the Central Pennsylvania region, including “game changers.” Attendees will collectively look at the game changers, opportunities and barriers to sustainable, successful industrial development. For more event details and to register, visit the Focus website.

This is a free event, made possible by generous sponsorships from: First Energy, PPL Electric Utilities, Larson Design Group, SEDA-Cog Joint Rail Authority, Norfolk Southern, Sunbury Generation, Mericle Commercial Real Estate, Grayston Enterprises, Don Stringfellow, JVI LLC, Berwick Industrial Development Association (BIDA), Williams, and Bucknell University.

Focus Central Pennsylvania is a non-profit, regional economic development marketing alliance committed to promoting new corporate investment in Central Pennsylvania resulting in the growth and creation of family sustaining jobs. 

Montour County Readdressing to Begin Next Month

Residences and businesses that will be impacted by Montour County’s readdressing will begin receiving information in the mail this month. The first of three mailings will be a checklist which will include updating driver’s license and vehicle registration information. Pending final approval by the Postal Service, address change information will be mailed and are scheduled to take effect in June. The Post Office will continue to deliver to the old addresses for one year. Any location that does not receive a notification in the mail by mid-July and would like to confirm address information should contact the Columbia Montour GIS office at 570-387-4930. Montour County intends to begin using new addresses for 911 dispatch on August 1, so it will be important to have the updated information by then.

The Montour County Commissioners hosted the first of four public information sessions last Wednesday to discuss readdressing as a result of 911 consolidation with Columbia County. Three more sessions are scheduled. The next is Wednesday, May 24, at 7 p.m. at the Anthony Township Municipal Building, followed by May 25 at First Baptist Church of Danville and May 31 at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church in Riverside. Information, including the checklist and schedule of future meetings, is available at MontourCo.org. 

Welcome Thrivent Financial

More than 550 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Thrivent Financial, to help us fulfill our mission.

Thrivent Financial is a not-for-profit, membership organization of Christians that provides financial planning and wealth management solutions to its members. It will soon move into to a new location in downtown Bloomsburg at 417 West Main St. Locally, Thrivent’s services are available through financial representatives and consultants Richard Keller, Dave Saul and Kerry Maurer in the Bloomsburg, Berwick, Danville and surrounding areas. 

For more information, visit the Chamber’s Online Directory

PA Chamber Supports UC Reform Bill

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

PA Chamber Government Affairs Director Alex Halper advocated in favor of legislation that would clarify and strengthen language within the state’s Unemployment Compensation law last week at a public hearing of the House Labor and Industry Committee. House Bill 1014 defines “willful misconduct” (i.e. the circumstances under which a firing triggers ineligibility for UC benefits) and clarifies that an individual whose separation from employment was due to “voluntary leaving work without cause of necessitous and compelling nature” is only eligible for benefits if he or she quits for reasons attributable to the job or workplace.

Halper explained to the committee that part of the reason these changes are necessary is to preserve the UC system for who it is truly designed to help – individuals who lose their job through no fault on their own for a temporary basis as they search for new employment. The bill will also help address problems with the administration of the UC system and service centers – of which the funding and function has recently been the subject of much scrutiny – along with challenges that have strained the UC Trust Fund for years.

“The problem is that the term ‘willful misconduct’ is not defined within the statute, which gives overly broad discretion to those tasked with resolving eligibility disputes and too often leads to benefits being granted to individuals fired for reasons that would lead an objective observer to almost certainly conclude should be disqualifying,” Halper said. “Unfortunately, we hear frequently of employers in this precise situation: a former employee whom they were forced to fire for good cause still manages to qualify for benefits … everything from chronic absenteeism and altercations with fellow employees to the individual arriving at work clearly under the influence of illegal drugs.” To make matters worse, those employers’ taxes increase as a result because tax rates are partially based on experience.

While not a panacea for addressing Pennsylvania’s myriad UC system problems, the PA Chamber supports H.B. 1014 because it will help to provide specific statutory guidance and clarification to help dictate decisions, remove unpredictability in the system and allow for a quicker, more uniform approach to dispute resolution.

The bill still awaits action by the House Labor and Industry Committee.

Celebrate Historic Berwick Festival Postponed

Due to the expected inclement weather predicted for this Saturday, May 13, the the Celebrate Historic Berwick festival has been postponed to Saturday, June 3. The event will still be in front of the Jackson Mansion and McBride Memorial Library from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. It will still include all of your favorite vendors, craft beer, live music, wineries and a day packed with fun! We hope to see you on June 3.