Help Local Students Explore Career Paths in Our Area

Businesses are invited to participate in an upcoming event aimed at educating local students and their parents about the diverse paths to a successful career. The Chamber’s Foundation is partnering with PA CareerLink and Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation to host the 2020 Future Careers Expo and Parent Pathways Awareness Night. This is a wonderful opportunity for employers to meet with students (and parents) and share information about the types of work that is done, and the jobs that are available. This is not intended to be a “job fair”, but an opportunity to inspire students to explore a career path that might lead to your company. 

The event will be held Tuesday, March 3rd from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Columbia Montour Area Vocational Technical School. Participating businesses can begin setting up at 4:45. There is no cost to participate.

Middle and high school students and their parents from at least eight area districts (Benton, Berwick, Bloomsburg, Central Columbia, Columbia Montour Vo-Tech, Danville, Millville, Southern Columbia) will be invited to attend. The goal of this event is to educate students about the many great career opportunities in our area, including the types of industries available here, the skills and education needed for specific careers, future job openings, etc.

Participating employers are encouraged to provide the following information:

  • An overview of your business/industry
  • The types of jobs or careers available and the education, or skills, needed for those jobs
  • The future of your business and how that will affect future careers
  • Information on internships, job shadowing, etc.
  • Any type of informational or marketing materials that can be handed out
  • Photos/display boards/examples of products or services
  • Hands on activities that demonstrate your business
  • Your contact information in case students have more questions following the Expo
  • Door prizes that students may win through random drawings

Tables (6′ long) will be provided and electricity, internet access, and a limited number of extension cords will be available.  Businesses should provide their own table cloths and skirting. A light meal will be provided for the representatives working the Expo. 

Register for the event at no later than Friday, February 21. For questions or additional information, contact Jeff Emanuel at the Foundation at [email protected] or 570-784-2522.

Free Website Assessment Offered to Members

Members can get a free assessment of their website thanks to the newest offer in the Chamber’s member-to-member discount program. Carnegie Agency will review the digital foundation of websites. There are two aspects of the assessment for usability. First, the aesthetics of the site based on the user experience and second, how it is viewed by search engines like Google. By updating default settings, businesses can be better positioned to display at the proper search ranking with the correct description for customers and prospects. To get started on the process of having a more effective website, contact Carnegie Agency at [email protected] or 412-983-8191.

This and other member-to-member offers are listed on the Chamber website. There is no additional cost to participate in the program. If you would like to offer a discount or special promotion to fellow Chamber members, send the information to Fred Gaffney at [email protected] or 570-784-2522.

Member News – January 22, 2020

  • Have you made a deliberate effort to ensure succession planning in your business? NEPIRC and NEPA SHRM will present a Talent Succession Planning workshop on Tuesday, March 10 from 8:30-10 a.m. at the Holiday Inn in Wilkes Barre. The workshop will discuss how to ensure leadership continuity in key positions, retain and develop intellectual capital for the future and encourage individual advancement. Benefits of the succession planning include: disaster-proofing your business, identifying qualified future leaders, and long-term business planning. For more info and to register, visit their website.

  • The Town of Bloomsburg is reaching out to Bloomsburg homeowners who need home repairs such as roofing, electrical upgrades, furnace repair and window replacement. The Town is building a waitlist of qualified candidates that meet grant specifications. These grants could cover 100% of the costs if the Town would successfully be awarded.  Please contact Stacy Anderson at SEDA-COG at 1-800-326-9310.
  • Early Bird Sports Expo this weekend: The 32nd annual Early Bird Sports Expo is this Thursday through Sunday (January 23-26th) at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds. Show hours and a list of participating vendors are available at The Broadt family, organizers of the event for the last 13 years, have announced that this will be the last year for the Expo. The Early Bird Sports Expo was started in 1988 by Tom and Mary Lou Austin.

  • The Montour Area Recreation Commission recently recognized a number of organizations and individuals who helped support MARC’s efforts to preserve and enhance public spaces in Montour County, including Hess Fields and the Montour Preserve. Among those recognized was USG as Corporate Supporter of the Year. Dr. Frank Maffei, Chair of Pediatrics for the Geisinger Women and Children’s Institute (right), was recognized as MARC’s Community Health & Wellness Advocate of the Year.

    Bob Stoudt, MARC Director, also talked about a brighter future for MARC and the Preserve thanks to new revenue being generated, in-part, by an increase in the Montour County room tax. The rate was increased from 3% to 5% as of January 1, with the new revenue supporting MARC programming. Stoudt thanked the Montour County Commissioners and Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau for working to create this new revenue stream. Geisinger has also made a five-year commitment to the organization of $25,000 annually.

    Dr. Frank Maffei, Chair of Pediatrics for the Geisinger Women and Children’s Institute (right) was recognized as MARC’s Community Health & Wellness Advocate of the Year. Presenting the recognition was Bob Stoudt (left), MARC Director.


Non-profit Security Grant Program (NSGP) Announced

A federally-funded program managed by Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency

View Fact Sheet

The purpose of the Non-Profit Security Grant Program (NSGP) is to provide funding support for physical security enhancements and other security related activities to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. NSGP seeks to integrate the preparedness activities of nonprofit organizations with broader state and local preparedness efforts.

To be eligible for the NSGP grant, applicants must:
•Be registered/recognized as a 501(c)(3)organization as described in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
•Be a Church, Mosque or Synagogue exempt from501(c)(3)
•Be physically located within the state of Pennsylvania.
•Be at a high risk of a terrorist attack.

Non-profit organizations may only apply for the grant through the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). Once the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2020 Notice of Funding Opportunity is released from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the 2020 application, instructions and deadline along with other necessary information will be posted on PEMA website at

In-person and Web-based application workshops are scheduled in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia from February through March 2020. Please monitor the website to register for the NSGP upcoming events.

PFEW – An Incredible Opportunity for Local Students, and for You!

We hear it all the time – “I can’t find great employees!”

With the improving economy, many of our members are having trouble finding people with the knowledge and skills they need to help their business grow and thrive. One program designed to address this need is Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW). This award-winning summer economics education program has benefited our local students for over 40 years. PFEW immerses rising high school juniors and seniors in the world of business, allowing them to experience firsthand what you face each day. Offered by the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education, PFEW was founded to teach students about the American private enterprise system and help students develop skills that make them the great employees and employers of the future. PFEW annually holds five week-long sessions in July and August on the campuses of Lycoming College and the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, serving nearly 2,100 students and 200 volunteers each year.

PFEW participants form teams of approximately 18 students and one volunteer adult business mentor who become the simulated management team of an under-performing manufacturing company in direct competition with other student companies. Each company must determine, through 12 business quarters, their selling price, marketing costs, production levels and budgets, banking needs, R&D costs and more. In addition, teams must develop a marketing strategy, create a print and media campaign, and design a website. Sound familiar?

The Chamber and Foundation have proudly supported PFEW for many years, and we encourage members and civic organizations to consider sponsorship for our students and, if possible, volunteers for the sessions. Every student attends PFEW on a fully tax-deductible $625 sponsorship (the actual value of which exceeds $1,500) which is provided by a local firm, foundation, civic organization, or individual. PFEW is an approved Educational Improvement Organization through the PA Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. Sponsorship donors are prominently recognized in several publications circulated throughout the state, and each student wears the name of their sponsor on their photo ID badge throughout the week. Students write their sponsors after graduation to report on what they have learned.

If you would like to learn more about either award-winning program and how you can get involved, please visit the Foundation’s website,, or contact Scott Lee, vice president of marketing & development for the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education at (814) 833-9576 ext. 8, or [email protected].

Picture Caption: Company Advisor Joanie Norelli (far right), customer manager small format for PepsiCo, takes a break on the quad with her team, Solaris, a power tool company, on a sunny Wednesday.