“The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce has been a valuable partner with SEDA-COG, helping to make key connections between businesses and SEDA-COG’s services to advance the economic health of the region. From networking opportunities, training partnerships, workshop marketing, to referrals, the Chamber has been a wonderful resource for the business community and SEDA-COG.”
– Liz Herman, Communications Manager, SEDA-COG
For 60 years, SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) has partnered with central Pennsylvania’s governments, businesses, and communities to boost the region’s economy and address issues with a regional approach.
SEDA-COG’s origins date back to 1957, when community leaders from Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties began meeting to help address common concerns of central Pennsylvania. These concerns evolved around inadequate transportation; deficiency in the availability of health care services; under-employment and unemployment conditions; and out-migration of residents to other areas with better employment potential. Although it was just a forum for discussion purposes, the original five counties formally organized and established the Susquehanna Economic Development Association (SEDA), a 501(c)(3). Ten years later, as a result of federal Appalachian Regional Commission designating SEDA a Local Development District (LDD), a small professional staff was hired and, in 1968, Centre, Clinton, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, and Perry counties joined the other five, which is SEDA-COG’s current configuration.
SEDA-COG was established in 1972 as a county council of governments, which became the policy, planning, and implementation arm for the agency. SEDA-COG was organized under Pennsylvania’s Intergovernmental Cooperation Act. Its county-collaborative dominated regional approach remains its hallmark – a distinction that largely sets the organization apart from those whose concerns and obligations requires a much narrower program focus.
Today, SEDA-COG’s services fall into three broad categories: economic development, community development, and direct municipal and county support. It helps the region’s counties and local communities meet needs in areas such as business and manufacturing services, housing, community revitalization, water systems and other infrastructure, and energy conservation/savings. It provides supplemental financing to assist new and expanding businesses. The SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority (JRA) owns nearly 200 miles of rail line, preserving transportation service vital to key employers in the region. SEA-COG has established programs that help families rehabilitate or weatherize their homes, and its Natural Gas Cooperative formed in June 2016 helps businesses and neighborhoods gain better access Pennsylvania’s natural gas.
SEDA-COG has received Innovation Awards from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation. In 2016, the awarded areas include transforming a blighted site into new elderly housing; helping to increase access to natural gas utility service; and promoting the region’s visibility to increase foreign direct investment and job creation. In 2017, awarded areas were for economic development in a coal-impacted region and flood mitigation and resiliency planning.
Member spotlights are chosen via a random drawing from members that submit their business cards at a Business After Hours event. The next Business After Hours is scheduled for Sept. 20 at Kawneer, 500 East 12th St., Bloomsburg.