Two Chamber Members Receive Grants in Latest Round of Williams Community Grant Program

The latest recipients of Williams‘ Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant program were recently announced, and in this round, the seventh overall, 41 organizations across 10 Pennsylvania counties will receive a total of $264,300 in funding.

Two cycles of Atlantic Sunrise grant awards are announced each year – spring and fall. This cycle’s grant dollars were dispersed in the following categories: emergency response ($107,000), education ($64,500) and recreation or community enhancement projects ($92,800). All grant awards are given to organizations in counties in which the pipeline project crosses. 

Since the program’s inception in 2015, Williams has granted more than $2.2 million to 309 organizations in Pennsylvania.

This round of grant recipients included Chamber members the Columbia-Montour Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which received $10K for updates to its Trading Post store, and $4K to WVIA Public Media to support educational programs. 

Other Chamber members that have previously received grants through the Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant programs include: Benton Rodeo AssociationBloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Buckhorn Volunteer Fire Co.Camp VictoryColumbia County Traveling LibraryColumbia-Montour Area Vocational Technical School., Foundation of the Columbia Montour ChamberHemlock Township and the Pennsylvania College of Technology Foundation. 

For complete lists of previous grant recipients, visit one of the links below.

1st round grants (spring 2015)
2nd round grants (fall 2015)
3rd round grants (spring 2016)
4th round grants (fall 2016)
5th round grants (spring 2017)
6th round grants (fall 2018)

The deadline for the fall applications is Sept. 1. Please visit the Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant program page to learn more about the application process, eligibility guidelines, and how organizations are utilizing grant funds to improve their local communities.

Department of Community & Economic Development Requests Participation in Community Needs Survey

The Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) is requesting citizens take a short community needs survey to assist in its work. This community needs survey will provide another avenue for the citizens of Pennsylvania to contribute their opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of their community. DCED will use the survey results to help identify funding priorities for six federal Housing & Urban Development programs: CDBG, HOME, ESG, NSP, HOPWA, and HTF. It will also assist in the future development of programs at the state level. This survey will also assist DCED in targeting and leveraging resources to address the needs for stronger and vibrant communities. Participation is anonymous, and DCED will place a copy of the aggregated results on its website

This survey will close at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 31, 2018. Any questions on the survey or how to complete it may be sent via email or by contacting Megan Snyder, Center for Compliance, Monitoring, and Training at 717-720-7404.

Bloomsburg Town/Gown Relations Committee Announces Block Party Weekend Parking Lot and On-Campus Residence Hall Visitation Restrictions

From Bloomsburg University and Town of Bloomsburg

Bloomsburg University and the Town of Bloomsburg, Town/Gown Relations Committee, will again implement initiatives to increase security related to the annual spring event known as “Block Party.” Those initiatives are:

– Parking Restrictions – Bloomsburg University will temporarily close the Lightstreet Road Parking Lot and the ATM Parking Lot to all vehicles and temporarily restrict access to the First Street (Green) Parking Lot to permit-holders only from 12:00 p.m. Friday, April 20, 2018, through 12:00 p.m. Sunday, April 22, 2018.

– Residence Hall Visitation Restrictions – Bloomsburg University will temporarily restrict overnight guests in the residence halls to one visitor per student for the evenings of Friday, April 20, Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, 2018. A professional security company firm will assist in managing guest registrations and enhance front door security.

The Town/Gown Relations Committee also asks all participants to keep in mind:

– Neither the Town of Bloomsburg nor Bloomsburg University endorse the Block Party Event, and a large police contingency of both uniformed and plainclothes officers will be present.

– Parking Enforcement officers will be on duty, strictly enforcing all parking regulations.

– Town and University Police both have a “zero tolerance” policy for all violations during Block Party weekend. Parents and Bloomsburg University will be notified of all arrests, and university students will be subject to discipline for violations under BU’s Code of Conduct.

– The Town of Bloomsburg requires permits for “social gatherings” of 150 or more individuals. Students are reminded that they can be held responsible for ordinance and crimes code violations that occur on property they lease or control.

– The Town of Bloomsburg prohibits open containers of alcohol in public rights-of-way.

– Hosts are responsible for what takes place on the property and risk fines and university sanctions for any violations. Control how many individuals are permitted at your housing unit. If a DJ is present, anticipate large numbers of people to be attracted to your location.

– Bloomsburg University students and visitors to town are reminded that your actions and decisions can affect your safety, your future, and the safety of others around you.

The Town/Gown Relations Committee is a joint body comprised of representatives from the Town of Bloomsburg and Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Bloomsburg University and the Town of Bloomsburg share concerns about recent Block Parties including safety, the large number of attendees, the number of out-of-town individuals participating in the event, and the reflection it has on both the university and the community. The Committee will continue to work together to develop new approaches.

Workforce Needs the Leading Issue for Members

From main street retail shops to non-profit organizations to the area’s largest manufacturers, finding skilled employees is a common need among employers. Within the last two weeks, the Chamber had meetings with a group of downtown Berwick businesses as well as one of the area’s largest manufacturing facilities, who all shared this issue. The Chamber and its Foundation are spending more resources than ever helping to build the workforce for the future while meeting the current needs of members so they can be successful and grow.

The Chamber Foundation has traditionally focused the majority of its attention supporting programs which develop good work ethics in K-12 youth. Ongoing programs include The Leader in Me, School Counts, and Student in the Work. For more information about these programs, visit the Foundation website.

The Foundation is also working with regional partners to help young people, and their parents, understand career opportunities that exist in our area. Thanks to support from the Arconic Foundation (Kawneer) and Williams, a website is being developed that will provide information about local career options in a wide variety of fields, to include education requirements and wage levels. Members will be able to post opportunities for job shadowing, facility tours, internships, career day speakers, etc. This website is being developed now to be ready for the start of the 2018-19 school year.

To assist members with their current workforce needs, the Chamber is working to leverage the substantial network of education providers in the region to provide employee testing and training in filling skills gaps, and within the next few weeks, we hope to be able to make an official announcement about a big new member benefit in this area that we’ve been working on for the last several months.

Additionally, a meeting with local employers and education providers is being organized to identify specific educational needs and opportunities. If you are interested in being a part of this conversation, or in learning more, please contact Fred Gaffney at the Chamber at 570-784-2522 or email.

Wolf Administration’s Cabinet in Your Community Event Slated for Williamsport

Last month, five members of Governor Tom Wolf’s cabinet came to Bloomsburg to participate in one of the Governor’s “Cabinet in Your Community” events, a series of meetings with local community members and leaders and various members of Gov. Wolf’s cabinet. 

Another Cabinet in Your Community event is scheduled for later this month nearby, on Monday, April 30 at 1:30 p.m. at the Mary Welch Theater at Lycoming College in Williamsport. Cabinet members scheduled to appear include Jessica Altman, acting Insurance Commissioner; Dennis Davin, Secretary of Community and Economic Development; Cindy Dunn, Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources; Dr. Rachel Levin, Physician General and Acting Secretary of Health; Russell Redding, Secretary of Agriculture; and Pedro Rivera, Secretary of Education. 

Those interested in attending should RSVP by email or call 570-614-2090 by April 24. Due to limited seating, an RSVP is required to attend.