ChamberChoice to Offer Pair of Webinars on Benefits-Related Issues in November and December

ChamberChoice will offer a pair of webinars about two separate topics related to workplace benefits administration in November and December. Both webinars are available free-of-charge to all Chamber members as a benefit of membership through the Chamber’s affinity programs through ChamberChoice

The schedule and topics of the webinars are listed below. Please visit the JRG Advisors website for more information or to register for one or both.

Thursday, Nov. 9, 10 a.m. – Add Value with Life and Disability Insurance

Thursday, Dec. 14, 10 a.m. – Avoid the Pitfalls of Plan Administration

State Budget Impasse Ends as State Legislature Passes, Governor Signs Funding Bills

The four-month impasse between when spending bills for the 2018 fiscal year state budget were passed and funding mechanisms were agreed to ended earlier this week as the Pennsylvania state legislature passed a series of bills that were then signed by Governor Tom Wolf that will fund the necessary spending. The revenue package has three main components:

– Authorizes additional gambling, including Internet-based games and more casinos. 
– Authorizes borrowing up to $1.5 billion from the state’s tobacco settlement, to be paid back annually over the next 20 years.
– A series of one-time fund transfers totaling about $500 million into the state’s general fund. 

For more details, read this summary from the Harrisburg Patriot-News or this summary from the PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Leadership Central Penn Heads to a Special Place to Learn About Special Services and Leadership Development

Members of the LCP class listen to a presentation during October’s class meeting.

In Millville in northern Columbia County, you’ll find Camp Victory where the signs read a “A Special Place for Special Kids.” Tucked away in the countryside outside of Bloomsburg, among the trees clinging to summer green, refusing to give way to fall colors, is a truly amazing venue for learning about organizations trying to make a positive impact on those in need. Not only is Camp Victory one of those organizations, but, as a part of the 2017-18 Leadership Central Penn class’ monthly meeting two weeks ago on Oct. 19, it also hosted 10 others that are making Columbia and Montour counties a better place for everyone. Leadership Central Penn is sponsored by Bloomsburg UniversityKawneerSEKISUI SPI and USG

This year’s LCP Human Services day included presenters from The Columbia County Coalition for Human Services, The Women’s Center, AGAPE, Caring Communities, Columbia Child Development Program – Head Start, Community Strategies Group (formerly Columbia County Housing & Development Authority), Family Center, United Way of Columbia and Montour County, Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital and Danville Child Development Center’s Early Intervention Services. 

The morning presenters faced a monumental task of sharing all the good work their organizations do in 15 minutes presentations. After 10 presentations and two breaks, 21 professionals in the LCP program were emotionally and mentally drained. They learned about all the life changing work happening, in many cases unseen, with few resources and even fewer dollars, throughout the area to support people that need a helping hand.

To find out more about these organizations and how you can help please contact the Columbia County Human Services Coalition, the Montour County Human Services Coalition or the United Way of Columbia and Montour County.

Tina Welch from Welch Performance Consulting gives a presentation during the afternoon session.

The group then worked during the afternoon with Tina Welch, founder of Welch Performance Consulting (WPC), to focus on leadership development. The group discussed different philosophies on leadership and how to shape their own leadership skills and philosophy. It also used a personality assessment instrument to understand key aspects of communication, a critical leadership competency, by first understanding their own communication tendencies, how to identify the personality styles of others they work with and lead, and then how to modify their communication to meet the needs of others. The class was separated into their project teams where they were able to discuss the personality makeup of the team. They identified strengths and gaps in the team and will now go into their community service projects with a team strategy that will help accelerate their success.

Chamber Provides Input on Family Sustaining Jobs to Governor’s Task Force

A task force comprised of representatives of business, labor, education, and Governor Wolf’s cabinet are holding a series of panel discussions around the state to gather input on how to support and grow Pennsylvania’s middle class through family sustaining jobs. Following the conclusion of the meetings, the Middle Class Task Force will present recommendations to the governor later this year. Chamber President Fred Gaffney participated in one of the meetings held Monday, Oct. 30 in Pittston.

Issues discussed at the meeting echoed those voiced by local members. Transportation and basic skills training are challenges for individuals trying to get from low to middle income. Encouraging skilled trades is needed to meet the needs of manufacturing. Promoting opportunities in education and nursing statewide to students can help bridge the gap between supply and demand.  WBRE/WYOU was on hand to report on the discussion.

“As there are clear commonalities across the state, I am hopeful that recommendations to the Governor will result in the realignment of resources to address at least some of these issues,” said Gaffney. “There are plenty of good jobs available in our area. We look forward to greater collaborations with regional and statewide partners to help connect people with these opportunities.”

The co-chairs for the task force are: Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry President Gene Barr, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Assistant Vice Chancellor Dr. Sue Mukherjee and Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association Chairperson Susie Snelick. Other members include: PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin, PA Dept. of Labor and Industry Acting Secretary Jerry Oleksiak, and PA Dept. of Education Secretary Pedro Rivera.

Member News – November 1, 2017

Member News

  • The League of Voters, Republican and Democratic parties of Montour County will sponsor a Meet the Candidates night tonight, Nov. 1, at 6 p.m. at the Pine Barn Inn ballroom for candidates running for Montour County treasurer. The event is free and open to the public and food will be provided. A debate will be held starting at 7:15 p.m. 


  • LIFE Geisinger will hold an open house to celebrate 20 years of LIFE services in Pennsylvania tomorrow, Nov. 2, from 3-6 p.m. at its Kulpmont center, located at 1100 Spruce St., Kulpmont. LIFE stands for Living Independently For Elders, and it is the Pennsylvania version of PACE, a national program administered by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services that aims to help seniors stay in their homes while still receiving the medical care they require. Attendees at Thursday’s open house can learn about the program, eligibility guidelines and more. RSVP to Wendy Rishel by email or call 570-373-2100. 


  • The Bucknell Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will hold a pair of training sessions for those interested in learning Quickbooks. The first session, titled Basic Quickbooks, will be on tomorrow, Nov. 2, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the DeWitt Building third floor, 416 Market. St., Lewisburg, and is intended for beginners or those new to Quickbooks. The second session, titled Intermediate Quickbooks, will be on Friday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the same location. The cost is $75 per class. For more information or to register, visit online or call Shelley at 570-577-1249. Veterans are welcome to attend at no charge. 


  • The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) is holding a three-part training series on supply chain strategy. All sessions in the series are free. The second and third parts of the series will be held tomorrow, Nov. 2 and Wednesday, Dec. 6, respectively. The Nov. 2 session will be held at the TekRidge Center, 50 Alberigi Dr., Jessup, and the Dec. 6 session will be held at the NEPIRC Training Center, 75 Young St., Wilkes-Barre. Dates, times and titles of each remaining session along with links to more information and to register, are below.
    Nov. 2, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Total Cost of Ownership
    Dec. 6, 8:30 a.m. – noon – Competition is no Longer Between Companies – it is Between Supply Chains


  • The Ziegler College of Business at Bloomsburg University will host entrepreneur Kristopher B. Jones for a talk on Thursday, Nov. 2, at 11 a.m. in Gross Auditorium, Carver Hall. It is free and open to the public. Jones, who resides in Shavertown near Wilkes-Barre, has founded several successful businesses based in northeastern PA, including Pepperjam, which he sold to eBay in 2009. For over 20 years, Jones has been in pursuit of developing specific answers to the question – why do only 10% of entrepreneurs succeed? In this talk, Jones will present real world tips and strategies, while making a case that a primary function of entrepreneurship is about community impact and inspiring tomorrow’s entrepreneurial leaders. 


  • In honor of Veterans Day, Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital will hold a dinner celebration for veterans on Thursday, Nov. 9 at the GBH dining room in which it will provide a complimentary meal for all veterans and one guest each. There will be four seatings at 3, 4, 5 and 6 p.m. All veterans and a guest are invited as Geisinger celebrates your service to the United States. Reservations are required by Nov. 3, as seating is limited. Call 570-387-2145 to reserve your seat. The buffet dinner includes carved roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn, green beans, beverages and cake and ice cream.


  • Members Choice Financial Credit Union won the Pink Whisk Award at a recent breast cancer awareness and fundraising event.

    (L-R) Victor Tsui, COO; Karen Rowe, MSR; Jim Barbarich, CEO

    Cookin’ Men was held on Oct. 19 at Rusty Rail Brewing Co. in Mifflinburg. This annual event brings the community together for an evening of fun and good food while raising funds for the Thyra M. Humphreys Center for Breast Health at Evangelical Community Hospital. The MCFCU team raised $3,100 and were declared the “Top Chef” winner of the event. MCFCU thanks all that donated to the effort. 


  • Innotek Computer Consulting will host its annual Technology and Security Expo on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Sand Springs Country Club, 10 Clubhouse Dr., Drums. This annual event, billed as “Northeast Pennsylvania’s biggest technology and security expo,” brings together IT managers, executives and business owners to discuss the impact of technology and security on business. There is no cost to attend. For more information or to register, visit the event page on Innotek’s website, or the Facebook event page.


  • The Bucknell Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will hold the last portion of its HR 20/20 workshop series on Wednesday, Nov. 8 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at its DeWitt Building location in downtown Lewisburg. This session will focus on conflict management and will feature Tina Welch, from Welch Performance Consulting. The cost to attend is $40. Visit online to register or for more information, or call Shelley at 570-577-1249. 


  • Along with the Bloomsburg University Regional STEM Education Center, the Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber will co-sponsor the Future Careers Expo on Thursday, Nov. 9, from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Kehr Union Ballroom on the BU campus. The annual event allows attendees to explore career in science, technology, engineering and math and it open to all students in grades 7-12, as well as their parents. Participants can receive a BU application fee waiver just for attends, and there will also be door prizes for those that sign up. For more information and to register, visit here


  • State Rep. Dave Millard will help dedicated State Route 93 as Stuart Tank Memorial Highway, with a ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 1 p.m. at the Atomic Academy Brazilian Jiu Jitsu lot, located at 1901 Orange St., Berwick. 


  • State Rep. Dave Millard will host his third annual Veterans Expo on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. – noon at Central Columbia High School, located at 4777 Old Berwick Rd., Bloomsburg. Exhibitors with veteran-related information will be available. 


  • The Bloomsburg Municipal Airport, which is operated by the Bloomsburg Municipal Authority, will hold a Fly-In/Drive-In/Walk-In Breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 8 a.m. – noon at its location at 301 Airport Rd., Bloomsburg. The event is free and open to the public, however donations are suggested. It will feature both pumpkin and plain pancakes, eggs, sausage, ham and more.