U.S. Chamber Calls for Ending $300 Weekly Supplemental Unemployment Benefits

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the April jobs report, which highlighted a growing shortage of available workers, and an unexpected increase in the employment rate, amid other findings.

In response to the jobs report, U.S. Chamber executive vice president and chief policy officer Neil Bradley released the following statement calling for an end to the $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefits to address these labor shortages:

“The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market. We need a comprehensive approach to dealing with our workforce issues and the very real threat unfilled positions poses to our economic recovery from the pandemic. One step policymakers should take now is ending the $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit.  Based on the Chamber’s analysis, the $300 benefit results in approximately one in four recipients taking home more in unemployment than they earned working.”

Nine states have announced that they will end participation in the federal unemployment bonus program by the end of June.

Active Shooter Preparedness Webinar

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Region 3 (DC, DE, MD, PA, VA, WV) invites you to join a two-hour security webinar to enhance awareness of and response to an active shooter event. The webinar will be held on Thursday, May 20th from 9-11 am.  Preparing employees for a potential active shooter incident is an integral component of an organization’s incident response planning. Because active shooter incidents are unpredictable and evolve quickly, preparing for and knowing what to do in an active shooter situation can be the difference between life and death. Every second counts.

THIS IS NOT A TACTICAL TRAINING COURSE

Objectives:
-Discuss the elements of active shooter incident response planning with guidance from expert instructors.
-Describe common behaviors, conditions, and situations associated with active shooter events.
-Discuss how to recognize potential workplace violence indicators.
-Provide information about best practices, communications protocols, and resources that will assist stakeholders to develop or enhance their emergency planning, preparedness, and response to active shooter incidents.

Understanding Liability and Risk Exposure:
The webinar focuses on providing awareness training that supports the development of emergency action planning capabilities. These capabilities may better position organizations in receiving important legal liability protections from the DHS Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act of 2002. To learn more about the
SAFETY Act and the types of products, services, and layered security programs that have received protections, visit
www.safetyact.gov.

Who Should Participate?
Private and public organizations
Corporate and facility security professionals
Supervisory first responders
Human resource managers
Community response officials
Health organizations
Faith-based leaders
School administrators and security officers
Homeland security representatives

DHS Resources REGISTRATION:
Products and information can be requested by contacting the Active Shooter Preparedness team at [email protected].

For more information and resources on Active Shooter Preparedness visit: cisa.gov/active-shooter-preparedness.

Note: An email with information to connect to the webinar will be sent the day prior to the event.

Registration for this event is free.
Register here.  Registration is limited to 300 participants and will close as soon as it reaches capacity or no later than May 19, 2021 at noon.

Member News- May 5, 2021

SEDA-COG Announces New Director of Community Development

SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) is pleased to announce that Tyler Dombroski, a 7.5-year staffer, is the new director of its Community Development program.

As senior program analyst in that program, he wrote and administered many Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) grants and projects, and most notably, has managed the $17 million Town of Bloomsburg Flood Mitigation Expansion project. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he has led efforts to create the CDBG‐CV Economic Development program template utilized regionwide.

Dombroski’s major goals as director this year include adapting to the region’s grant administration needs from major federal funding investments including CARES, American Rescue Plan, and the proposed American Jobs Plan; positively contributing to the region’s economic recovery; and continuing to provide strong grant administration services to SEDA-COG’s client communities. 

He also aims to continue the development of his team.

“Our department is a strong team that has faced significant adversity over the last year. I hope to continue our positive growth,” Dombroski said.

He appreciates the people, the beauty, and the culture of the region.

“Our region is comprised of salt-of-the-earth people, which is important to me. My family and friends live here and being close to them is also important to me. I think our region has a lot of natural beauty and history. I am also a big Penn State football fan, so I have to stay close to my alma mater,” Dombroski said.

SEDA-COG Executive Director Kim Wheeler said Dombroski has the leadership qualities, experience, and skills to lead the team.

“He shows a great deal of commitment and visionary outlook which will help to continue the department and agency adapt to the ever-changing work environment with the pandemic. We are very excited as Tyler has started his transition into the director role today, May 3. We look forward to the continued excellent work Tyler and his team provide to the region,” Wheeler said.

Dombroski has been mayor of Washingtonville since 2014 and was a councilman for two years prior. He has served on the Montour Area Recreation Commission since 2013, currently as chairman. He has been chairman of the Montour County Agricultural Land Preservation Board since 2016. He is vice chairman of the Washingtonville Municipal Authority and has been on the board since 2014. He serves on the boards of the Central Susquehanna Opportunities (since 2018) and the Jane E. DeLong Memorial Hall Association (since 2013).

He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education Social Studies in 2011, and his Master of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development in 2014, both from Penn State.

Teri Provost had been the interim director of the program for over a year, in addition to being director of the Flood Resiliency and Housing Rehabilitation programs.

Wheeler said Provost did an excellent job providing oversight to three departments.

“We thank Teri for her oversight and commitment to not only the Community Development department but the agency over the last year-plus. Her continued hard work and dedication have helped to keep the department running smoothly. We appreciate her excellence,” Wheeler said.

SEDA-COG’s Community Development program administers 14 CDBG contracts for 28 communities. Over 35 years, the program has secured $120 billion for over 1,000 projects with its 11 dedicated staff.

As a community and economic development agency, SEDA-COG enhances the quality of life and economic advantage for residents and businesses in 11 central Pennsylvania counties through its vital partnerships and initiatives. SEDA-COG also is an advocate for the interests of its communities at the state and federal levels. For more information, visit www.seda-cog.org.


Community Giving Foundation: Danville Announces Holiday Happenings Gala

The recipient(s) of the Robert N. Pursel Award for Community Service will be honored at the 25th Annual Holiday Happenings Gala on Saturday, November 6, 2021, in the Ballroom of the Pine Barn Inn. The gathering will start at 6:00 pm.

The Holiday Happenings event will be a fun, festive evening to reconnect with your neighbors and help showcase the community service-oriented citizens we are fortunate to live with in our home town. The namesake of the Pursel Award was a shining example of duty and philanthropy, both in the military and in his involvement with many local organizations. He was the first of 24 recipients we have been privileged to honor through the years. To nominate a deserving person, couple, or organization for the Pursel Award, access the nomination form at csgiving.org/holiday-happenings.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Neighbors Helping Neighbors endowment fund of the Community Giving Foundation: Danville. This unrestricted fund supports unmet needs in the Danville community by granting to local nonprofit organizations. Save the date for an evening of celebration, socialization, and giving to benefit your community. Sponsorships and ticket information will be available at csgiving.org/holiday-happenings in the coming months.

Community Giving Foundation: Danville is an affiliate of the Community Giving Foundation, which manages nearly 300 charitable funds and makes grant investments throughout the region to improve the quality of life in the Central Susquehanna area. For more information, visit csgiving.org or call the Foundation at 570-752-3930.


SHRMA to Offer “What’s New in Unemployment Compensation!”

It’s hard to believe but this is the final program for the 2020/2021 Programming Series through SHRMA.  Despite what we all faced during this pandemic, SHRMA was still able to successfully bring meaningful programming to its membership.   The Program Committee will begin developing the 2021/2022 programming series and will determine if we remain virtual, in person or a hybrid model. 

For the May18th virtual program, we welcome Nancy Smithbauer, UC Workforce Development Representative from PA Department of Labor & Industry.  Nancy will be presenting “What’s New in Unemployment Compensation!” 

Are you wondering what is happening in the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation?  Getting questions from your workers concerning benefits and programs available?  Wondering why inquiries take so long to resolve and what UC is doing?  This presentation can help!  “What’s New” (in UC) presentation covers a bit of the past practices, the current UC situation and the initiatives being processed as we look forward to the future.  Presented by a nearly 20 year veteran in UC, you will get the information you need to better assist your workers and understand the system for considerations when faced with a reduction in your workforce.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understanding how the pandemic affected UC
  • a description of the 8 programs currently operating under the UC umbrella
  • the Benefit Modernization Project
  • the changing environment and processes of Unemployment Compensation.

Nancy Smithbauer, Workforce Development Representative for Unemployment Compensation has been employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry for 19 years, having been a Claims Examiner for nearly 10 of those years.

Nancy helps employers and claimants understand the Unemployment Compensation Laws and assists with navigating the process to ensure the proper application of the program. She is a member of the Rapid Response Coordination Services Team that provides information and assistance to workers in the event of a lay off or closure.

Nancy is also a “trouble shooter” for individuals and employers who are in need of assistance with their UC Claim.  Her service area spans across 15 counties. 

This session has been submitted for recertification credits with HRCI and SHRM.

The presentation slides will be available on our SHRMA website after the session concludes.

***In 2021, NON-SHRMA members will be charged a $15 per program fee for virtual programs.***

To register for the May 2021 SHRMA program, please click on the link. Login information for a Zoom session will be sent to you after registration is completed.  

Mitigation Orders to Lift on Memorial Day with Masking Remaining 

The Wolf administration, in coordination with the COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force, announced that mitigation orders except masking will be lifted on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31 at 12:01 AM.  

This change means that on May 31st, restaurants, bars, stores, salons, gyms, theaters, event venues, nightclubs, and other businesses can open at 100% capacity, and crowd-size limits will be lifted on all indoor and outdoor gatherings.

The current order requiring Pennsylvanians to wear masks will be lifted when 70% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated. Face coverings are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home. In accordance with the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, fully vaccinated Pennsylvanians are not required to wear a mask during certain activities.   

Requirements such as testing and reporting ​new cases will remain in place for hospitals and long-term care facilities. Maintaining requirements for hospitals and long-term care facilities wi​ll allow Pennsylvania to continue to closely monitor COVID-19 spread while lifting other restrictions. 

The Department of Health recommends that Pennsylvanians refer to CDC guidance and recommendations regarding ongoing COVID-19 safety measures and procedures. 

These updates will not prevent municipalities and school districts from ​continuing and implementing stricter mitigation efforts.  

The governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic remains in place.  

All Pennsylvanians ages 16 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. The provider map is available on the Department of Health’s website. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.  

Bloomsburg Mayoral Candidates Discuss Business Issues at Forum

The two registered candidates for Bloomsburg Mayor shared their views on supporting business in the Town, flood protection, the relationship with Bloomsburg University, and other issues at a public forum held April 28th at Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble. Incumbent Mayor Bill Kreisher and Council member Justin Hummel are both registered on the Democratic ticket for the May 18th primary election. The forum was co-sponsored by The Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Bloomsburg Inc (DBI).

Both candidates identified the need to generate additional revenue for Town operations. Kreisher cited flood protection as important to preserving property values and encouraging more people to live in the Town, while Hummel indicated that flood protection for the West end is not cost-effective. Instead, the Town should work to attract more events which would generate revenue from the amusement tax. He also noted that 68% of the property tax payers in Town pay less than $1,000 a year to Bloomsburg.

When asked about the priority issues for Bloomsburg, Kreisher cited a number of priorities outlined in the Blueprint for Bloomsburg comprehensive plan adopted in 2009 including updating zoning to encourage business growth, improving relations with the University, and being more visitor friendly. Hummel called for a new comprehensive vision that includes welcoming and encouraging more events and activities.

To encourage transparency and stakeholder engagement as well as municipalities up to date related to ordinances, zoning, and infrastructure, the Chamber and DBI developed a candidate pledge (link to attached) for all Council candidates. Kreisher has signed the pledge. While Hummel stated that while he supports the items within the pledge and feels the Town is already doing them he’s “not into signing arbitrary agreements.”

The audio recording of the forum is available at columbiamontourchamber.com/audio-video/.