Chamber Seeking Input of Impacts of Tariffs

President Donald Trump held a rally Aug. 2 in Wilkes-Barre, where he touted his “America First” trade policy that has included the imposition of tariffs on a variety of goods from countries with which the United States has traditionally enjoyed a strong trade partnership, including Canada and Mexico.   These tariffs have prompted approximately $75 billion worth of retaliatory tariffs on American products – increasing costs on American families, workers, consumers and job creators. The Chamber is seeking input from members on positive and negative impacts of these tariffs on businesses in our area.

The administration is reportedly considering hundreds of billions of dollars in additional tariffs – including on autos and auto parts – which many business leaders and economists are saying will invite more retaliation against American businesses.  The U.S. Chamber is leading an effort to educate the business community and the general public about the negative economic impact of these tariffs through a comprehensive website,, which highlights the economic losses that each state could endure through the imposition of these tariffs.

The data on the website shows that this emerging trade war is threatening to undo the good that was achieved through last year’s Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, along with regulatory reforms that have been implemented since the start of the Trump administration.   Retaliatory tariffs imposed by other countries on U.S. exports will make American-made goods more expensive, resulting in lost sales and potentially 1.6 million lost jobs. In Pennsylvania, $1.7 billion worth of exports are at risk, including coffee, motorcycles, and steel; along with 1,658,100 jobs in the Commonwealth that are supported by global trade.

Members are invited to provide information on any impacts of tariffs to Chamber President Fred Gaffney at 570-784-2522 or email. Information can be kept anonymous at member request.

Merger of Berwick Ambulance Association and Geisinger Finalized

On Monday, Aug. 6, Geisinger welcomed 57 employees of the Berwick Area Ambulance Association (BAAA) into the Geisinger family. The merger with Geisinger’s West Shore Advanced Life Support Services, Inc., which includes Danville Ambulance Service and Holy Spirit EMS–a Geisinger affiliate, was announced in February and approved by the Attorney General in the spring. A luncheon was held at Rolling Pines to celebrate the completion of the merger.

Under the agreement, Berwick Area Ambulance will continue its current mission and services. Operations in Berwick and the areas served by its satellite stations will continue unchanged, and the team will continue its active relationships and linkages with regional hospitals, nursing homes, EMS, police, fire and all others involved in the healthcare and protection of the community. Geisinger will provide medical direction.

The association operates eight ambulances, three wheelchair vans, one utility vehicle and one special event trailer. Services offered include emergency medical services, non-emergency medical services, Advanced Life Support (ALS), Basic Life Support (BLS), routine medical transportation and EMS billing services.

Member News – August 8, 2018

Member News

  • Sykes Enterprises, located at 1361 Columbia Blvd. (Rt. 11) in Bloomsburg, is hosting its annual free Back to School Giveaway all day today, Aug. 8. More information is available on its Facebook event page


  • North Branch Group – Thrivent Financial, after holding a ribbon cutting and open house for Chamber members last week, will hold a public open house tomorrow, Aug. 9, from 2-6 p.m. at their office at 417 West Main St., Bloomsburg. There will be complimentary food and drinks for all that stop in, which is intended for people to meet the Thrivent team and learn about how their products may be able to assist them both as individuals and/or businesses. No products will be sold at the event, however. More information is available on its Facebook event page


  • There are currently a few opportunities for local businesses to connect with students at Bucknell University through the Bucknell SBDC, and possibly receive free consulting services in a variety of areas.- Students in a Markets, Innovation and Design 300 class will make websites free of charge for local businesses and organizations. If interested, please submit this application by Aug. 29.

    – Students in a 400-level computer science design course will work with local organizations to identify and specify a solution to a real-world, software-related problem in your business and deliver a working prototype by the end of the academic year, which will provide students with a realistic design experience where they can apply their software engineering knowledge. If interested, please submit an application by Aug. 15. Here are a few examples of previous projects.

    – The Electrical and Computer Engineering department is looking for electrical and computer engineering projects that include an element of both hardware and software development, through which students will learn design practices and gain experience in engineering design and project management. Projects at various technical stages are welcome, including proof-of-concept, prototype and deployment ready. To propose a project, contact Prof. Stu Thompson via email by Aug. 27.

    – Finally, the Freeman College of Management is seeking local businesses to work with management students and faculty on projects of mutual interest. Projects may range from extensive interaction with students throughout a 14-week project to as simple as providing data, or may develop into a collaboration with a faculty member with analysis expertise. Topics may involve operations management, supply chain, or data-driven projects in any area of your business such as pricing, human resources, finance and more. If interested in exploring a way to collaborate in this broad and open-ended area, contact Missy Gutkowski via email


  • Wild For Salmon will host its annual Fishtival on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at its retail location at 521 Montour Blvd. (Rt. 11), Bloomsburg. This annual celebration of the return of the fishermen after another successful fishing season will feature samplings as well as several other vendors, including Turkey Hill Brewing


  • The ninth annual AGAPE Palooza will take place in Bloomsburg Town Park, located at Catherine St. and Fort McLure Blvd., from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. also on Saturday, Aug. 25. This event, which is organized by AGAPE, Love From Above To Our Community will feature over 100 craft and small business vendors as well as nonprofits and lots of “fair food” vendors, free music and family activities, including pony rides, a petting zoo and face painting. There is free admission, free parking and a free shuttle from Bloomsburg High School, which will also shuttle attendees to and from ArtFest. 


  • The Exchange will hold the 11th annual ArtFest from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Aug. 25 in downtown Bloomsburg, surround the fountain on Bloomsburg’s Square. It will showcase more than 35 regional artists’ original work and be accompanied by live music, local food and activities for the whole family. For additional information, visit the Facebook event page


  • Community Options, Inc., a provider of residential and employment support to people with disabilities, is seeking individuals interested in serving on a new business advisory committee for Community Options’ Bloomsburg office. Community Options’ mission is to promote the integration of persons with disabilities within the communities in which they reside, enabling them to become viable and contributing neighbors, employees and citizens of the community. The purpose of this committee is to discuss and implement ways to help the organization better integrate into the community and bridge the gap between the community and the individuals it serves. If you may be interested in serving on this committee, or for questions, contact associate executive director David McConaghy at 570-638-6007 or email. The next committee meeting is scheduled for Aug. 30 at noon at Community Options’ Bloomsburg office, located at 1117 Old Berwick Rd.


  • In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Camp Victory will hold a special free family fun day for the community on Sunday, Sept. 9, from 12-3 p.m. Its swimming pool, climbing wall and zip line will be open and there will be hot dogs, ice cream, drinks, an arts and crafts project, a moon bounce, wagon rides and live music. For more information, visit the Facebook event page


  • The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation will hold a luncheon on Tuesday, Sept. 11, from 12-1:30 p.m. at Monty’s on the Bloomsburg University campus to celebrate the grants made to community organizations through the Bloomsburg Area Community Foundation. Local nonprofit organizations will be presented with the 2018 grant awards. There is no cost to attend, but an RSVP is requested. RSVP online or by emailing or calling Karri Harter at 570-752-3930 ext. 6. 

Area Businesses Invited to Participate in Video Project Highlighting Building, Construction & Trade Careers

The Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC) is trying to help address the shortage of skilled workers that companies need to thrive in its nine-county Central PA region, which includes Columbia and Montour counties.

As part of its strategy to find a solution, CPWDC convened career & technical education (CTE) directors and several business leaders to help define the need. It heard loud and clear that one problem is insufficient awareness of outstanding career opportunities and how programs offered at CTE organizations can help students access a pathway to a promising future, complete with community and family-sustaining wages, with area businesses. Another misperception is that a four-year degree is the only pathway to success. While some professions require a four-year degree, those in skilled trades that require less than a four-year degree can and do have happy, successful lives pursuing these careers. Finally, school administration and teachers need to be aware of the skills companies are demanding and then prepare students with the understanding the skilled trades are viable options for many students and that a four year degree is right for some students, but not all.

CPWDC is working to improve the disconnect between students, parents, teachers, school administrators and businesses by marketing the skilled trades in a number of ways. One such way depends on partnerships with cutting edge business leaders. Through a competitive grant awarded to CPWDC and with additional funding from The Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber, CPWDC is creating a series of short, engaging videos to significantly increase the awareness of locally available careers in the skilled trades. In doing so, CPWDC wants to showcase area businesses that are in need of career and technical talent. The professionally filmed and edited videos will highlight the career opportunities available now and in the future within various sectors. Interviews of both senior level management and thriving employees will show all three target audiences why the skilled trades should not be overlooked as a career choice. Connections will be made to show how CTE plays a critical role in preparing the workforce needed now and in the future. Content will be widely available to reach as many students, parents, and teachers as possible, including via an online career connections website, Path2Careers, which is scheduled to launch this fall.

If you would be willing to be part of increasing awareness of the skilled trades by being part of this project, please a media release form and return to CPWDC by Aug. 17. The momentum of the project is building quickly and production is slated to begin at the end of August. For questions about the videos or the website, contact Erica Mulberger, CPWDC executive director, or Korrie Lucas, operations manager. 

Welcome Spherion

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Spherion, to help us fulfill our mission.

Spherion is a leading recruiting and staffing organization the serves the workforce needs of more than 3,000 businesses nationwide. Founded in 1946, Spherion now has more than 70 years or experience connecting job seekers to employers that prove a mutually successful match. Nationally, Spherion is located in 34 states and puts over 150,000 employees to work each year. It operates on the franchise model, meaning each staffing office is individually owned and operated. Locally, Spherion’s nearest office is in Williamsport at 459 River Rd., and is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and closed weekends. It can be reached at 570-320-9750, via email, or visit the Williamsport office’s website or Facebook page.