Federal Government Announces $15 Million for Flood Protection

Today, officials announced $15 million in Federal funding to help provide flood protection to two Bloomsburg businesses which employ a combined 900 people. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine and U.S. Representative Lou Barletta made the announcement this afternoon at Autoneum North America. The dollars will be combined with $12 million already committed by the Commonwealth and private funds to build flood protection systems around Autoneum and Windsor Foods.

Following the notification by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last June that the long anticipated flood protection system was not viable, local leaders began meeting with State and Federal officials to try to find solutions for two of the largest employers in Bloomsburg and Columbia County. Chamber President Fred Gaffney was part of the team that submitted a $12 million application to the Commonwealth for funding last fall. SEDA-COG coordinated the Federal application, and will be overseeing the two projects. With the Federal funding now secured, it is anticipated that construction can be completed in approximately four years.

Following the announcement, Chamber President Fred Gaffney participated in an economic roundtable discussion with the Assistant Secretary, Representative and local business and elected officials.

In addition to supporting these important projects, the Chamber continues to advocate for other flood protection efforts including relocation of United Water’s Bloomsburg treatment facility out of the floodplain. During the flooding in 2006 and 2011, the Bloomsburg service area lost water service for multiple days, hindering or shutting down hundreds of businesses throughout the area. In 2012, United Water conducted an engineering study on constructing a new treatment facility away from the bank of Fishing Creek. The company is currently evaluating the results of that study and expects to determine a course of action this year.

Congratulations to All the Chamber Award Recipients

The 2013 Annual Dinner , sponsored by PPL Corporation, was held at the Rolling Pines Golf Course last Thursday, February 7th. This year’s event was the most highly attended Annual Dinner to date with 250 people in attendance.

The Chamber elected board members and honored the service of Rudy Singh, who has served on the board for 8 years. We also reviewed the activities of the past year and previewed the year ahead.

Each year the Chamber recognizes businesses and an individual that go above and beyond in the community. We presented 5 awards this year to deserving members of the Chamber:

Small Business of the Year, Old Forge Brewing Company

Business Longevity, Al’s Men’s Shop

Large Business of the Year, Berwick Offray LLC

Community Progress, Turkey Hill Brew Pub

Outstanding Citizen, Bette Grey of Columbia County Volunteers in Medicine

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For more pictures of the Annual Dinner and Awards visit the Chamber’s Facebook Page.

Thank you again to all of those that attended this great event and if you weren’t able to make it we hope to see you next year!

A big thank you to the businesses that chose to sponsor the Annual Meeting and Awards.


PPL Corporation


Outstanding Citizen of the Year- Berwick Industrial Development Association Small Business of the Year- First Columbia Bank & Trust Co. Large Business of the Year- Columbia Alliance for Economic Growth Community Progress- Berwick Hospital Center


United Water Pennsylvania , Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, InnoTek Computer Consulting, MetroCast Business Services, Geisinger Health Plan

JobGateway Website Offers Free Employee Search Tools

The PA Dept. of Labor and Industry has updated its statewide job search website to make it easier for employers to post a job, connect with candidates and manage referral lists. JobGateway now features an employer portal designed to optimize the user experience. Employers can register to use the site free and anyone receiving UC benefits must register with the site to demonstrate active work search.

JobGateway was launched in July, 2012 after it became apparent that the labor-exchange component of the Commonwealth’s system was very limited and had fallen behind in this increasingly mobile and technologically advanced society. JobGateway was developed in order to modernize the way in which job seekers find family-sustaining employment and employers find the skilled candidates that they need to remain competitive in this economy. Utilizing a phased approach, enhancements and improvements to JobGateway will continue to be incorporated. Some of the enhancements for employers launched last week include:

– Manage all of your candidate-search activities in one location through a new dashboard;
– Connect to candidates during the search process;
– More options to search based on a candidate’s location;
– Filter candidate referrals by education, job type, location, occupation and salary;
– Sort candidate referrals based on the number of candidate profile elements that match your job posting.

Visit www.jobgateway.pa.gov to see first-hand how you can find talent utilizing these new features.

Employers with questions can contact the Columbia/Montour CareerLink office for assistance at 387-6288.