PA Chamber Prepares for Busy Fall Calendar

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

As the summer comes to a close, the PA Chamber is looking forward to a busy fall as lawmakers return to session and we work on finalizing the details for the 35th Annual Chamber Dinner.

As I noted in last month’s column, workforce development and addressing the Commonwealth’s jobs skills gap continue to be a major focus for the Wolf administration, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and especially the business community. As a cornerstone of the PA Chamber’s mission, our organization – through our Start the Conversation Here initiative – has been working to bridge the gap between Pennsylvania employers’ current and future employment needs and the skills of today’s workforce. Pennsylvania’s diverse employment needs across a wide range of industries provide ample job opportunities. However, the state continues to have people without jobs and job opportunities without the people with the skills to fill them. Despite the good paying, in-demand careers that the skilled trades provide, they still tend to get overlooked by graduating students and their families. Over the past three years, we have been pleased to team up with the mikeroweWORKS Foundation as it works to help change the negative perception about skilled trades jobs – which are vitally important to the economy and must be filled in order to close the skills gap.

At the end of August we were pleased to announce that 24 Commonwealth students have been awarded a total of $75,000 in mikeroweWORKS Work Ethic Scholarships. Since 2016, the PA Chamber Educational Foundation – with the support of the Commonwealth’s business community – has helped contribute nearly $195,000 towards the work ethic scholarship program, and approximately 94 Pennsylvania students have been awarded work ethic scholarships to attend technical schools within the state. Several of this year’s scholarship recipients will be profiled in an upcoming issue of the PA Chamber’s magazine, Catalyst. The PA Chamber is currently raising funds to continue to support its Start the Conversation HERE initiative. More information on the PA Chamber’s far-reaching workforce initiative is available online.

This month also marks the start of the fall legislative session. Over the summer a number of issues that could impact the business community have been bandied about by the Wolf administration and lawmakers, including: charter school reform, regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, a severance tax on natural gas, a minimum wage increase and property tax reform. We are urging lawmakers to continue the positive momentum of the state’s strong 2018-19 fiscal year by enacting pro-growth policies and cautioning against implementing policies that will increase the cost of doing business in the Commonwealth and hurt the state’s overall economic climate. With legislators scheduled to return to Harrisburg in mid-September, we are closely monitoring these and other issues that will have a strong impact on businesses across the state.

Member News – September 4, 2019

  • This year will mark the fifth year that local organizations and communities have joined forces to help fight pediatric cancer and raise funds to benefit the ThinkBIG® Pediatric Cancer Fund. The Going Gold initiative, which began in 2015, continues to expand. To date, this initiative has raised $42,800. This year’s remaining Going Gold kickoff events are scheduled for tonight, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. at Marley’s Brewery & Grille in Bloomsburg; and Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. at Brendan’s Towne Tavern in Lewisburg.

    Members of the Going Gold Committee recently announced events being held throughout September 2019 to raise awareness about pediatric cancer and support the ThinkBIG® Pediatric Cancer Fund.
    L-R: Colleen Phillips, Service 1st Federal Credit Union; Cassandra Niglio, ThinkBIG Pediatric Cancer Fund; Colby Wesner, ThinkBIG Pediatric Cancer Fund; Jace Rovenolt, Old Forge Brewing Company; Carol Tevis, ThinkBIG Pediatric Cancer Fund; and Kelly Miller Barrick, Lewisburg.

    Each event will feature a proclamation, entertainment, and much more. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.  Going Gold shirts will be sold during the events for $15. In September, shirts will also be available at any Service 1st Federal Credit Union location, while supplies lastMarley’s and Old Forge have collaborated on a special brew called Gold Dust pale ale for this year’s Going Gold initiative. $1 from each pint of Gold Dust purchased throughout the month will be donated to this cause. Additionally, Rusty Rail Brewing Company is donating $1 from every goblet of their Fool’s Gold that is sold during September. All proceeds will benefit the ThinkBIG Pediatric Cancer Fund. Additionally, other events throughout the month of September will also benefit ThinkBIG, including at Chamber members Columbia Colonnade and Nickle Plate Bar & Grill. See the complete list of events and ways to support this initiative.


  • Camp Victory will host its annual Community Open House on Sunday, Sept. 8, from 12-3 p.m. This free afternoon of family fun includes its rock climbing wall, zip line and paddle boats on the pond as well as hot dogs, ice cream, drinks, an arts and crafts project, a moon bounce, wagon rides and live music. at 1 p.m., there will also be a ribbon cutting to celebrate the recent expansion of the Welcome Center. 


  • Service 1st Federal Credit Union held its 26th Annual Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, Aug. 23 at Frosty Valley Resort. During the tournament, Service 1st presented three local charities with donations totaling $60,000. “Every year, I am amazed by the generosity of our golfers and sponsors,” said Bill Lavage, President/CEO, Service 1st.  “To raise $60,000 to donate to three charities is wonderful.  A heartfelt thank you to everyone who was a part of our outing.” Funds raised were combined with those from Service 1st’s Eighth Annual Charity Duck Derby on Aug. 3 and were presented during the tournament to Bridges Out of Poverty, Geisinger’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, and the Mifflinburg Hose Company. Since 1994, Service 1st’s Annual Charity Golf Tournament has raised $513,500 to benefit area charities. This year’s tournament included 137 golfers, numerous volunteers, sponsors, and fellow credit unions.


  • The PPL Foundation has awarded the Children’s Museum

    Standing with plans for renovations. (L-R): Tracie Witter, PPL Regional Affairs Director; Kathy Beidler, President Museum Board; Susan McGarry, Arch Central Architects; Diana Hughes, Member Museum Board; Mary Osborne, Treasurer Museum Board; Valynn Boy, Vice President Museum Board, Shawna Meiser, Museum Director

    $50,000 for improvements in ADA accessibility, exhibits, and building infrastructure. The funds will be used to enhance visitor and workplace accessibility through the addition of an entrance ramp and ADA compliant workstations and check-in desk. A rotating exhibit space is planned in the first room of the Museum. This space provided a secure and controlled environment which allows the Museum to obtain on-loan exhibits from other institutions and individuals. The funds will also improve the building’s HVAC system to increase efficiency and comfort of visitors.

Welcome Pennsylvania State Shotgunning Association

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, the Pennsylvania State Shotgunning Association, to help us fulfill our mission.

The PA State Shotgunning Association’s (PSSA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster national And international amateur competition in shooting sports, particularly trapshooting. Due to the very expensive nature of competitive shooting sports and limited facilities for participation, it is necessary to provide facilities and equipment to foster these sports. PSSA’s mission includes the promotion of American-style trapshooting, which is the preeminent trapshooting sport in the world. The PSSA is the governing body of the sport of American-style trapshooting in Pennsylvania. PSSA’s homegrounds are located in Elysburg and are home to the largest State Shoot in the United States and several events each year. For additional information, call 570-672-9747, visit its website, or email

Deadline for Fall Management Program This Friday

A group from Kawneer that went through the first management & leadership certification program this past spring.

The program developed to help people build basic management and team leadership skills will begin sessions Sept. 17. This five-module management and leadership certificate program is appropriate for existing leaders, managers, and supervisors; or those who are new or emerging in any business sector. The Chamber collaborated with Bloomsburg University to launch the program this spring with applications for the fall cohort due this Friday, Sept. 6.

Professional course materials include assessments, activities, and other learning enhancement components to help each participant individualize their learning experience. Participants will receive a certificate from Bloomsburg University upon completion and will have identified personal development goals to provide to their employers.

The five, three-hour modules are: supervisor effectiveness; effective communication for managers; conflict management; navigating a multi-generational workforce; and being a great mentor or coach.

For additional information, including a program application, see the informational packet, or call 570-784-2522. The program qualifies for WEDnet funding. For eligibility information, visit or contact Jennifer Williams at 570-389-4004.

New online master of engineering degree to be offered through Penn State World Campus

Image courtesy of Penn State

From Penn State World Campus

Note: Employees of all Columbia Montour Chamber members, their spouses and dependents are eligible for a 5% discount on tuition through the PSU World Campus.

Today’s engineers need to be equipped to meet the ever-changing demands of a modern society and to understand how to innovate and better streamline processes. In order to meet these needs, Penn State will offer a new online degree — master of engineering in industrial engineering — beginning in fall 2019 to meet these requirements.

This 30-credit master of engineering program, offered online through Penn State World Campus in partnership with the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, allows students from diverse engineering backgrounds to develop their skills in industrial engineering and in focus areas of their choice.

“The curriculum has been developed to allow engineers to develop strategic skills that will broaden their professional horizons and equip them with specialized knowledge in focus areas they are interested in,” said Robert Voigt, professor of industrial engineering and graduate program coordinator for the department.

The program is intended to be flexible to suit the needs and interests of the students in the program. It features courses in areas such as product innovation, service system engineering, advanced manufacturing processes and systems, organizational excellence and human factors.

During the last semester, students will use the skills they acquire throughout the program to identify and complete a capstone project to solve an industrial problem typically based on their workplace needs. 

“This program is great for those who want to earn their graduate degree but can’t make it back on campus,” said Andris Freivalds, Lucas Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. “There is great flexibility with online education as it allows professionals to work and study.”

Applications to begin the program in spring 2020 admission will be accepted through Dec. 1. This program is designed for working professionals who a hold bachelor’s degree in engineering and want to enhance their knowledge and skills to advance their careers. 

Visit the industrial and manufacturing engineering graduate programs page for more details about this online master’s degree.