Welcome Back Bloomsburg Area YMCA

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 Bloomsburg Area YMCA, to help us fulfill our mission.

Previously a member that the Chamber is happy to welcome back after a short absence, the Bloomsburg Area YMCA is dedicated to youth development, healthy living and social responsbility, and this is reflected in its programs and events. Its mission is to nurture every child and teen, improve the health and well-being of residents of the community and to support fellow cause-driven organizations in Columbia County. Located at 30 East 7th St. in Bloomsburg, the Bloomsburg Y is open Monday-Thursday from 5 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday from 5 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. They can be reached by phone at 570-784-0188, or visit their website or Facebook page

October is Local Chamber of Commerce Month in Pennsylvania

Governor Tom Wolf has officially declared October 2018 as “Local Chamber of Commerce Month” in Pennsylvania. The Governor issued an official proclamation making that declaration. 

Below is the text of that proclamation.

Greetings:

It is my pleasure to join with the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry to support October 2018 as Local Chamber of Commerce Month in Pennsylvania. 

Since its inception, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry has served and advocated for Pennsylvania businesses. Our local chambers of commerce play a critical role in supporting the needs of our vibrant business community and are essential to the Commonwealth’s continued economic growth and advancement. As my administration works hard to retain current and create new family sustaining jobs by supporting business and industry throughout the Commonwealth, I am grateful for our local chambers of commerce for providing the invaluable role that they play in ensuring that businesses new and old can continue to prosper in Pennsylvania. I commend Pennsylvania’s local chambers of commerce for representing thousands of businesses, and I am certain their efforts to enhance our communities will serve as an inspiration across the Commonwealth for years to come.

As Governor, and on behalf of all citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I am honored to support October 2018 as Local Chamber of Commerce Month. Please accept my best wishes for continued success.

Tom Wolf
Governor
October 2018

Overcoming Social Isolation

From rabbittransit

October is Depression Awareness Month. Risk of depression increases when people experience social isolation, which is especially common among seniors. Social isolation and depression take a toll on physical and mental well-being. rabbittransit plays a critical role in the socialization of the lives of older adults. Transportation provides access to the senior center for a dance class or watercolor painting session, the gym or the hair salon, a friend’s house or a faith-based service. Being able to live fully by traveling safely offers seniors socialization to combat isolation and depression.

Seniors 65 years of age and older (and in some cases younger) are eligible for paratransit, often referred to as “Shared Ride,” in which a bus comes right to your door (co-pays may apply depending on many different factors). For more information about rabbittransit’s services or to sign up for free travel training, visit its website.

A QUEST For Leadership: 2018-19 Leadership Central Penn Class Kicks Off

As September ushers in the official start of fall, that means leaves changing, the Bloomsburg Fair, and the start of Leadership Central Penn. This year’s LCP class kicked off at Bloomsburg University with QUEST team building.  The 19 members of the LCP Class of 2019 joined Chamber Foundation director, Jeff Emanuel, for a day of problem solving and block, tent, PVC pipe cube — no wait, team building.

The large group had to figure out how something that looked like a zoomed in photo of Thing 1’s hair related to the other 19 photos, ending with a postage stamp on a letter.  This was only one challenge using a small piece of a larger story. The next sent the group from a zoomed-in watch face, all the way out of a movie set with various backgrounds and images, within images, within images, and so on…  The group could not see one another’s photos, and these puzzles needed solved by describing what was in your photo.  No easy task, but the group used a variety of skills and persevered. 

Next the class was split into two groups of 10 and were challenged with building a rope house without crossing any pieces, creating a large PVC cube that could stand on its tip, a building-block challenge, blindfold tent building, and event flipping a tarp with everyone on it. Just when challenges couldn’t seem harder, there was always a twist. No one could have any part of their body leave the tarp, the blindfolded tent builders needed to all fit in a two-person tent, and the rope house had to stand.  Each challenge was met with determination and a will to succeed.  The groups successfully completed each task no matter how difficult, all of which had time limits.

The group started as strangers, but soon realized they needed to become colleagues to complete such strange tasks. This year’s class is going to be unique, and there are many more challenges ahead, and there is no doubt they will continue to rise to the occasion.

This year’s class is comprised of 19 professionals from three nonprofits and 10 companies – which include Chamber members Autoneum North America, Bloomsburg Theatre EnsembleBloomsburg University, Camp VictoryEdward JonesFirst Columbia BankFirst Keystone Community BankGeisinger, Geisinger Health PlanKawneerPPL Electric Utilities, Ronald McDonald House of Danville, and SEKISUI SPI.

Leadership Central Penn is sponsored by Geisinger Bloomsburg HospitalKawneer, PPL Electric Utilities, SEKISUI SPIUSG and Williams

28th Annual Economic Survey Shows Boost in Employer Optimism, While Workforce Needs, Healthcare and Taxes Continue to Burden Employers

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

The PA Chamber unveiled the results of its 28th Annual Economic Survey last week, which showed record high optimism among employers in terms of their confidence with the direction of Pennsylvania’s economy and their willingness to invest in their facilities and workers.  However, a jobs skills gap was listed for the first time as the biggest hurdle facing their businesses.  Also, ongoing concerns about the state’s tax structure and rising healthcare costs were among the leading issues they cited as barriers to economic opportunity.

According to the survey of 650 employers, job creators listed difficulties finding skilled and qualified employees to fill open positions as the biggest problem facing their companies.  This represents a stark increase over last year and has officially reached an historic high as business owners’ “top of mind” issue.  Given this rising concern and the increased attention to this problem, the PA Chamber is proud to include as part of its mission the “Start the Conversation HERE” initiative that is aimed at closing the skills gap in Pennsylvania by educating students, their families, educators and workers about family-sustaining jobs in the skilled trades and other employment trends in the Commonwealth. Visit StartTheConversationHere.com to learn more about this dynamic program and the PA Chamber’s ongoing efforts to tackle the skills gap in Pennsylvania.

As to other leading employer concerns in the survey, the PA Chamber remains committed to working with lawmakers to reduce tax burdens and address rising healthcare costs, which continue to increase despite efforts from the Trump administration to expand healthcare access. “We’re working to combat rising healthcare costs, which employers have cited as a major hurdle over the last ten years of economic surveys,” PA Chamber President Gene Barr said in a press release announcing the survey results. “Expanding access to affordable healthcare coverage should be a universal goal, which is why it’s so unfortunate that the state Insurance Department is resisting allowing many small businesses to take advantage of the new federal rule on Association Health Plans.  The goal of these plans is to achieve savings within the health care system and provide Pennsylvania employers with solutions to meet the needs of their workforce.”

Standing out as a positive takeaway from this year’s survey was the considerable improvement in employers’ perception of Pennsylvania’s business climate.  A record high 40 percent of employers now say the economy has gotten better during the last 12 months, up sharply from 25 percent last year.  Moreover, 26 percent of employers rate Pennsylvania as “very” business friendly, up from 15 percent last year and also a record high.  However, when asked to cite the top issues that should top business advocates and lawmakers’ “to-do” lists, they overwhelmingly cited controlling healthcare costs (at 66 percent) and cutting business taxes (at 50 percent) as the top two priorities.

The 28th Annual Economic Survey was conducted in August 2018 by Susquehanna Polling and Research, a Harrisburg-based public opinion polling company. To review the survey, visit the PA Chamber’s website.