Pennsylvania Catalyst Loan Fund aimed at aiding small businesses

The Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC) has announced its participation with five other economic development organizations in securing $20 million through the State’s Small Business Credit Initiative, named “The Pennsylvania Catalyst Loan Fund.” 

Should the state meet utilization requirements, funding will be available to lend through three tranches. The requirements include loaning 5.7% of the funds to qualified “Very Small Businesses” of 10 or less workers and 31.29% to SEDI (Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individuals) Borrowers. 

Open for application is the first tranche of approximately $6 million for all participating economic development organizations. Of that tranche, $1.2 million is reserved for qualifying small businesses in CREDC’s service area of Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties. If all three tranches can be accessed, a total of $4 million will be reserved for lending in these three counties. 

A small business must meet the following requirements to be eligible to apply for the Pennsylvania Catalyst Loan: 

  • Be a for-profit business. 
  • Demonstrate a need for credit. 
  • Meet the definition of a small business according to the SBA size standards.
  • Operate in Pennsylvania. 

Funds can be used to support various sorts of business, including the following: 

  • Fixed Assets 
  • Inventory & Supplies 
  • Soft Costs 
  • Wages 
  • Working Capital 

Every dollar loaned by the Pennsylvania Catalyst Fund must be matched by at least one dollar from a private credit source. CREDC and partnering economic development organizations are working to identify private lending sources interested in supporting the program and small businesses. 

The State’s Small Business Credit Initiative comes from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. ARPA included provisions to establish loan funds to help small businesses recover and rebuild in response to the impact of COVID-19. 

Sports bike shop gets SBA 504 loan to purchase building 

Karns Performance, a sports bike shop, has closed on an SBA 504 loan to buy 5203 E. Trindle Road, Hampden Township, a building it had rented since December 2010. 

The news was announced by the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC. Established in January 2000 by brothers Dan and Jason Karns, the business specializes in engine building and dyno services. 

“When this building was being sold, we knew we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to purchase it,” Owner Dan Karns said in a release. “By owning this building, we are able to keep control of our expenses and stay in the location that our customers have grown to know us in.” 

Through the $273,000 loan, completed with the assistance of M&T Bank, “we can give Karns Performance a sense of stability and security by owning their own building,” added Melissa Stone, vice president of economic development with the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC. 

The loan took second mortgage position behind M&T’s first mortgage of $331,425. The borrower’s equity requirements were 10% of the total project. 

CREDC works with SeedCo PA to help businesses in the region access the program. A certified development company, SeedCo PA is recognized as a top SBA 504 lender in the area. 

SBA 504 loans provide up to $5 million in long-term, fixed-rate financing to eligible and qualified small businesses for major fixed assets that promote business growth and job creation, the release explained 

Workplace civility expert to address Harrisburg Regional Chamber VIBE event

Shola Richards

Best-selling author and workplace civility expert Shola Richards is scheduled to speak to an audience of midstate business and community leaders on translating a South African philosophy to the workplace during VIBE, the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC’s largest event of the year.

Richards, author of Making Work Work and Go Together and creator of The Positivity Solution blog has been featured on the Today Show, CBS This Morning, Forbes, Black Enterprise and more for his work on workplace culture.

At VIBE, the author is scheduled to speak on Ubunto, a southern African phrase that translates to “I am, because we are.” According to Richards, the phrase, and its accompanying philosophy, can be used to transform work culture, amplify team civility and inspire employees to do their best work.

Richards will speak on the three key questions business leaders need to ask themselves to build a civil, engaged and productive work culture. He will also answer the most common objections to transforming work culture and the self-awareness to become mindful of how your words, actions and behaviors affect others.

VIBE will be held Thursday, Aug. 26, at 5 p.m. in the Hershey Lodge at 325 University Drive, Hershey.

Tower Transportation to purchase new Highspire property

Tower Transportation owner and CEO Daryt Tower. The freight hauling company is acquiring property in Highspire with a loan facilitated by CREDC, the non-profit economic development arm of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Freight hauling company Tower Transportation plans to purchase a new property in Highspire, Dauphin County with the help of a $115,000 loan through the Harrisburg Regional Chamber’s nonprofit economic development arm.

Tower Transportation, currently based in Lower Paxton Township, will use the newly acquired property as its headquarters and use the Lower Paxton property as a mechanic’s bay for truck repairs.

The project will cost $379,000, $115,000 of which has been given to Tower through a loan by the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation or CREDC.

The loan is part of the Enterprise Zone Revolving Loan Fund which CREDC maintains. The program originated with funding from the state and the Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development and provides funding for real estate acquisitions, construction and renovation and machinery and equipment.

“We received CREDC’s help at the best moment, allowing us to expand our business and create more job openings for the community,” said Daryt Tower, Tower Transportation’s CEO. “CREDC made our experience easy and convenient.

Tower Transportation specializes in shipping freight between Amazon warehouses. The company was founded in 2017 by Tower.

“While millions of people count on Amazon packages arriving on their doorsteps daily, it is companies like Tower Transportation that ensure local warehouses are stocked to ship fast and efficiently,” said Melissa Stone, the Chamber & CREDC’s vice president of economic development. “CREDC is pleased to celebrate Tower Transportation’s growth in our region. We wish the company well as it keeps goods moving in Central Pennsylvania and beyond.”

Remediated former steel factory sold by CREDC for $505,000

A former Harsco Corp. factory in Harrisburg near Herr and Cameron Streets. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Harrisburg real estate developer Herr Street Investments closed on a sale of the site of a former Harsco Corporation factory for $505,000 last week.

The Harrisburg Regional Chamber’s nonprofit economic development arm, CREDC, announced this week that it completed the sale of a former steel plant near Herr and Cameron Streets that it purchased in 2018 to remediate.

The 21.3 acre plot of industrial land and former factory was previously owned by Harsco Corp., formerly the Harrisburg Steel Corp.

CREDC’s investment in the property was partly funded by a grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Industrial Sites Reuse Program and was meant to lift the site out of its blighted status.

Following the remediation effort, CREDC sold the property to Herr Street Investments, led by owner and manager John Moran Jr.

“Undertaking this project was a unique opportunity to use our expertise to bring a blighted industrial property one step closer to being ready for productive reuse,” said Ryan Unger, president of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC. “Thanks to the guidance of our economic development lead Melissa Stone, the support of the state’s Industrial Sites Reuse Program, and the transfer of the property to John Moran and his team, we now look forward to the ongoing redevelopment and future opportunities that are now possible at this site.”

Herr Street Investments is a real estate developer affiliated with Northumberland County-based warehousing and logistics provider Moran Logistics. It also developed the Harsco Corp. factory’s neighboring parcel, the former Capitol View Commerce Center on Cameron Street.

Moran bought Capitol View out of debt in 2013 and ultimately opened the site as the World Trade Center Harrisburg.

Herr Street has yet to announce its plans for the Harsco Corp. property. Moran said in a statement that the site is now positioned to provide new opportunities for the City of Harrisburg.

Harrisburg Chamber and CREDC closes $300k loan for Duncannon brewery

The Harrisburg Regional Chamber’s economic development nonprofit closed $300,000 in financing for a Duncannon, Perry County brewery to renovate a former PNC Bank into a brewery, tasting room and restaurant.

Capital Region Economic Development Corp. (CREDC) announced this week that it will finance nearly half of the cost for Duncannon-based Lindgren Craft Brewery to renovate a 2,854-square-foot building it purchased last year.

The microbrewery began operations in 2018 and looks to expand business with the help of the new space, which is projected to cost over $676,000 when finished. It received the loan through CREDC’s Enterprise Zone Revolving Loan Fund.

“Lindgren Craft Brewery’s dedication to Perry County and to local farmers and businesses runs deep,” said Ann Leiner, CREDC’s loan review committee chair. “CREDC is proud to play a part in funding the continued growth of the brewery’s operations, production and staffing in our region.”

CREDC’s Enterprise Zone Revolving Loan Fund provides funding for real estate acquisitions, construction and renovation and machinery and equipment.

Through the loan, Lindgren will update the former bank to accommodate new brewing equipment. The project is planned to be finished by mid-fall.

“In our search for financing, a number of people in banking and the financing industry highly recommended we contact CREDC,” said Cliff Lindgren, Chairman of Lindgren Craft Brewery. “Through CREDC, we were able to get the funding we needed, with terms we could live with, in a timely manner to purchase the brewing equipment that allowed us to expand our business. That’s what I call real economic development.”

The project is expected to create six new jobs over the next three years.

Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC announces new president and CEO


The leader of Harrisburg nonprofit Team Pennsylvania will take over as CEO and president of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC when David Black retires at the end of June.

The Chamber & CREDC announced on Wednesday that Ryan Unger, president and CEO of Team Pennsylvania Foundation, will assume Black’s role effective July 1.

The announcement comes after a national search that the Chamber & CREDC began soon after Black announced his retirement in December 2020. The search conducted a dozen stakeholder sessions and convened over 100 people when deciding what qualities were needed an ideal candidate, said Ben Dunlap, co-chair of the chamber’s search committee.

“The search generated 125 applications from the region and across the country,” said Dunlap. “Our committee arrived at a decision after three rounds of interviews. It was very clear to all of us that Ryan’s enthusiasm and expertise is just what we were looking for.”

Unger was chosen for the leadership role for a number of reasons, including his passion for the midstate and his background in government advocacy, economic development and community organizations, said Meron Yemane, Chamber board chair and member of the search committee.

Unger joined Team Pennsylvania as its director of policy and programs in 2011 and was appointed president and CEO in late 2015.

Team Pennsylvania is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit that connects private and public sector leaders to improve the state’s competitiveness and economic prosperity.

During his time at Team Pennsylvania, Unger assisted with the creation of nationally recognized policy and state-level strategy documents and reports from topics ranging from Marcellus Shale development to manufacturing.

He also helped the organization form a public-private partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to support the state’s agricultural economic development efforts.

An Elizabethtown College alumnus, Unger previously worked in regional economic and community development at SEDA-Council of Governments in Lewisburg and the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce in Shamokin Dam.

David Black has been the president and CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC sinc 2001. PHOTO/PROVIDED

“Chambers are key connectors in our communities, and I’m excited to step into this role at a time when connection is vitally important,” Unger said. “I’m grateful to the business community for trusting me to lead this incredible organization, and I look forward to working with our inspiring members and board to continue building an organization where people feel comfortable coming to create meaningful change and tackle challenges. We’ll work to make sure everyone in our region is proud to call this home.”

Black will leave the chamber after 20 years as its president and CEO. Yemane said that he and the board are confident that Unger will continue where Black left off in his commitment to the region and its business community.

“We are confident that Ryan will build on the momentum of Dave’s leadership and further advance the Chamber & CREDC as a catalyst for job creation, policy change and economic growth that not only enhances the quality of life in Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties, but also makes our region inclusive and equitable for all,” he said.

Harrisburg Chamber to host live webinar on systemic racism


The Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC will host a live webinar Friday on how the business community can stand with the region’s black community.

The webinar is scheduled for 9 a.m. and is free to the public.

Speakers include Meron Yemane, vice chair of the Chamber Board of Directors, and Amma Johnson, a member of the Chamber Board of Directors and founder and owner of AMMA JO, a beauty brand based in Harrisburg.

The webinar will focus on how businesses can stand with the black community to close the opportunity gap and create more inclusive cultures, according to the chamber.

David Black, president and CEO of the chamber, said that the organization stands with its members, the broader business community and the entire black community against systemic racism.

“We know we can do better,” Black said. “For the sake of our collective future and that of our children and grandchildren, we must do better. Together we can move the needle.”

Stimulus bill could bring much needed help to midstate businesses

Midstate businesses could have a lot to gain from the Senate’s proposed $2 trillion stimulus bill if it becomes a law in the coming weeks.

Businesses across the country are waiting for the United States Senate to vote on a bill that would provide billions of dollars to both small and large operations— an opportunity that David Black, CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC, said could be a huge step to cover losses for area businesses impacted by statewide closures.

The spread of coronavirus and Gov. Tom Wolf’s closure of businesses deemed non-essential has already dealt a blow to area businesses, including the region’s large tourism industry, he said.

“Cash flow has stopped—it’s just not going,” said Black, noting that the Senate’s bill could be the help businesses need. “The purpose of the business loan component of this is to try and soften that blow, perhaps replace it with a loan but we haven’t seen the language.”

The stimulus is an unprecedented amount of money but it will be difficult to understand how many businesses will receive funds through the bill until the government begins the process, said Black.

Currently the plan is to provide $350 billion in loans for small businesses with less than 500 employees and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies, among other efforts including $1,200 in checks sent to eligible American households.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that it would be offering disaster loans to small businesses throughout the country.

Black warned that the process to receive the SBA’s loans online has proven difficult with so many companies trying to use the online portal at once and that when applications open for the $2 trillion stimulus, there may be long waiting times.

“You just have to stick with it, you might have to do it in the middle of the night,” he said. “We know the electronic portals will be slow and backed up. It’s just a matter of timing.”

The Harrisburg Regional Chamber and Capital Region Economic Development Corp. supports member businesses and offers economic and businesses development to companies in the Harrisburg and Hershey regions.

Harrisburg’s longest running mayor leaves an equally long legacy

Former Penn National Insurance CEO Jim Taylor and Former Harrisburg mayor Stephen Reed take the first strikes in the groundbreaking of the insurance company’s upcoming 15-story headquarters in the city’s downtown in 1994. PHOTO/SUBMITTED

For most of his time as president and CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC, it was not uncommon for David Black to receive a phone call from Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed asking for the chamber’s help to secure funding to bring a new business into the city.

If someone could potentially open a business in the city’s downtown, it was likely that Reed would put them on speaker phone and ask Black to help on a loan then and there.

“He was a mayor who was driven,” said Black. “His life was the city—he bled the city.”

Harrisburg’s mayor from 1982 to 2010, Reed was known for never taking no for an answer when it involved bettering the city and its economy, something that made him well known in both the state and federal arenas as he hunted for grants for projects to improve Harrisburg.

Reed died in January following a 14-year fight with prostate cancer. The legacy he left behind is a city that has become one of Dauphin County’s biggest economic drivers, contributing to 26,000 tourism-related jobs within Dauphin County.

During his 28-year tenure as mayor, Reed introduced initiatives that would make the city more appealing for businesses to set up shop and for visitors to enjoy.

“When it came to an idea for promoting the region, Steve did not have a shy bone in his body,” said Jeff Haste, chairman of the Dauphin County Board of Commissioners.

Under Reed’s leadership, Harrisburg welcomed a minor league baseball team to a newly renovated City Island, helped with the creation of a STEM learning center and a technology university in the city’s downtown and made the city attractive for restaurants, hotels and corporate headquarters.

A brand new Second Street

In the early 1980’s, Harrisburg’s Second Street consisted of boarded-up buildings and few businesses. Where Hilton Harrisburg hotel sits today, stood a XXX movie theater and nearby, an adult book store.

“It was awful,” said Black. “I remember seeing these Steve Reed signs on the boards covering the windows on Second Street. It’s hard to imagine compared to how vibrant it is today.”

Reed wanted to see Second Street grow into a thriving business sector but he was not the type to go about such a change slowly, said Haste. Instead, Reed cast a large net to find restaurants that would invest in his vision for the city. The ones that eventually found a home on the city’s ‘Restaurant Row’ have now come and gone, but they’ve been replaced by other businesses in and around Second Street.

“He was able to go through a generation or two of restaurants,” Haste said. “Some of the restaurants came, had their hay day and now they are gone—it continued beyond their time.”

The Hilton and Crowne Plaza

Second Street was also invigorated by the addition of the Hilton Harrisburg and Crowne Plaza Harrisburg-Hershey hotels.

By 1993, the city’s momentum was picking up speed when Penn National Insurance, formerly located in three four-story office buildings at 19th and Derry Streets, began looking for a place to build a tower to house its headquarters. The insurance company was unsuccessful with its search for a new property in the city and began looking elsewhere when Reed and his team intervened.

“A local developer who had been part of our board of directors for years, received some information from the mayor’s office with some ideas and proposals for ways that we could develop property on Market Square,” said Christopher Markley, a corporate spokesperson with Penn National.

Penn National ended up following through with the property on Market Square after receiving a $2.7 million financial package from Gov. Robert Casey. By 1996, the company finished its 15-story tower. Since then, Penn National has had a perfect view of Harrisburg’s revival as the city’s downtown brought with it more residential and business development, said Markley. There is a deep sense of pride within the organization in seeing how vibrant the city is today, he said.

Reed announced plans for what became Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in 2001 after a visit to Richmond, Va. PHOTO/FILES

More changes

When Reed became mayor, City Island made a name for itself as a concert venue. Throughout the 80’s the island between Harrisburg and Wormleysburg drew in acts like Metallica, Huey Lewis & The News, Billy Idol and the Grateful Dead.

Despite its status as a concert venue, the island also had a reputation as a haven for criminal activity—something that Reed hoped to deter when the city bought the Nashua, New Hampshire-based Nashua Pirates. The team was re-named the Harrisburg Senators in 1986, and Riverside Stadium was built the next year. In 2005 the stadium was renovated and renamed to FNB Field, and the city sold the team in 2006.

City Island became a popular site for tourists, lured by attractions such as the riverboat Pride of the Susquehanna, the Skyline Sports Complex, Water Golf on City Island and Lil’ Grabber Railroad.

A steady flow of projects meant to invigorate the city became a hallmark of Reed’s leadership, said Haste, who noted that every time a project was finished, the city’s “mayor for life” never rested on the accomplishment.

Between 1994 and 1999, the city began acquiring about 3,500 items for another destination meant to draw tourists to the city— the National Civil War Museum, which opened in 2001. To prepare for the museum, the Harrisburg Chamber took a trip to Richmond, Virginia. It was during that trip that Reed realized something else was missing in the capital city – a university. Richmond had one, Harrisburg should, too.

In 2001, Reed announced plans for a four-year college that would operate in the city as the Harrisburg Polytechnic Institute. By 2003, the institute changed its name to Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and invested more than $18 million to renovate the former YWCA building that became the school’s first home.

“Mayor Stephen R. Reed was a visionary whose foresight changed the landscape of Harrisburg,” said Dr. Eric Darr, president of Harrisburg University. “Under his leadership, Harrisburg University was created as a hub for STEM learning and economic development. He lived to see today’s HU recognized as a model of higher education and civic impact.”

Reed’s desire to grow the city as a destination for STEM learning also resulted in the groundbreaking of the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in 1997. A task force formed by Reed helped the center acquire the grant funding from both Harrisburg and the Commonwealth that would help fund the project.

Reed’s failed projects

Two notable projects spearheaded by Reed did not succeed.

The first was his idea for a Wild West Museum, an attempt to continue the success of the Civil War museum. Reed spent more than $8 million of taxpayer money on artifacts. Plans for the museum were eventually discarded, but in 2015, former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane charged Reed with 499 criminal charges after approximately 1,800 of the artifacts were found in his Harrisburg home

Reed eventually plead guilty to 20 felony and misdemeanor counts related to receiving stolen property, and was sentenced to two years of probation and a fine.

The former mayor was also embroiled in attempts to improve the city’s incinerator. The incinerator was shut down in the early 2000’s by the federal government after a report by the Environmental Protection Agency noted it was polluting the air with dioxins.

Reed’s administration tried to reopen the incinerator and pay for it by charging fees to surrounding counties, the plan was unsuccessful. The firm working on the incinerator filed for bankruptcy and, over time, the city found itself $300 million in debt.

The city would have to sell bonds to pay another firm to finish the job. The city debt resulting from the project led to Pennsylvania offering a bailout to the city in 2011.

While there is no doubt both failed programs, particularly the incinerator, had a negative impact on Reed’s legacy, his supporters believe that they were minor compared to where Harrisburg is today.

“Everyone says that (the incinerator was a) big negative but I say, did the city ever go bankrupt? No,” said Haste. “It is not as big as a failure as everyone wants to make it out to be and there were lessons that can be learned from that.”

Business today

A man of many ideas and the willpower to get them done, Reed’s vision for a prosperous Harrisburg has left a significant mark on the city. While those who know him say he wouldn’t take no for an answer when he believed in an initiative for the city, Haste said what he learned most from the former mayor was to fight for something until he found a middle ground.

“If I didn’t agree with him, some people would take that as a no and take the ball and go somewhere else. Steve didn’t do that,” Haste said. “He would sit, think about what I said and he would find a way to incorporate my concerns into the plan to make sure it would happen”

If the city’s business sector has taken anything away from Reed’s leadership, his friend’s and longtime collaborators say it has been that sense of collaboration.

Economic drivers like Harrisburg University still have much to contribute to the city, according to Haste. With incoming additions like the university’s new Health Science Education Center under construction at South Third and Chestnut Streets, he said it will be hard to imagine how much more the city will grow.

The GIG is up

The gig economy is here to stay as freelance workers’ ranks swell.

Whether from desire or necessity, gig workers, those defined as independent contractors, freelancers or part-time jobbers, continue to fill gaps or take ongoing work to meet employer’s needs in an evolving workforce landscape.

“We’re seeing a lot of clients utilizing gig workers for short term or one-off assignments, and I’m seeing that growing,” said Jeffrey Stewart, an attorney at White and Williams LLP in Upper Saucon Township, who specializes in employment and labor law.

Companies will tap freelancers for almost any task.

“Companies use them to put together presentations, where [the company) has the substance, but they want it to [have] a certain level of professionalism with creative and design,” Stewart said.

The website smallbizgenius.com reports that about 36 percent of workers are involved in the gig economy – from full-time employment to side-hustles – and indicators show this employment trend is on the rise.

In 2018, freelancers made a roughly $1.28 trillion contribution to the U.S. economy, the report said.

David Black, president and CEO of Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC said quality of life and controlling one’s workday and career path were top motivators for those opting to pursue freelance working options.

“We saw it at the end of the recession in 2008 when people were doing it out of necessity,” he said. “Now, lifestyle is a big reason.”

In the past, companies did a hiring analysis to justify adding a full-time position by tallying up the cost of wages, health and medical benefits, taxes and paid time off against the amount of work to be done. If they couldn’t justify the hire, they did without.

“Now there is this middle step,” Stewart said. “We have work that needs to get done, or we have a busy season.”

Bringing in a freelancer to address a particular project gets the work done without the additional cost of on-boarding a full-time employee.

By definition, gig or freelance workers do not receive employment benefits.

Flexibility and freedom

Finding freelance talent is easier today with websites designed to connect employers with workers. Word-of-mouth referrals remain the top matchmaker, Stewart said.

“If I have an IT project I might be able to use someone in Sioux City, Iowa, and the internet has allowed this,” he said. But he noted many companies in the Lehigh Valley still prefer to work from a local talent pool.

Experts interviewed for this article agreed technology was the key factor in providing a platform for freelance, virtual and remote workers to thrive. Technology has not only supported freelance or gig workers and enabled them to serve many clients, it has opened up the workforce.

In 2017, Tom Newmaster, a partner of FORCE pkg in Lancaster, began his firm fueled entirely by freelance talent. FORCE is a packaging design and brand development company. The design and branding agency now employs five full-time staff members, but still uses freelances.

“I have a freelancer in Colorado [Mountain Time], and because they are earlier we can stretch the workday to get a project done,” he said.

The flexibility and freedom of the freelance model optimizes his business, Newmaster said. Younger workers have increased the size of the gig-worker community, because they are used to being able to work with a laptop or smartphone from virtually anywhere.

“Accessibility [through technology] and flexibility, as well as a generational mind-set” moves the gig workforce forward, he said.

While younger workers choose freelancing as a work lifestyle because of technology, older workers never had those options, until now. And many are discovering they can earn a good living by developing a client base and relationships–much in the same way any traditional company becomes successful, said Black, of Greater Harrisburg Chamber.

Becoming mainstream

In the past few years, talent and recruiting firms are paying attention to the way they can bridge the connection between freelancers and companies, too.

Lindsay Watson, co-founder, FIA NYC Employment Services

Lindsay Watson, co-founder of FIA NYC LLC Employment Services in Allentown, said her company has been placing freelancers with firms for about three years with the niche tied to growing mainstream trends. “Maybe two years ago we were looking at 10 percent [of placements] and now we’re looking at about 30 percent and growing.”

She attributed the shift to greater awareness of the value of gig workers, a more mainstream acceptance of their legitimacy and the financial benefit to only paying for work specified in a contract.

And, the number and variety of jobs can be handled remotely or during “off hours” is increasing, Watson said. Pay-per-click or SEO advertising experience are skill sets that might set a traditional marketing hire apart – and be hired on an as-needed basis.

“With the gig economy you’re able to monetize your skills,” Watson said.

Software development, finance and web development, website or content creative and design services, and IT are other types of jobs gig workers are often hired to do on a short or long-term contracting basis.