Harrisburg University, McNees Strategic Solutions Group and more name new hires, promotions

East Pennsboro Township-based Boyer & Ritter LLC named John W. Akeley, Mason Garza and Adrianna Gray associates.

East Pennsboro Township-based Brown Schultz Sheridan & Fritz named Christopher R. Anderson a senior adviser. Anderson, who has more than 38 years of public accounting experience, will be a member of the outsourced accounting services team, which provides clients with outsourced chief financial officer and controller services.

Banking and finance
Wheeling, West Virginia-based Security National Trust Co., with an office in Lancaster, elected Shane Zimmerman and Greg Lefever board members. Zimmerman is president of Lancaster-based The Steinman Foundation. Lefever had a 40-year career in banking and trust services, including executive positions with S&T Wealth Management, PNC Private Bank, Sterling Financial Trust Co. and Bank of Lancaster County. Kevin Hart Kornfield was named a senior consultant and client adviser. Alan J. Walsh was named a trust administrator and vice president. Sandra L. Bair was named an administrative assistant. Kornfield, Walsh and Bair will work in the Lancaster office.

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology named Cameron J. McCoy provost. McCoy will shape academic programs, foster interdisciplinary initiatives and promote research. He was a U.S. Army officer.

Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace appointed Tina Campbell as director of administrative services. Campbell has executive experience in both financial and nonprofit organizations.

Health care
Effective Oct. 1, Lower Allen Township-based Select Medical Holdings Corp. named John Saich and Thomas Mullin co-presidents. Saich and Mullin will work together to create best practices and improve integration across the company’s network of specialty hospitals and outpatient physical therapy centers. Michael Malatesta was named executive vice president and chief financial officer. Malatesta will be responsible for companywide financial planning and analysis. Martin Jackson was named senior executive vice president of strategic finance and operations. Michael Tarvin was named senior executive vice president, general counsel and secretary. John Duggan was named executive vice president and deputy general counsel. Tyler Hollenbach was named executive vice president of strategy and growth. Mary Lacey was named senior vice president and chief human resources officer. Shelly Eckenroth was named senior vice president and chief communications, marketing and branding officer. Kerry Dishner was named senior vice president of functional operations for specialty hospitals. Bridget Sherick was named senior vice president of accounting for shared services. Robert Breighner was named senior vice president of compliance and audit.

Harrisburg-based McNees Strategic Solutions Group, an affiliate of McNees Wallace & Nurick, named Kevin Sunday a policy adviser. Sunday will advise business executives, nonprofits and trade associations on policy matters and will help develop their public affairs strategies.

Gettysburg-based United Way of Adams County named Adam Boyer a board member. Boyer is an attorney with Lancaster-based Barley Snyder and helps businesses and community organizations with legal needs including transition planning, financing and real estate. Boyer also helps individuals with estate planning and administration.

Harrisburg-based Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts named Heather Woodbridge vice president of operations. Woodbridge will oversee facility management, education, production and events, and staff management.

York-based Leadership York named Kim Lentz program & event coordinator. Lentz will run the Mentorship York program, assist with the Future Leaders of York program, develop and launch the Leadership York ambassador program and assist with coordinating events.
Kelly Bradburn, Linda Gorter, Katrina Rothrock, Ryan Service Manzo and Tania Zech were elected board members. Bradburn is with Traditions Bank. Gorter is with Big Brothers Big Sisters of York & Adams Counties. Rothrock is with Dover Area School District. Manzo is with Penn State York. Zech is with the York County Coroner’s Office.

York-based Investment Real Estate LLC named Thomas Kilko Jr. development and construction manager. Kilko will develop projects from conception through their final construction phases and coordinate a team of professionals for each project. He is a professional engineer.

Compiled by Amy DiNunzio

SBA proposes rule to increase returning citizens’ opportunities

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is proposing a rule that would aid in expansion of access to loan programs for people with criminal history records. 

American adults with a criminal history record would gain entrepreneurship opportunities under the proposed reforms. 

“America is about possibilities and second chances – and that includes justice-involved individuals who are working hard to rebuild their lives through entrepreneurship,” Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a statement. “SBA’s proposed rule would help returning citizens have better access to capital to start and grow their businesses and ensure our economy and society can benefit from their pursuit of the American dream of business ownership.” 

Current SBA regulations contain barriers for loan applicants with certain criminal history records. Some applicants are completely barred from SBA programs.  The proposed rule would expand access to capital for entrepreneurs by expanding eligibility and removing barriers to SBA’s loan and bond programs. It would also eliminate SBA application forms from asking applicants about their involvement with the criminal justice system. 

Individuals with a criminal history involvement identify employment as their most urgent need. A 2018 study reveals that formerly incarcerated people have a 27% unemployment rate, dramatically higher than the United States unemployment rate.  Substantial evidence exists of labor force discrimination against formerly incarcerated individuals, due to concerns about recidivism and gaps in work experience.

Entrepreneurship offers individuals with connections to the criminal justice system an alternative. The proposed regulations would clarify requirements across SBA capital programs and expand access to the capital necessary to start a business.

The rule change would do the following:

  • Standardize eligibility rules across SBA capital programs, including the 7(a) Loan Program, 504 Loan Program, Disaster Loan Program, Microloan Program, and Surety Bond Guarantee Program—which collectively provide over $40 billion in capital annually to small businesses. 
  • Reduce confusion and subjectivity (e.g., what is considered a “crime of moral turpitude”). 
  • Rather than rely on self-reporting from the applicant, SBA will eliminate detailed questions on the application and, instead ask a straightforward question on current incarceration status and then verify that status using the applicant’s SSN and a third-party database. SBA will also check against SBA internal data for those connected to pandemic fraud and other resources related fraud against the federal government. 
  • Continue to allow SBA lenders to follow their own policies on criminal background checks. 
  • Continue to deem businesses with owners who are currently incarcerated and all those who have previously committed fraud against the government as ineligible for all capital programs.

Guzman said the proposed rule “is not only the right thing to do to strengthen our economy and communities, but it is also the smart thing to do because research shows that employment helps people thrive during reentry and reduces the risk of recidivism.” 

Biden notes Pa.’s record low unemployment rate

U.S. President Joe Biden noted Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate for August, which remained at an historic low 3.5%, a figure that ranks below the national unemployment figure of 3.8%.

“Under Bidenomics, we have helped build one of the greatest stretches of job creation in American history, and Pennsylvania is leading the way with its second month in a row at its lowest unemployment rate on record,” Biden said in an email. “The Bidenomics boom is in every corner of Pennsylvania. With record lows in areas from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, York to Erie, Scranton to Reading and Allentown, Pennsylvania is leading America and America is leading the world again.”

The late rankings were released Friday by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I). While Pennsylvania’s rate remains its lowest since January 1976, the U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly by three-tenths of a percentage point. 

Pennsylvania’s unemployment was 0.8% below its August 2022 level of 4.3%. The state’s civilian labor force, which is the estimated number of residents working or looking for work, increased by 1,000 in August. Resident employment rose by 6,000 from July and unemployment fell by 4,000. 

Nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania were up 15,800 in August to a record high of 6,164,500. It marks the eighth consecutive month that jobs have set a new all-time high level. 

Eight of the 11 industry supersectors saw jobs increase in July, the largest gain (7,400) being in education & health services, which rose to a record high. Construction and trade, transportation and utilities also reached record high levels in August. 

Nonfarm jobs for the year have increased by 153,800, with gains in all 11 supersectors. The largest volume over-the-year gain among supersectors was in education & health services, which increased by 50,000.

AFSCME’s tour visits Harrisburg to promote public service jobs

Addressing the need to fill open public service positions throughout Pennsylvania, AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Elissa McBride and members of AFSCME Council 13 joined House Speaker Joanna McClinton at a press conference Tuesday in Harrisburg. 

A commonwealth-sponsored hiring hall will take place Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the AFSCME Council 13 Conference Center in Harrisburg. Job seekers can meet with recruiters from several agencies – including the Departments of Corrections, Human Services, Environmental Protection, Transportation, General Services, Revenue, and Banking – and will have the opportunity to apply for open positions on the spot. 

“Never before have we been able to see so many vacancies, all at the same time, through different departments here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” McClinton said at the press conference. “But the best thing is – right here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – we have people of all backgrounds, all ages, who have the qualifications and skills to fill these vacancies. And we look forward to them coming to the hiring fair (Wednesday), learning about the opportunities, and spreading them across their networks so we can fill these jobs.” 

Short staffing exists among nurses, PennDOT workers, corrections officers, and others. AFSCME launched the “Staff the Front Lines” initiative this year, to partner with elected officials on recruiting and retaining the essential workers who keep communities running. The Staff the Front Lines bus is holding recruitment events in more than 20 major cities across the U.S. this summer. 

“We are doing this because our communities simply cannot function without the everyday heroes who keep our streets clean, take our kids to school and ensure our water is safe to drink, and we need a lot more people filling these vital roles,” AFSCME Council 13 Executive Director David Henderson said. “On top of making our communities better, these are often union jobs with good pay, great benefits, retirement plans and job security.” 

AFSCME Council 13 Member and Pennsylvania Department of Human Services worker Susan Bosco said it doesn’t matter how old or young an applicant is or where they’re from. 

“If you have a passion to serve your community, you can do this work,” said Bosco. “That is why public service often reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. … Take it from me, as someone who has lived through it: In the private sector, you are often seen as just a number. In public service, you are an essential part of your community.” 

McBride said the population of Allentown, Erie, Pittsburgh, Reading, and Scranton combined (970,000) is also the number of public sector job vacancies in the U.S. 

“And that’s why we started the national Staff the Front Lines bus tour,” said McBride. “At every stop on the tour, we’re talking about the importance of recruiting and retaining the next generation of public service and health care workers. We’re lifting up the fact that these union jobs come with strong rights and protections. We’re shining a light on the opportunity to be part of something bigger.”

Pa. July unemployment rate reaches record low

Pennsylvania’s July unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, an historic low that matches the national unemployment rate, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) announced Friday. 

Dropping by three-tenths of a percentage point in July to 3.5%, the state’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest on record dating to January 1976. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 0.8 percentage points below its level of 4.3% in July 2022. 

The state’s civilian labor force, which is the estimated number of residents working or looking for work, fell by 9,000 in July. The resident employment rate for the month increased by 6,000 and unemployment dropped by 15,000. 

Nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania increased by 14,400 over the month to a record high of 6,149,000. It marked the seventh straight month employment has set a new high. Eight of the 11 industry supersectors saw employment increase, the largest being in education and health services, which rose by 6,700 to a new high. Business and professional services also reached a record high. 

Total nonfarm jobs over the year increased by 143,000 with all 11 supersectors seeing gains. The largest gain among supersectors was in education and health services, which rose by 45,200.

Pa. unemployment claims decrease

Pennsylvania ranks 39th among states in which unemployment claims were lower than in the previous week, according to updated rankings by WalletHub. 

Regarding the change in unemployment claims last week versus the previous week, Pennsylvania’s numbers decreased 20.4%. Regarding the change in unemployment claims last week versus the same week pre-pandemic, Pennsylvania’s claims were down 4.1%. 

Pennsylvania ranks 47th nationally in unemployment claims per 100,000 people in the labor force. 

Amid the slowing of inflation, new unemployment claims decreased 3% week-over-week on July 17. South Carolina ranks No. 1 on the list, followed by Kentucky at No. 2 and Mississippi at No. 3. Arkansas (4), Alabama (5), Michigan (6), Missouri (7), Maine (8), Maryland (9), and Wisconsin (10) completed the top 10. 

The bottom 10 consisted of No. 42 Hawaii, District of Columbia (43), Oregon (44), Massachusetts (45), West Virginia (46), Utah (47), California (48), Colorado (49), Ohio (50), and Vermont (51). 

Except for Colorado and Vermont, each state boasted unemployment claims last week that were lower than in the previous week. Every state also had unemployment claims last week that were lower than in the same week pre-pandemic (2019) except for West Virginia, Hawaii, Tennessee, Nebraska, Idaho, California, Nevada, Texas, Connecticut, Georgia, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Indiana, Minnesota, Colorado, Utah, Vermont, and Ohio. 

Vermont, Ohio, and Massachusetts were among the 29 states whose unemployment claims last week were worse than the same week last year. 

WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez said record low unemployment figures should not be expected to continue much longer. 

“The Federal Reserve rate hikes have already started a slowing of inflation, which in turn will cause unemployment numbers to increase,” Gonzalez said in a release. “The hikes, coupled with the chances of a recession in the next 12 months at over 70 percent, are two leading causes of why we will see record-low unemployment come to an end sooner rather than later.” 

Gonzalez said certain job types are still seeing higher levels of unemployment currently. 

“For instance, construction jobs have very high unemployment numbers right now due to building activity slowdown, with higher interest rates lowering demand for new individual housing,” said Gonzalez. “Farming, fishing, and forestry jobs are also seeing high unemployment, which has more to do with technological advances and less about the current economy or pandemic recovery.”

Pa. unemployment rate for June reaches record low

Declining two-tenths of a percentage point in June, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate for the month reached a record low of 3.8%, the lowest since January 1976. 

The national unemployment rate also dropped, going down one-tenth of a percentage point from May to 3.6%. 

The estimated number of Pennsylvania residents working or seeking work declined 4,000 in June. The month also saw resident employment rise by 10,000 and unemployment decline by 13,000. 

The state’s total nonfarm jobs increased 7,300 in June to a record high of 6,131,900. The increase marked the sixth straight month employment has hit an all-time high. Employment increased in six of the 11 industry supersectors, the largest gain being in professional and business services, which reached a record high. 

Total nonfarm jobs increased 154,000 over the year, with gains in each of the 11 supersectors. Education and health services increased 49,400, the largest volume over-the-year gain among supersectors.

Pennsylvania ranks among nation’s top employers, Forbes’ study says

A new survey conducted by Forbes Magazine and market research firm Statista ranks the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania among the top employers in the nation. 

Gov. Josh Shapiro announced the rankings Friday, noting that Pennsylvania is one of just six states included in the list of top employers by college graduates. 

“Under my Administration, we are making sure Pennsylvanians know that the doors of opportunity are wide open to those who want to serve our Commonwealth,” Shapiro said in a statement. “Whether you’re a recent college graduate or have gained skills and experiences outside the classroom, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a great place to work where state employers are committed to serving our communities every single day.” 

Forbes partnered with Statista in surveying more than 28,000 young and early career professionals (less than 10 years of work experience) working for U.S. companies with at least 1,000 employees. The survey period ran from February to March 2023 and participants were asked to rate their employer in areas such as atmosphere and working hours, benefits and salary, career advancement, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), education, quality of work, performance recognition, reputation, and whether employees would recommend the company to family and friends.

Graduates who work for the state may qualify for tuition forgiveness under the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, as well as scholarships to continue their education at a State System of Higher Education university. Benefits include flexible work schedules and telework schedules for certain positions, access to free mental health counseling and wellness resources, and opportunities for professional development and advancement.

“We’re breaking down barriers for those who want to work with us, and that’s why I signed an executive order emphasizing skills and experience in hiring for state government jobs, appointed a chief diversity officer to work across all of our agencies, and expanded internships to expose more students to public service,” Shapiro said. “No matter what you look like, where you come from, who you love, or who you pray to, you have a place here in Pennsylvania, and I am building an Administration that represents the entire Commonwealth and gives folks a real opportunity to succeed.”

Secretary of Administration Neil Weaver, whose office oversees recruitment and hiring, said that as Pennsylvania employs residents in a variety of career fields, hundreds of job openings exist across the state.

“If you are looking for a job that makes a difference, we want to hear from you,” said Weaver.

PA granted nearly $3 million from federal government for workforce funding

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry received a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. 

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the grant on Wednesday. The grant is part of an $11.6 million to help fund examinations of the outcomes and effectiveness of state education and workforce programs in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Connecticut, and Virginia. 

The Workforce Data Quality Initiative grants are administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration. The grant enables each state to develop or enhance databases to analyze programs that provide workforce training and employment services. 

To gain a comprehensive view of how jobseekers obtain employment through workforce education and training programs, the grants will support each state’s collection and analysis of data.  Funds will also enable each state to identify labor market changes and design delivery services that improve employment opportunities, particularly for underserved and underrepresented populations. 

To benefit jobseekers, workers, and employers, the Workforce Data Quality Initiative grants will help states in improving the capacity of workforce development programs and improve the quality and range of workforce data.

PA unemployment rate drops to 4% in May, lowest on record

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate in May declined one-tenth of a percentage point to 4%, the lowest rate on record, which goes back to January 1976, the state Department of Labor & Industry reported.

The data, subject to revision, is from L&I’s preliminary employment situation report for last month.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was three-tenths of a percentage point below its May 2022 level.

The commonwealth’s civilian labor force – the estimated number of residents working or looking for work – was up 1,000 over the month. Resident employment rose by 9,000 in May and unemployment fell by 9,000.

Pennsylvania’s total nonfarm jobs were up 7,900 over the month to a record high of 6,122,500 in May. This was the fifth month in a row that jobs set an all-time high.

Jobs increased from April to May in nine of the 11 industry supersectors; the largest gain was in professional and business services (+3,700), which rose to a record.

Over the year, total nonfarm jobs were up 151,500 with gains in all supersectors. Among them, the education and health services (+47,800) supersector had the largest volume over-the-year gain.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer