York Rotary launches next round of community grants 

The Rotary Club of York and the York Rotary Charitable Endowment Fund have opened the 2022 round of their community grants, ranging from $2,500 to $15,000. 

A total of $40,000 this year will be awarded to projects or programs taking place July 1, 2022, to June 31, 2023, that align with Rotary International’s focus on our world’s most persistent issues, a release said. 

The fields of interest chosen for 2022, with examples, are: 

  1. Economic development (growing local economies)
  • Programs and projects helping low-income families achieve lasting financial security, or promoting equal economic opportunities.
  • Events designed to draw people to a community and increase financial impact to the local economy.
  • Educational programs in job training or that help residents start businesses.
  1. Peace (promoting peace and social justice)
  • Programs and projects designed to reduce violence/crime.
  • Events to bring people together to promote peaceful dialogue and address community divides.
  • Educational programs promoting peaceful resolution to conflict.
  • Programs, projects and events to promote equal rights and equitable opportunities for all York residents.

Letters of Interest by York County-based nonprofits can now be submitted for projects and programs that meet these two areas until 5 p.m. April 8. Full grant guidelines and online letter of Interest applications can be found at yorkrotary.org/page/york-rotary-grants. 

Workforce grant program to offer $1.5 million to building and construction apprenticeship programs 

Apprenticeship programs within the building and construction trades are eligible for part of $1.5 million in grant funding through Pennsylvania’s workforce diversity grant program. 

Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier announced on Tuesday that the new round of grants will be available to state apprenticeship programs to develop diverse talent pipelines and reach underrepresented populations within building and construction. 

Applicants will design or build new or design upon existing apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs to reach underrepresented populations, the department wrote in a release. 

“There’s no question that diversity within the workforce promotes equity among workers, innovation within business and strength in our economy overall. One extremely effective way of achieving workforce diversity, equity and inclusion is through apprenticeship programs that allow workers to earn while they learn,” Berrier said. 

The grants are offered through the department’s Apprenticeship and Training Office. The Wolf Administration established the office in 2016 to support and expand apprenticeship programs across the state. 

The grant is meant to help programs target women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, veterans, socio-economic disadvantaged individuals, individuals who speak English as a second language, individuals who were previously incarcerated or individuals experiencing multiple barriers to employment. 

Applications for grant funding are due by April 21. 

Gov. Wolf announces $1.7 billion COVID recovery plan for Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf announced a plan on Wednesday to invest $1.7 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds to help the state recover from the pandemic—a bid that critics say fails to put taxpayers first. 

The plan would invest $225 million into small business support; $204 million for relief for low-income renters and homeowners; $325 million for Pennsylvania’s healthcare system; $450 million for conservation, recreation and preservation; and $500 for a new PA Opportunity Program, which would provide relief to workers and families from the cost of childcare and household expenses. 

“As Pennsylvania endured the pandemic, we strategically invested to support small businesses, frontline workers, agriculture, healthcare, first responders, and more. This ensured that Pennsylvania survived,” said Wolf. “Now it’s time for Pennsylvanians to thrive and investing $1.7 billion in a bright future for this commonwealth will give Pennsylvanians a sense of security and a clear path forward.” 

Wolf was joined by Senate and House Democratic leaders at the capital on Wednesday to reveal the plan, which would be funded solely through federal dollars and not any general fund appropriations. 

The plan would include funding for The COVID Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program, which would provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to small businesses impacted by the pandemic. 

It would also provide an additional $204 million investment into the existing Property Tax Rent Rebate program. 

For Pennsylvania’s health care industry, the plan sets aside $250 million for long-term care recruitment and retention incentives, $40 million for the behavioral health workforce to expand county mental health programs and $25 million to expand the student loan foreverness program at PHEAA to include additional critical health care workers. 

“Our state’s economy can’t fully recover until all Pennsylvanians can share in its recovery,” said House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Delaware and Philadelphia. “These targeted investments, drawn on a portion of the commonwealth’s American Rescue Plan dollars, will help thousands of Pennsylvania families and small businesses rebound from the repeated challenges caused by COVID-19.” 

The plan has been met with skepticism by House Republicans. 

In a joint statement released Monday afternoon, Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster; House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre and Mifflin; and House Appropriations Committee Majority Chairman Stan Saylor, R-York, said the proposals were “developed in a fiscal fantasy land where concern for future fiscal years apparently doesn’t exist.” 

Gov. Wolf and his Democratic allies have only put forward the largest cradle-to-grave tax increases in Pennsylvania history and proposals that will increase the cost for Pennsylvania families to heat their homes to fuel their desired unchecked spending regardless of the economic circumstances,” the House leaders wrote in the statement. “In short, the only reason the economic difficulties that have been brought upon the nation by federal Democratic leadership over the last year have not happened in Pennsylvania sooner is because Republican leadership has kept this administration in check.” 

PNC Foundation awards $112,500 grant for students in HACC’s Police Academy or EMT program 

The PNC Foundation announced this week that it will be awarding HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, $112,500 in grant funding over the next three years to train and recruit low- to moderate-income Black students for roles as police officers and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). 

Scholarships through the grant will cover full tuition for 36 Black students looking to join HACC’s Municipal Police Academy or EMT program. The grant was created to create a talent pipeline for the region to increase diversity among its police and EMTs, the organizations wrote in a press release. 

“Thanks to this collaboration with HACC, we will be one step closer to ensuring that our heroic first responders reflect the communities they serve,” said Jim Hoehn, PNC regional president in Central Pa. “This initiative brings PNC’s focus on diversity and inclusion together with our belief that education is a force for economic and social mobility.” 

The grant is part of PNC’s Community Benefits Plan announced last April, part of a previously announced commitment of more than $1 billion to support economic empowerment opportunities for Black Americans and low- and moderate- income communities. 

“HACC is grateful for the support from the PNC Foundation that will enable us to provide new career opportunities for members of our Black community,” said John Sygielski, HACC president and CEO. “Using these funds provided by the PNC Foundation, the HACC Foundation will award scholarships to fully cover all tuition and educational costs associated with these programs. Since one of HACC’s core values is ‘inclusivity,’ this initiative exemplifies our authentic and action-oriented commitment to this value.” 

Harrisburg University launches new biotech certificate programs

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is introducing new graduate-level biotechnology certificate programs it says will prepare working professionals with workforce and leadership skills.

The STEM university’s three new certificate programs can count for credit into Harrisburg University’s Master of Science in Biotechnology program beginning this fall.

The programs include certificates in biomanufacturing in biotechnology, regulatory affairs in biotechnology and medical biotechnology.

The biomanufacturing certificate will prepare students for a supervisory or management role in biotechnology, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company or a contract manufacturing organization.

Harrisburg University’s regulatory affairs certificate will prepare students for leadership positions within the regulatory affairs unit of an organization within the biotechnology industry. The certificate in medical biotechnology will help students enter roles as research scientists or process development engineers in the health care or biomedical device industries.

“These market-driven certificates can directly and positively impact the workforce and economic development needs in biotechnology in Pennsylvania, our region, and beyond,” the university wrote in a press release on Tuesday.

Each certificate consists of two courses every semester with one course online and one offering a hybrid format.

HACC set to launch fully online community health worker program

Harrisburg Area Community College’s (HACC) upcoming Community Health Worker Program will prepare students for careers such as outreach workers, patient navigators and peer health educators.

The Harrisburg-based college announced on Wednesday that the first fully online classes for the new 12-week program begin in early February.

The new Community Health Worker Program is accredited through the Pennsylvania Certification Board and covers health care, social services, communication skills, health education and individual and community advocacy.

“Currently, there are over 400 job openings in Pennsylvania for community health workers,” said Vic Rodgers, vice president of workforce development for HACC. “HACC has designed an educational program that satisfies Pennsylvania Certification Board requirements and meets a need in the community.”

HACC is one of 15 community colleges in the state and offers approximately 100 career and transfer associate degree, certification and diploma programs.

Lehigh Carbon Community College offers pipeline to Harrisburg University nursing program

Lehigh Carbon Community College students who graduate with an Associate Degree in Nursing can now enroll in Harrisburg University’s Bachelor of Science (BSN) degree in Nursing program for half the cost of tuition.

The two schools announced on Wednesday that they reached an agreement to build a pipeline between nursing programs. Students that choose the new route will only need to pay for half the cost of tuition thanks to a student scholarship from Lehigh Carbon (LCCC).

Any nursing graduates from the college will immediately be granted acceptance into the RN-to-BSN program.

The 18-month online program builds on education and experience the student would already have through their associate degree with LCCC, the university wrote in a statement.
Students will also be able to apply for the program if they passed the NCLEX licensing exam.

“We are pleased to partner with Lehigh Carbon Community College to provide this opportunity to nursing students,” said Dr. Eric Darr, president of Harrisburg University. “This agreement provides a seamless transfer into HU’s nursing program and will help provide health care employers the trained and educated nurses they need.”

Harrisburg University’s RN-to-BSN program prepares students to meet employer expectations for a BSN and for future graduate programs if they wish to enroll.

Dr. Ann Bieber, president of LCCC, said that the school is honored to offer the option for its nursing graduates.

“This partnership with HU can further prepare nurses for a challenging and rewarding career where their skills are highly valued,” Bieber said.

Harrisburg University to grow IT program through partnership with IT apprenticeship program

A new partnership between Harrisburg University and an Arizona-based IT apprenticeship program is expected to build a pipeline of eligible students into the university’s Information Systems and Information Technologies program.

The university announced on Friday that it will partner with Woz Enterprises, an organization that offers apprenticeship programs to address a widening gap in technology careers in the country.

Through the new partnership, HU will grant apprentices of Woz Enterprises pre-acceptance to pursue a Bachelor’s degree through the university’s Information Systems and Information Technologies (ISIT) program.

Individuals who hold an associate degree and complete a pre-apprentice program through Woz will also be eligible to enroll in the ISIT program.

“We are pleased to partner with Woz Enterprise to provide this opportunity to individuals who are pursuing a career in technology,” said Dr. Eric Darr, president of Harrisburg University. “The agreement gives individuals the ability to enroll in our affordable, world-class ISIT program.”

Woz Enterprise, a division of WozU and founded by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, acts as a supplement to an associate degree and teaches students courses like Application Development .Net, Application Development Java and End-User Computing.

Students in the Woz Apprenticeship program receive college credits toward the HU ISIT program and get on-the-job experience in the tech industry, said Chris Coleman, president of Woz U.

Coleman added that educators can no longer say that technology careers are the future and should instead realize that companies need talent in the present.

“Getting training and an education in information systems, information technology and computer sciences allows individuals to enter an industry that offers job security and competitive salaries,” he said. “Working and gaining valuable experience in a relevant tech field, while simultaneously earning a degree also makes it a cost-effective proposition for students.”

Once students complete the necessary courses, they are well-prepared for both the technical and non-technical courses at Harrisburg University, said Dr. Beverly Magda, associate provost at HU.

“Industry has a strong need for a workforce with technical skills and knowledge, but they also need a workforce that have the strategic thinking, ethics knowledge and business skills,” Magda said. “This is why the ISIT program is a good fit for WozU students.”