The Greater Scranton area has always been at the crossroads of American industry. Since its origins as the Scranton Board of Trade, The Chamber has actively served the region for more than 150 years, always with the mission of attracting, sustaining and growing jobs in the area.
Because of Scranton’s key position in the rail and mining industries, The Chamber has often found itself taking on a strong leadership role in the city’s growth and recovery. In 1914, SIDCO (Scranton Industrial Development Company), the forerunner of all of the Chamber’s economic development efforts, was formed. The Scranton Plan was created in 1945 as a means to diversify the region’s economy and halt Scranton’s post-World War II decline. SLIBCO, the Scranton Lackawanna Industrial Building Company, was also created that year. In 1950, the Lackawanna Industrial Fund Enterprises (LIFE) was formed as a non-profit community development corporation.
As the mining industry declined in the Greater Scranton region, the Chamber shifted its efforts to include workforce and leadership development. In 1977, MetroAction was formed to generate a vibrant economy and jobs in then-declining downtown Scranton by providing a variety of small business loans. Leadership Lackawanna, the region’s premier professional development program, graduated its first class in 1982 and Skills in Scranton was formed in 1989 as a way to address the need for high-level skills and education in the regional workforce.
By continuing to create innovative programming designed to support member businesses, the Chamber remains committed to building and strengthening the Greater Scranton area’s business landscape. Future initiatives include a community revitalization plan for downtown Scranton’s central business district and actively recruiting more internationally-based businesses to the region.