SKILLS 2020: Resources

Skills in Scranton, our workforce development affiliate, recently hosted a virtual summit on overcoming common employment and hiring obstacles. Topics included dislocated workers, working with a physical or mental disability, transitioning veterans to the civilian workforce, and re-entering the workforce following a prison sentence.

Bill Burke, Dorothy Grill, Ph.D., and Chris von Ahnen shared their experiences as dislocated workers and the services that helped them find new opportunities.

Bob Fox and Keith Williams of My Center for Independent Living (MyCIL) talked about the tools and services available that make independent living a possibility for people with disabilities.

Eric Darling and Jennifer Spitler explained what it means to be a veteran and why their skills and experience are exactly what employers are looking for.

Jennifer Shoemaker of Outreach ­– Center for Community Resources introduced us to the L.E.A.D. Center and their efforts to assist men and women with re-entry into the workforce after incarceration. She is joined by James Kyle Hanjaras who shares his experience with the program.

Geisinger Announces Appointments on Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Affiliate Boards of Directors

Geisinger has appointed Virginia McGregor to the Chair of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Board and Jeff Jacobson to the chair of the Geisinger Affiliate Boards.

McGregor was appointed to Geisinger’s Board of Directors in February 2012. She is chair of the Geisinger Family Committee and serves on the board’s Patient Experience, Academic Affairs and Quality Committees. Prior to her latest appointment, McGregor served as the vice chair on the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Board of Directors. She graduated from Holy Cross College with a Bachelor of Arts in history and also attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Executive Education Program. She currently serves on the board of McGregor Industries, a family-owned business that is a manufacturer of miscellaneous and structural steel products for the construction industry.

In addition to his new appointment as the chair of the Geisinger Affiliates Board of Directors, Jacobson, who was also appointed to Geisinger’s Board of Directors in February 2012, serves on the board’s Geisinger Family and Audit and Compliance committees. Jacobson graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Lehigh University and received his MBA in finance from The University of Chicago. He is the owner and President of Jacobson Hat Co. Inc., in Scranton, PA; Benay Hat Company in Newport News, VA; and Colombino Headwear in Passaic, NJ.

“For the past eight years, Geisinger has been fortunate to benefit from the leadership of such esteemed community members as Virginia McGregor and Jeffrey Jacobson,” said Geisinger board chairman John Bravman, Ph.D. “It is with great excitement that we look forward to how their leadership, guidance and commitment to community will usher the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and all Geisinger affiliates into a long and prosperous future.”

“Whether it’s educating the next generation of physicians or leveraging unique partnerships in our communities, everything we do at Geisinger is done with a focus on making health easier for the communities we serve,” said Jaewon Ryu, M.D., J.D., Geisinger’s president and CEO. “Virginia McGregor and Jeffrey Jacobson share our passion for making care more accessible and more affordable for everyone who calls our region home. There’s not a question in my mind that our communities will continue to benefit from their stewardship, especially in their new leadership roles.”

Governor Wolf Honors PennDOT Employees for Exemplary Service to the Commonwealth

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is proud to announce that several employees are recipients of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence, presented annually for exemplary service to the commonwealth.

“PennDOT employees go above and beyond for the public every day,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “I am so proud of all that these employees have done, and I thank Governor Wolf for recognizing their hard work and service to the people of Pennsylvania.”

Employees from Engineering District 12 (Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties) and the bureaus of Office Services and Fiscal Management received a group award. On Memorial Day in 2019, PennDOT’s Greene County maintenance office in was destroyed in a fire. There were no injuries, but the building was a total loss. Despite having no building to operate from, staff continued operations in Greene County with no interruption in services to the public. They also worked quickly to secure both a temporary office space and a garage space. Less than eight months after the fire, a new permanent building was designed, put out for bid and is currently under construction.

“The teamwork of this group demonstrates PennDOT’s agility to react to emergencies,” said District 12 Executive William Kovach. “They did whatever it took to provide reliable services to the public, and I’m extremely proud.”

The recognized individuals are:

  • William Baird, Highway Equipment Manager 2;
  • William C. Gipe, Materials and Services Manager;
  • Christopher S. Inman, Purchasing Agent Supervisor;
  • Tamie Kiger, Clerical Supervisor 2;
  • Timothy J. Mankey, Traffic Control Specialist;
  • Ryan Stephen Medvitz, Civil Engineer Manager;
  • Terrence G. Pearsall, Transportation Facilities Management Chief;
  • Jack C. Rice, Transportation Facility Manager 3;
  • Tammy H. Tedesco, Administrative Officer 4; and
  • Leslie D. Wynn, Fiscal Management Specialist 4.

PennDOT REAL ID Program Manager Sarah D. Baker has also been recognized for her efforts in making REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and photo ID cards available to Pennsylvanians. Because of prior legislation that prohibited Pennsylvania from complying with the federal REAL ID Act, PennDOT only had 19 months to make REAL IDs available to Pennsylvanians. Baker immersed herself in federal REAL ID guidelines to ensure that PennDOT’s program complies with applicable laws and regulations. Baker also coordinated closely with contractors on the construction of five new driver’s license centers, was instrumental in the design of IT infrastructure to support the REAL ID program, and conducted extensive research on customer management so that each location was designed for the optimal customer experience.

“Sarah’s efforts were – and still are – critical to the success of PennDOT’s REAL ID program,” said Deputy Secretary for Driver and Vehicle Services Kurt Myers. “Thanks to her commitment, Pennsylvanians have access to an efficient process that complies with all applicable federal requirements.”

The PennDOT award recipients will be among 49 state employees representing nine commonwealth agencies recognized by Governor Wolf at a virtual ceremony.

Keystone College PDI Announces Medical Billing and Coding Certificate Course

The Keystone College Professional Development Institute will offer an online Medical Billing and Coding Certificate course beginning Oct. 12.

The 15-credit program prepares students for employment in the medical profession for careers in medical billing, coding, and claims processing in settings such as hospitals, medical practices, nursing and rehabilitation facilities, government agencies and billing services. 

Upon successful completion of five courses, participants will be prepared to take a Certified Professional Coder exam through the American Academy of Professional Coders, an industry recognized credential. Also, credits can be applied toward an associate degree in allied health or a bachelor’s degree in public health at Keystone College. Courses include introduction to health care, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology for coding, among others.

Medical billing and coding have become highly valued skills and those with professional training and certification are often in demand in many locations throughout Pennsylvania. The course is approved for displaced worker training by the Commonwealth Workforce Development System. That means that recently laid off or unemployed workers can receive a job re-training grant funding to help pay for a significant portion of the course. For more information on the medical billing and coding certification program, visit, e-mail or call (570) 945-8621 or (570) 945-8622

Daniel E. Cummins to Appear in National Best Lawyers of America Directory

Daniel E. Cummins of the Clarks Summit, PA law firm of Cummins Law was recently notified that he was selected for the fifth year in a row to appear in the national Best Lawyers in America directory under a category devoted to personal injury matters.  This honor is limited to only 5% of all of the attorneys across the nation and is based upon findings of excellence in the practice of law through a peer review process.  

Attorney Cummins has secured this honor annually for the past five years and is the only attorney in all of northeastern Pennsylvania to earn this honor under the category of “Personal Injury – Defense.”  Attorney Cummins focuses his practice on defending businesses and individuals from personal injury lawsuits.

Attorney Cummins also recently published an article in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly entitled “Can the Regular Use Exclusion Withstand an Attack from the Plaintiffs Bar?”  That case reviewed the current status of Pennsylvania law on the validity of an important part of automobile insurance policies.

On September 15th, Attorney Cummins served as a presenter in a continuing legal education program put on by the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel via Zoom.  Attorney Cummins provided the group with an update on important cases and trends in Pennsylvania civil litigation law involving personal injury claims.

Attorney Cummins also participated as one of the presenters in another continuing legal education course for the Monroe County Bar Association via Zoom.  That program, which took place on September 25th, was entitled “Mediation/Arbitration Tips.”  Attorney Cummins provided the audience with tips on how to improve their chances at settling cases at a mediation.

Attorney Cummins focuses his practice on the defense of motor vehicle and trucking accident matters, slip or trip and fall cases, products liability claims, and medical malpractice claims.  He defends businesses and individuals in all of these types of claims and is currently accepting new clients.  He can be reached at

Disaster Blaster Home Check Services

A lot can go wrong while you’re away, especially for extended periods of time. Do you need someone to keep an eye on your home while you’re away? Let us keep an eye on your home while you’re gone so that small problems don’t become BIG issues.

What are Home Check Services?
When you’re away from your home for an extended period of time, it’s important to know that your home is in good hands. It’s important to know that a qualified professional is checking on your property regularly and looking for things like water and storm damage, mechanical failure, and forced entry. Whether you’re going to be away for the season, longer, or something in between, we’re happy to watch your home while you’re away.

Who needs Home Check Services?
Any property that will be vacant for an extended period of time should be checked on regularly by a qualified professional. Some examples include:

• Vacation Homes
• Seasonal Homes
• Rental Units
• Vacant Properties
• Primary Residence during extended travel

Disaster Blaster utilizes industry proven epoxies and cements, as well as state of the art fastening systems, to ensure a long, secure, hold and an effective barrier to future water intrusion. Through our multi-stage process, we will work to address the source of moisture intrusion and repair foundation damage that has already occurred, restoring structural integrity and preventing further damage.

What we check for
During our extensive inspection of your property, we look for anything that may be out of the ordinary. This includes:

• Water Leaks
• Storm Damage
• Mechanical Systems (Furnace, Hot Water Heater, Sump Pumps, Thermostats, etc. are functional)
• Oil Tanks
• Forced Entry
• Rodents & Insects
• Indicators of a Vacant Property (accumulated mail & circulars, unkept yard, etc.)
• And More!

Additional services available
We realize that when you’re in town, you want to enjoy yourself, not be worried about property maintenance and renovations. For this reason, we are happy to handle any projects you may want completed while you’re away! Some examples include:

• Painting
• Remodeling
• Cleaning
• Winterizataion
• Lawn Maintenance

Military Times Recognizes Geisinger as a Top Employer for Veterans

Geisinger is proud to be among the companies recognized by Military Times as Best for Vets: Employers 2020. The annual survey is an analysis of a company’s efforts to connect with veterans and provide an environment for success.

With a workforce that includes more than 700 veterans, Geisinger scored among the best for its commitment to hiring and retaining military personnel and reservists. The health system launched a veteran program two years ago and has achieved exemplary outcomes: Its veteran hiring rate has increased by 41%, and retention of veteran employees has grown from 80% to 86%.

Best for Vets: Employers rankings are based on a voluntary survey. More than 100 questions sought detailed information based on the individual company’s policies and practices related to veteran recruitment and retention, support for translation of military skills to civilian credentials, support for military spouse employment and accommodations for members of the National Guard and Reserves.

Geisinger has demonstrated its commitment to veterans by sponsoring VetNet, an employee resource group which acts as a forum for veteran employees to connect and discuss issues important to them. A newly created position within the organization better serves the veteran community across Geisinger, including employees and candidates, by developing recruitment and training programs. 

“Geisinger recognizes veterans’ commitment to service and leadership and has created programs to build and advance the careers of military men and women,” said Chris Grill, a U.S. Army veteran and program manager of Military and Veterans Affairs at Geisinger. “We’re committed to supporting our employees serving in the Reserves and National Guard through benefits such as two weeks of paid military leave. And we help veterans interested in a career with Geisinger by providing personalized career guidance and resume and application support.” 

In addition to the Best For Vets: Employer designation, in 2020, Geisinger was designated a Military Friendly Employer and in 2019, formally joined the U.S. Army’s Partnership for Youth Success to support soldiers’ transition from the military to civilian employment. 

This year, a total of 164 organizations submitted responses to the Best for Vets: Employers survey that ran from March to July. The criteria for evaluating the companies are based on years of Military Times research, interviews with veterans and input from veterans’ advocates and human resources professionals. The survey was written, analyzed, weighted and scored in partnership with data analysts at the Veterans Research Network, formerly part of ScoutComms but now part of the Fors Marsh Group.

Find the rankings here:

“Best for Vets is editorially independent and focused on culture and policies that cater to military veterans,” says Andrew Tilghman, executive editor at Military Times. “It has become the most trusted resource for transitioning veterans and a coveted honor for employers across the country.”

To learn about Geisinger careers and veteran opportunities, visit  

Dr. Gregory H. Enders Appointed Program Director of Wright Center’s Gastroenterology Fellowship Program

Dr. Gregory H. Enders, M.D., Ph.D., a  board-certified gastroenterologist with more than 25 years of experience, has been named Program Director for The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s Gastroenterology Fellowship Program.

“Dr. Enders has been a valued member of our dedicated core faculty, but we are excited to welcome him to a leadership role. Our doctors benefit from his wealth of knowledge gathered from decades of experience as a physician, and we’re lucky to have him,” said Dr. Jumee Barooah, Designated Institutional Official for The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education.

The aim of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s Gastroenterology Fellowship Program is to advance the understanding, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases of the gastrointestinal and liver organs. Wright Center GI fellows are immersed in health systems throughout Northeast Pennsylvania, including Wright Center for Community Health primary care practices and Moses Taylor and Regional hospitals in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

A Scranton resident, Dr. Enders earned his doctorate in genetics as well as his medical degree at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he also completed the National Institutes of Health Medical Scientist Training Program. Dr. Enders is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he earned a degree in biology. He completed his residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, and his fellowship training in gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. He was a clinical and research fellow at Harvard Medical School, where he later served as an instructor.

A member of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the American Gastroenterological Association, Dr. Enders previously served as both a medicine and genetics professor at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and taught at Fox Chase Cancer Center and Temple University. He is a practicing gastroenterologist at Moses Taylor and Regional hospitals and Physicians Health Alliance, all in Scranton.

Enroll Now in Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program’s Inaugural OBDII Emissions Training Class

Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program is currently enrolling students into its inaugural OBDII Emissions Training class. The class will be held on the Johnson College campus on Monday, Oct. 26 and Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and conclude with testing on Thursday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. Space is very limited to allow for social distancing. To learn more or enroll call 570-702-8979 or email

The OBDII computer monitors a vehicle’s emission control systems in real-time and is capable of informing a motorist or technician of a systemic issue the moment it occurs. The system operates through a series of indicator lights, drive cycles, trouble codes and readiness monitors. During an inspection, an emission analyzer scan tool plugs into the diagnostic connector that is attached to the OBDII computer and communicates with the vehicle. The OBDII computer relays to the scan tool whether it has discovered errors in the emission control systems. The emission analyzer then determines whether the vehicle is being operated in compliance with emission standards. For more information visit

The class fee of $180 is paid to Johnson College and a study material and testing fee of $39.99 is paid directly to the PA Training Portal.

For additional information on Johnson College, please call 1-800-2-WE-WORK, email, or visit . Learn more about Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program at