Marywood University Ranks as Best Value Among Northeast PA Colleges in Ranking

Marywood University offers the “Best Value” among Northeast Pennsylvania Universities, according to the 2022 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges ranking. Marywood was also the highest ranked of only two local institutions included in U.S. News “Best Colleges for Veterans” category and the highest-ranked local institution for the “Top Performers in Social Media” category.

At #25 of the regional universities (North) ranked for “Best Value,” Marywood ranked the highest of the three local four-year private colleges included in this category. According to U.S. News, the “Best Value” ranking considers a school’s academic quality. The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal. Only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included, because U.S. News considers the most significant values to be among colleges that are above average academically.

Marywood University, which ranked #44 overall on the “Best Regional Universities North” list, also was the highest-ranked local university in the “Top Performers in Social Media” category at #72.

Additionally, at #39, Marywood was the highest ranked of only two local universities on the “Best Colleges for Veterans” (Regional Universities North). According to U.S. News, these are the top-ranked schools in the 2022 Best Colleges rankings that participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active-duty service members pay for their degrees.

For additional information about Marywood University, please visit, or call the Office of Admissions, at (570) 348-6234. For additional information about Marywood’s rankings in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges, please visit

Northeast Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation Awards Careers in Care Grant to Johnson College

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation has awarded Johnson College a $30,000 grant from its Careers in Care initiative. The grant will support the College’s “Widening the Pipeline for a Trained Healthcare Workforce” project designed to increase the pool of qualified, well-trained health care workers for our area.

With the grant, Johnson College will establish a mobile training laboratory to provide a hands-on experience for potential students to see and feel what it is like to work in the health care field.

The board of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation recently met with Johnson College to discuss the $30,000 grant awarded to the College in support of its “Widening the Pipeline for a Trained Health Care Workforce” project and tour the mobile training laboratory.

Photo: Front Row L-R: James Clemente, board chair, Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, Shubhra Shetty, M.D., board member, Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, Marie Roke Thomas, Ph.D., board member, Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, Donna Martucci, board member, Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, Katie Leonard, Ed.D., President & CEO, Johnson College, Karen Baker, Sr. Director of College Advancement, Johnson College, Michele McGowan, D.B.A., board member, Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, and Laura Ducceschi, President & CEO, Scranton Area Community Foundation. Back Row L-R: The Honorable Terrence Nealon, board member, Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, Robert Knowles, Vice Chairman, Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, Kerry O’Grady, board member, Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, Christopher Dressel, M.D., board member, Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, Mark Mitchell, board member, Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, James Mileski, board member, Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, Jeremiah Eagen, M.D., board member, Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, and Peter Cognetti, M.D., board member, Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation.

City Lights Church to Participate in Walk for Freedom

On October 16, abolitionists all over the world will come together to shine a spotlight on human trafficking for A21’s 7th annual Walk For Freedom. This event is a collective effort led by A21, a global anti-human trafficking organization dedicated to abolishing slavery everywhere, forever. Walk For Freedom is A21’s global response to human trafficking, rallying tens of thousands of people in cities around the world to fundraise and walk for the millions enslaved today.

A21 combats modern-day slavery through a multi-dimensional approach: Reach, Rescue, and Restore. Walk For Freedom is an integral part of A21’s efforts to reach the vulnerable and prevent human trafficking from ever happening in the first place, as well as reaching people with the information to recognize and report human trafficking.

In 2019, A21 had 500 walks in 50 countries around the world. Collectively, there were over 85 million people reached through social media. Each step mattered. Every step made a difference.

But there are millions who have yet to be freed—and we will continue to walk, to show up, and to raise awareness for the victims in our cities and around the globe still trapped in slavery. This year our local actions will multiply into a greater global impact than ever before.

A21’s hosts are rallying their communities and taking action. The event is not a protest, but a silent, single-file walk on behalf of the millions of men, women, and children who are trapped in slavery today.

City Lights Church is hosting the walk in the Scranton area. Register for the walk here. If you have any questions, please email

SBA Covid-19 Relief Programs and Services Webinar

The U.S. SBA Eastern PA District presents information on pandemic assistance and programs and services available for small businesses on October 6. This is a no cost webinar. Registration is required; register here.

Presenters: Steve Dixel, SBA Eastern Pennsylvania District Director, and Sonia Smith, Public Information Officer

Steven R. Dixel serves as the district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Eastern Pennsylvania District Office, where he is responsible for the delivery and leadership of the agency’s financial and business development programs throughout the eastern 40 counties of Pennsylvania. He has nearly 30 years of federal service, during which he has worked for three federal agencies in the Financial and Operations fields throughout his career. Prior to his appointment as district director, Dixel served as Business Operations Officer at the SBA’s Office of Field Operations, where he oversaw day-to-day financial operations, planning, and risk management affecting nearly 40% of the SBA’s workforce. Dixel also served as Senior Analyst with the SBA’s Office of Chief Financial Officer, where he provided technical financial research and analysis related to SBA’s loan portfolio and other programs. Dixel was awarded SBA’s 2014 Mission Support Award – the highest honor given to an SBA employee – by the SBA’s Administrator for demonstrating outstanding service in the successful accomplishment of SBA’s mission and strategic goals. Dixel holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics/Management and a Master of Business Administration. He is also a graduate of the Partnership for Public Services, Excellence in Government Program.

Sonia Smith joined the US Small Business Administration Eastern Pennsylvania District Office in 2013. She is SBA’s Public Information Officer for the 40 counties in Eastern Pennsylvania as well as the Economic Development/Lender Relations Specialist for Wayne and Pike Counties. Sonia is a subject matter expert on women business owners, encore entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial reentry (ex-offenders) programs, microlending, and mission-focused community-based lending. Sonia has taken the lead in SBA programs for small business such as the Rural Initiative and the Pandemic Capital Programs. In addition, Sonia manages the official Twitter account for the district office – so follow the office @SBA_EasternPA. She previously served as the Economic & Business Development Program Administrator for the County of Bucks, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the government, she founded, financed, and directed a technology company and then structured its sale to a publicly traded company after more than 10 years of operation.  Ms. Smith has an extensive career in banking with Mellon Bank (now Citizens Bank) and CoreStates Bank (now Wells Fargo). Ms. Smith is a bilingual, first-generation American and holds a B.S. degree from Penn State in Quantitative Business Analysis with an Economics Minor. Sonia, a breast cancer survivor, volunteers with Fox Chase Cancer Center as an inspirational speaker.

Peoples Security Bank & Trust Announces New Executive Hires

Peoples Security Bank & Trust Company (“PSBT”) is pleased to announce the following executive level appointments to its first business center in the state of New Jersey, which is slated for a public grand opening in October 2021.

John J. Pagano, Senior Vice President, New Jersey Market Manager 

Pagano joins the team with over 27 years of banking experience specifically within the commercial real estate market, including the multifamily sector, MHPs, grocer-anchored retail, credit-anchored retail, self storage, industrial and medical office assets. Along with his proficient management capabilities in leading high-performing teams, Pagano holds designated concentrated experience in portfolio management and client retention. Within his management role, Pagano will be instrumental in cultivating the brand’s outward visible presence in the market. As the designated primary leader, his position will also entail proactively building long-term relationships with business owners and clients throughout the region.

Prior to his hiring at Peoples Security Bank & Trust, Pagano served as Vice President/Relationship Manager at Lakeland Bank in Waldwick, NJ, in which he was responsible for originating, structuring, and negotiating commercial real estate loans throughout South Jersey, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Northern Delaware. Previously, he was appointed as Vice President at Oritani Bank in Cherry Hill, NJ, where during his tenure he structured and negotiated commercial real estate loans within the same geographic territory. Prior to that, as Vice President of Columbia Bank in Voorhees, NJ, Pagano was tasked with developing commercial real estate and construction loans while simultaneously establishing and overseeing relationships in South Jersey, as well as the Philadelphia Metro region. Pagano also held senior positions related to commercial lending activities at Amboy National Bank in Old Bridge, NJ, as well as the former United Jersey Bank (Summit Bank) in Princeton, NJ. 

Pagano earned an Associate of Science degree in Law Enforcement from Mercer County Community College, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Rider University. He also received a Certificate in Banking from the American Institute of Banking. A dedicated civic leader and passionate community volunteer, Pagano is a good standing member of the Mortgage Bankers Association. Vice Chairman & Class IV Member of the Florence Township Planning Board, he also holds active memberships with the Florence Township Environmental Commission and Florence Township Mayor’s Task Force on Affordable Housing. He is involved as a subcommittee member for the Former Roebling Steel Site Rezoning Committee, an assistant cubmaster and den leader for Roebling/Florence Pack 3, an assistant scoutmaster for Roebling/Florence Troop 3, and a fundraising chair for the Roebling Pack 3 Committee. Additionally, he is also a BSA-certified Merit Badge Counselor for the Garden State Council. Pagano is a resident of Florence, NJ. 

Thomas G. Guinan Senior Vice President, Senior Commercial Lender

Guinan joins the team with over three decades of experience in managing complex portfolios within the commercial mortgage space, construction sector, and residential loan arena. Throughout the duration of his career, Guinan has excelled in creating precise financial solutions to stimulate substantial portfolio management growth to a wide variety of clientele throughout the Tri-State area, as well as Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. In his new executive management role, Guinan will be responsible for developing new commercial business activity in the form of lending, advisory, and treasury services for the regional market. 

Prior to his recruitment to Peoples Security Bank & Trust, Guinan was most recently named as Vice President, Relationship Manager at Lakeland Bank in Waldwick, NJ. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President, Commercial Lending Office at ConnectOneBank in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. His work experience has also included serving as Executive President, Chief Lending Officer at Oritani Bank in the Township of Washington, NJ, and Senior Vice President – Commercial Lending Officer at Columbia Bank in Fair Lawn, NJ. 

Guinan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University. In his spare time, he enjoys serving as a Public Member of the Bergen County Bar Ethics Committee, a Trustee of the Bergen County Bar Foundation, and a Trustee of the Hackensack Golf Club. Guinan is a resident of Wyckoff, NJ.  

“The extraordinary talent and experience of these two professionals will provide depth and added value to our new and existing customers of Peoples Security Bank & Trust in the New Jersey market,” remarked Neal Koplin, Senior Executive Vice President – Chief Banking Officer. “With the support of a strong leadership team in John and Tom, we look forward to welcoming new customers and providing enhanced services to existing customers across this region in the near future.” 

For customers wishing to schedule a virtual or in-person meeting with either Mr. Pagano or Mr. Guinan before the business center opens in October 2021, they may email: or

NeighborWorks NEPA Announces Grant for Aging in Place Services

Staff from NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania were joined today by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) to announce the receipt of a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) for the expansion ofAging in Place Services in Lackawanna and Wayne Counties.

Awarded as part of HUD’s Older Adult Home Modification Program (OAHMP), the grant will fund safety upgrades and home improvement projects in 225 homes to meet the needs of low-income elderly homeowners in Lackawanna and Wayne counties.

“Seniors across the nation have made their desire to live in their own homes resoundingly clear, which is why the work that NeighborWorks does is so vital,” said Senator Casey. “These dollars will go directly to seniors who need services and supports such as safety adjustments, home repairs and accessibility modifications that will allow them to live safely and with dignity. I look forward to seeing the benefits that will reach Northeastern Pennsylvania seniors as a result of this grant and I will continue to advocate for a historic federal investment in home and community-based services.”

“The Office of Lead Hazard Control & Healthy Homes is excited to broaden our scope to include the Older Adults Home Modification Program (OAHMP),” Yolanda Brown, Lead and Healthy Homes Program Division Director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said of the program expansion. “OAHMP provides funding to assess the needs of low-income, elderly homeowners and make home modifications that are responsive to those needs. The work made possible by these funds help to make activities of daily living (e.g. eating, cooking, moving around the home) easier for our beneficiaries and extend their opportunity to safely age-in-place.”

“We are most thankful for the support of Senator Casey and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in supporting our Aging in Place program with this significant investment,” Jesse Ergott, NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania President & CEO, said of the award. “Being able to reach more older adults in Lackawanna County, together with the expansion of Aging in Place services in Wayne County, will make a profound impact for the good of older adults in Northeastern Pennsylvania.”

Since its inception in 2015, the Aging in Place program of NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania has provided homeowners aged 60 and above with services that focus on assisting them to continue living safely and with dignity in their home and community. Services provided as part of the Aging in Place program include critical safety modifications, home repairs, senior isolation prevention, financial coaching, and more.

NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania is one of 32 grant recipients across the United States to be receiving funding in this round of OAHMP awards; other grant recipients include local and state government entities, nonprofit agencies, and public housing authorities. Altogether, more than 5,000 beneficiaries nationwide will be reached by services that will assist seniors in continuing to live in their homes.

Lackawanna County residents seeking Aging in Place services should contact the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging at 570-963-6707 to ask for an Aging in Place referral. Wayne County residents seeking Aging in Place services are asked to contact the Wayne County Area Agency on Aging by calling 570-253-4262.