Scranton Awards First ARPA Grants for Small Business Development

The City of Scranton awarded nearly $350,000 to support the creation and expansion of small businesses on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. Businesses applied in the Fall of 2022 for the grants that are part of the City’s $68.7 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

“By investing in small businesses, we’re helping others create new jobs, revitalize buildings, and find solutions to emerging problems in our community,” Mayor Paige G. Cognetti announced at Downtown Deli, 300 Biden St., Scranton. “Our first ARPA Startup and Expansion grants support businesses that are as diverse as the City itself, and there’s still more grant money to help others realize their dream of building or growing their business right here in Scranton.”

Through a spending plan approved by City Council in May 2022, the City allocated a total of $1.25 million to support the creation and expansion of Scranton’s small businesses. Applications opened in September 2022, but the City revised grant guidelines in November to make funding more accessible. Applicants can receive up to 25% of eligible costs in their startup or expansion project budget, with a $100,000 limit per business. Approximately $900,000 remains to support startup and expansion projects, and submissions are under constant review. Applications remain open, and funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applications were weighed based upon the City’s ARPA mission, which aims to give people access to resources, rebuild infrastructure systems that impact everyday life, and foster equitable wealth generation targeting residents’ needs. All applications were reviewed by the City, compliance consultants from Anser Advisory, and representatives of both the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania for business sustainability and duplication of benefits, among other factors.

At Tuesday’s announcement, Mayor Cognetti was joined by grant recipients including Downtown Deli, Retro Café, and Unison Workforce Technologies.

“This project is three years in the making. We had the idea to expand into a catering business before the pandemic, but we needed a little extra help to get it off the ground,” said Downtown Deli General Manager Denise Leppo. “It’s wonderful to get this funding from the City to finally get up and running.”

“We have been developing our app FYSH (Fuel Your Side Hustle) for over a year now! Covid really delayed our project, yet we continued to pay our staff through the entire pandemic,” added Marilyn Major, CEO of Unison Workforce. “I am so appreciative of Mayor Cognetti and the city for this generous funding that will help make our app successful so we can hire more people in the near future.”

Grant recipients, the funding they will receive, and their project details, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Downtown Deli, 300 Biden Street, $77,234 towards the addition of catering services, including the physical expansion of their downtown footprint along Biden Street for both food preparation and service. The Deli will also build a new accessible restroom.
  • Little Wild Refillery, 343 N. Washington Avenue, $19,376 for the ongoing support of the seven-month-old sustainable goods and zero-waste shop, including the creation of a new part-time position. The business previously received a $5,000 Small Business Microgrant from the City.
  • Nlyten Corp., doing business as GUIDE, located at the Scranton Enterprise Center, 201 Lackawanna Avenue, $100,000 for the tech startup’s creation of multiple full-time positions, with a focus on hiring recent graduates of local colleges and universities. The company anticipates a February 2023 launch of its GUIDE mobile app, which is designed to deliver proven behavioral health and wellness practices to veterans and first responders, empowering them to resolve past trauma, improve their well-being, and achieve their highest potential. Details at
  • Retro Café, 1139 Capouse Avenue, $53,000 for the conversion of a former derelict and condemned Lackawanna County Landbank property into a new café in the Pine Brook section. Funding will support construction costs, inventory, payroll, and more. Retro Café previously received a $70,000 loan-to-grant from the Scranton Office of Community and Economic Development to help fund two new employees.
  • Unison Workforce Technologies, located at the Scranton Enterprise Center 201 Lackawanna Avenue, $100,000 for the ongoing development of its mobile application “FY$H – Fuel Your Side Hustle,” an app designed to support the thriving self-employed gig economy. Grant funding will support user experience development, quality testing, and an ambitious employment growth plan through 2025.

The City also announced a $25,000 ARPA grant for small business financial recovery to Crotti’s on Ash, 1431 Ash Street.

ARPA funding opportunities for small businesses remain open. The second round of applications for business recovery grants of up to $25,000 and Wage Boost grants of up to $50,000 over two years closes on January 31. Façade improvement grants of up to $10,000 remain open with applications closing in September. Information about Scranton’s ARPA plan is online at

  • ARPA funding supports 25% of business development and expansion budgets.
  • The first five organizations will receive a total of $349,610.
  • Nearly all projects include plans for job creation directly in the City.

Oakwood Terrace offers Independent, Assisted, and Memory Care Services.

Oakwood Terrace offers memory care services in a personal care home setting.

Focusing on awareness, acceptance, and assistance, the dedicated staff at Oakwood Terrace helps those dealing with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia to cope and even thrive. Since 1996, our team has been trained and aims to provide a pleasant, safe, and engaging home for our residents and support for their loved ones.

Daily life at Oakwood Terrace allows our residents to enjoy a home and family-like setting where good neighbors become good friends. Our residents like to interact socially as well as participate in daily activities.

Our residences provide social interaction, personal space, and a supportive community, just like our programs provide support, stimulation, and education.

Our gated community provides safety, security, and peace of mind for all our residents and their families.

FNCB Bank Adopts Families

Employees from FNCB Bank, locally based since 1910, recently donated $1,100 in grocery gift cards and 200 gifts to 11 local families as part of the Bank’s annual “Adopt-A-Family” holiday project. 

More than 200 FNCB staff members participated this year in Adopt-a-Family, the Bank’s signature holiday gift-giving event. The program matches local families in need from the Catherine McAuley Centers of Lackawanna and Luzerne County, Children and Youth Services of Wayne County and Victims Intervention Program in Honesdale with those wishing to donate.

“Since launching the program eight years ago, 91 families have been matched as well as filling wish lists at three amazing organizations,” said Mike Cummings, Senior Vice President, Marketing Manager. “Our team really gets behind this effort to make a difference in our community.”

The Adopt-a-Family project is part of FNCB’s larger Community Caring initiative. As a true, local community bank, FNCB is making a difference through volunteerism, donations, and outreach programs.

2023 EMPOWER Teen Scholarship Program

Scranton, PA – The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce announces the launch of a scholarship program to promote leadership development. The EMPOWER Teen Scholarship Program is a unique opportunity for teens to attend the Chamber’s EMPOWER NEPA Women’s Leadership Conference, presented by Geisinger. The EMPOWER Teen Scholarship Program is sponsored by The Honesdale National Bank.

The EMPOWER Teen Scholarship program will provide teens with an opportunity to attend the EMPOWER NEPA Women’s Leadership Conference on April 13, 2023. Teens will hear from two keynote speakers that include Emmy award winner: Melissa Gilbert and world-renown communicator: Robyn Hatcher. The lessons and networking opportunities presented to the teens at the EMPOWER Conference will provide unique learning opportunities outside of the traditional classroom. The cost to attend the conference will be covered by the scholarship.

Robert Durkin, President of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce shares, “Including these young students in the exciting environment of the EMPOWER Conference is a great element of this event. Their presence and energy will add to the experience of the adult participants, while the students will see that for successful business professionals learning is a life-long commitment.”

The EMPOWER Teen Scholarship Program will provide 20 scholarships in 2023. The scholarships are open to teens aged 16 to 18 that are currently enrolled in high school and have a grade point average (GPA) that falls between 2.5—3.0. A maximum of two teens per school will be selected.

“The Teen Scholarship Program will provide teens in our community with better visibility to their limitless potential and the gumption to grab the reigns of their future,” said, Elizabeth Nagy, VP, Director of Sales, Marketing, and Digital for The Honesdale National Bank. “The conference’s content, networking resources, and motivational atmosphere will shepherd earlier and necessary acknowledgment of self-worth and capability to drive growth and change.”

To apply for a scholarship, students should visit and look for the EMPOWER conference tab the last day to submit applications is January 31.

This is a competitive selection process and not all applicants can be selected. Completion of the application does not ensure acceptance. Scholarships will be announced in February 2023.

About The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organization that works to improve the area’s economic environment and quality of life by offering programs and services which stimulate economic growth, promote business prosperity and nurture educational opportunities. For more information about the Chamber, visit

CCA to Host Virtual Career Fair and Exploration

Are you interested in exploring career paths in a variety of sectors or looking for a new job?

In partnership with the Pennsylvania National Guard Associations (PNGAS), CCA students and families are invited to attend CCA’s first-ever Virtual Career Fair and Exploration event.

  • Speak with employers from a variety of industries about the training, skills, and education necessary to work in a specific field.
  • Explore higher education opportunities available across the commonwealth, such as colleges and universities that offer two- and four-year degrees, skilled-trade programs, and apprenticeships.
  • Enter a different industry or secure a new job.
  • Bring your resume and be prepared to interview online with hiring managers and recruiters from companies across Pennsylvania.

Johnson College Receives Grant Supporting New STEM Program

Johnson College has received a $65,000 PPL Foundation Major Grant. These funds will support a new STEM Learning Labs after-school program for economically-disadvantaged students from diverse backgrounds.

Throughout the program, students will use hands-on learning and activities to discover and explore potential careers in STEM fields. In a supportive environment that will encourage creativity and lifelong learning, students will work with technology such as Lego Mindstorms, Kinex, robotic arms, 3-D printing, electric circuits, and Ozobot robotic computer programming.

The program is designed for seventh and eighth-grade students from Lackawanna County school districts including Nativity Miguel, Old Forge, Riverside, and Scranton. During this five-week program, students will meet after school three times per week for four weeks at their home school. During the fifth week, students will attend programming at Johnson College for additional hands-on experience with more advanced equipment.

The PPL Foundation’s Major Grant program makes annual awards through a competitive application and review process.

This year, the PPL Foundation received more than 100 applications during this highly competitive grant cycle. Johnson College was one of 17 organizations to be selected for an award.

“We are continuously inspired by the caring, commitment and creativity of the many nonprofit organizations such as Johnson College who make a lasting difference in our communities, and this year’s grant recipients are no exception. We’re proud to support their efforts,” said Ryan Hill, PPL Foundation president.

For more information about the program, contact Tim Frank, Johnson College Associate Director of Community Engagement, at or at (570) 702-8963.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Continues Their Annual Holiday Wish Program

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) District 4 continued its annual Holiday Wish Program in 2022. Santa arrived on a PennDOT dump truck to bring gifts to 40 children from the Head Start Program in Lackawanna County.

PennDOT employees also provided a gift to 52 people, including children and adults from the Domestic Violence Service Center in Luzerne County and three angels from the Lackawanna County Adopt an Angel Program.  PennDOT has been running this program since 2010.  The funds for the gifts come from the generosity of PennDOT’s District 4 employees.

Pictured Left to Right:

Jennifer Borino, Chad Faraday, Marsha Boland, Theodore Ritsick (Santa), Kaitlyn Drumheller, Tonya Decker, Steve Taylor, Tom Bradley and Eddie Karwaski

MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Taluto, (570) 963.3502

PennDOT Announces Funding Opportunity for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grants

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for Round 1 of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Grant program. The application period will open on February 24, 2023 until 5:00 PM EST on April 6, 2023.

“The NEVI Grant Program provides an opportunity for Pennsylvania to build out our EV charging infrastructure,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We’ve created this grant program with considerations of equity in mind, with scoring to ensure local workforce and diversity in partnerships.”

As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), PennDOT will receive and distribute $171.5 million in federal formula funds for electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure over the next five years. For the Round 1 funding, PennDOT has advanced appropriations of $25.4 million for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2022 and $36.5 million for FFY 2023. Some of this amount may be used for labor & workforce training, planning, outreach, and program management as allowed by NEVI guidelines. Approximately $56 million is anticipated to be available for applicants.  The PA NEVI grant program is a reimbursement grant program and applicants are required to provide a minimum 20% match. 

Funds for the PA NEVI grant program are to be awarded on a competitive basis to plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain EV Station Infrastructure sites across Pennsylvania. 

Most entities are eligible to receive NEVI funds; however, PennDOT anticipates most applicants will be public-sector entities, incorporated nonprofit entities, and corporations or business entities registered to do business in Pennsylvania.

The NEVI grant funding supports the commonwealth and federal goal of expanding EV charging along the previously designated (AFCs) (list) and Interstate lookalikes. Pennsylvania has over 1,800 miles of AFCs. Per the guidance from U.S. DOT, NEVI formula funds must first be used to “build out” designated AFCs (no more than 50 miles between stations and less than 1 mile from an exit) and meet U.S. DOT minimum standards and requirements. The PA NEVI grant program includes multiple rounds of funding. During Round 1, the focus will be on building out the AFC network along the interstates to meet the NEVI requirements.

PennDOT has created an interactive map identifying existing AFC-qualifying stations and has grouped interchanges based on priority through a gap analysis. In addition, PennDOT’s NOFO includes instructions and information on the grant program, eligibility, scoring criteria, submission process and instructions. Interested parties can view the NOFO on PennDOT’s website.

All applications must be submitted electronically through PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s eGrants system at by 5:00 PM EST on April 6, 2023.

Please submit questions about the NOFO or how to apply to In addition, frequently asked questions and answers will be posted publicly online. For more information on NEVI funds in Pennsylvania and to review PennDOT’s pre-announcement resources, visit the PennDOT website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Alexis Campbell, or 717-783-8800

FNCB Bank Promotes Karen Smith to Senior Vice President

FNCB Bank, locally based since 1910, today announced that Karen M. Smith has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Relationship Manager III.

In her new role, Ms. Smith will be responsible for managing commercial relationships, as well as developing referral relationships and conducting various sales-related activities.

She joined FNCB Bank in 2000 as a teller and has held numerous positions in her more than 20-year career. Most recently, she served as Vice President, Commercial Officer.

Ms. Smith is a graduate of Bishop O’Reilly High School and King’s College where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a minor in Finance. She earned a MBA from Misericordia University where she was inducted into the Misericordia University Sigma Beta Delta International Business Honor Society. She completed Leadership Lackawanna for Leadership Fundamentals and the PA Bankers Advanced School of Commercial Lending and is NMLS licensed. An active member of the community, she is a past board member of the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce and a member of the FNCB Cares Committee.

She resides in Jenkins Township with her daughter Kayla.

About FNCB Bank

FNCB Bank, locally-based since 1910, continues as one of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s premier community banks — offering a full suite of personal, small business, mortgage and commercial banking solutions with industry-leading mobile, online and in-branch products and services. FNCB remains dedicated to the communities they serve with an on-going mission to make your banking experience simply better. Voted Best Bank and Best Place to Work. Named one of the top 200 Community Banks in America.