NEPIRC CEO Appointed to Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) recently announced the appointment of 10 individuals, including Eric Joseph Esoda, president and CEO of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC), to the Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee (IGPAC).

The full roster of appointees, consisting of tribal, local, regional and state representatives, includes:

  • Eric Joseph Esoda, president and CEO, Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center
  • Sam Cho, commissioner, Port of Seattle
  • James Collard, director of planning and economic development, Citizen Potawatomi Nation
  • Emily Desai, deputy director of international affairs and trade, California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development
  • Yusuf Hakeem, Tennessee State House Representative
  • Rory Hoskins, mayor of Forest Park, Illinois
  • Mike Matson, mayor of Davenport, Iowa
  • Laurence Reszetar, director of international business strategy, Minnesota Trade Office
  • Daphnee Sainvil, division manager, Government Affairs and Economic Development, City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Eugene Seroka, executive director, The Port of Los Angeles

“This highly qualified group of stakeholders and elected officials represent diverse backgrounds, interests and priorities, and I congratulate them on joining this important committee,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “The IGPAC is a critical link that ensures USTR’s work is responsive to needs of all people in the United States,” she added.

The new appointees will join five existing members of the committee. The IGPAC provides general policy advice to the United States Trade Representative on issues involving trade and development that have a significant relationship to the affairs of U.S. state and local governments. Advisement areas may include negotiation objectives and bargaining positions prior to entering into multinational trade agreements, the anticipated or actual impacts of implementing trade agreements, ongoing or other matters relating to previously executed trade agreements or general matters regarding the trade policies of the United States. The Committee is comprised of members who have expertise in general trade, investment and development issues.

As a member of the committee, Esoda will represent the concerns and opinions of small and mid-sized domestic manufacturers. Esoda brings more than 20 years of economic development experience, coupled with private consulting and business advising expertise. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Scranton, a master’s degree in accounting from Binghamton University and certification in diversity and inclusion from Cornell University. He is currently pursuing a business strategy certificate from Cornell University.   

Scranton Cultural Center Postpones Production

Scranton Cultural Center and the production of “Late Nite Catechism,” originally scheduled for October 15, has been postponed to February 4 at 3:00 PM in Shopland Hall.  “Late Nite Catechism” is presented by Entertainment Events, Inc.

All tickets for tonight’s performance will be honored at the new date. Patrons can contact their original point of purchase or the SCC’s Fidelity Bank Box Office at (570) 344-1111 with any questions.

Wright Center Leader Selected To Sit On Pennsylvania Mental Health Planning Council

Scott Constantini, associate vice president of primary care and recovery services integration for The Wright Center for Community Health, has been named to a three-year term on the Pennsylvania Mental Health Planning Council’s (MHPC) Adult Advisory Committee.

The Adult Advisory Committee is one of three MHPC committees under the direction of the deputy secretary of the state’s Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS).

Before he was promoted to his current role in 2022, Constantini served for six years as the director of behavioral health at The Wright Center for Community Health. In his current role, he collaborates with hospitals, school districts, public health agencies, government entities, and other community partners to expand access to and improve behavioral services across the region. He also sits on the Lackawanna County Overdose Fatality Review Committee under the direction of county District Attorney Mark Powell.

Constantini has a strong track record of developing sustainable projects in the recovery and primary care realms, working with the state Department of Health Services, Department of Health, and Department of Drug and Alcohol programs through The Wright Center for Community Health’s Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence program, the Pennsylvania Coordinated Medication Assisted Treatment Program and a variety of other key programs designed to improve the behavioral health of Pennsylvanians.

He also oversees various federal grants to expand addiction services, such as medications for opiate use disorder, to address the opiate overdose crisis.

“I will represent The Wright Center for Community Health, our patients, and the region with integrity and pride to help guide the state on the future of mental health services across Pennsylvania,” he said. “As we know, there is a lot of work to be done.”

The MHPC consists of three committees: The Children’s Advisory, Adult Advisory, and Older Adult Advisory committees. They aim to advise on a broad behavioral mandate that includes mental health, substance misuse, behavioral health disorders, and cross-system disability.

WVIA Receives Grant Funding For New Local Reporter

WVIA has been awarded an $80,000 grant through the Williamsport Lycoming Competitive Grant Program at the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania. This grant will support the addition of a dedicated, full-time WVIA News reporter to exclusively cover Williamsport and the Lycoming County region. 

WVIA News is currently composed of a News Director and five full-time journalists who, along with freelance writers, videographers, and photographers, bring detailed community stories to life from many perspectives within Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. WVIA News was founded in 2022 and has been rapidly growing, gaining momentum fueled by the generous support from local communities and the increased demand for a trusted source for local nonprofit journalism.

In a recent survey conducted by WVIA News, 53.7% of respondents stated that they are only somewhat satisfied with the local news options available to them, and 65.9% stated that it is very important to them that a news outlet covers local news. Residents of Lycoming County made up a substantial portion of the survey responses.

WVIA’s Senior Director of Education and Grants, Vicki Austin, commented, “I am thrilled that the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania recognizes the value of a reporter dedicated to Williamsport and Lycoming County, and is providing the support needed for WVIA News to make it happen. This investment in news for the health of the community reflects the Foundation’s vision to create powerful communities through passionate giving.”

As a trusted, legacy organization serving our region for over fifty years, WVIA covers 22 counties and has a unique coverage area. For the past three years WVIA President & CEO, Carla McCabe, has prioritized local content and the creation and growth of the News Team with solid support and guidance from WVIA’s Board of Directors.

WVIA is dedicated to expanding its News Team and developing reporters who can focus on regional issues in its varied communities. “Williamsport City and Lycoming County as a whole are priorities for WVIA News,” said WVIA President & CEO, Carla McCabe. “An embedded journalist that can report exclusively on topics affecting these areas while developing collaborative relationships with journalists from other regional outlets will allow WVIA to further our mission in this region.” 

“From the beginning, WVIA News has been asking people what they want from local journalism, and what we’ve heard is quite clear,” says News Director, Julie Sidoni. “They want the best information they can find about important happenings in their communities. This new reporter ensures that the people who live in Williamsport and Lycoming County will have someone dedicated to telling the stories that matter to them most.” 

This is the second grant-funded news position for WVIA in 2023. These additions to WVIA’s growing news department are evidence of the level of support from donors and the community for local non-profit journalism, and the level of commitment from WVIA to fill the need for such. 

The Williamsport Lycoming Competitive Grant Program is made possible through the generosity of multiple field of interest funds.

Abert F. and Edythe B. Hardt Fund

Alfred A. DiCenso and Robert L. Ellison Foundation Fund

Catherine E. Reardon Fund

Charles J. Plankenhorn Fund

Dietrick Lamade Fund

Dr. Marshall D. Welch, Jr. Fund

Elizabeth C. Kackenmeister Fund

Elizabeth S. Metzger Fund

Fairman R. Megahan Fund

Frances Piatt Frey Fund

Frederic T. Moore Fund I

Frederic T. Moore Fund II

George A. & Shirley S. Durrwachter Fund

George R. Lamade Fund

Harold W. and Grace L. Biehler Memorial Fund

Herbert P. Haskin Memorial Fund

Hortense Sherman Fund

Howard J. and George R. Lamade Family Fund

James B. Graham Fund

John G. Snowden Fund

Lawrence E. Maroney Fund

Louis A. Wetzel Fund

Margaret R. Brown Fund

Marion Mallinson and Marion Clinger Fisher Fund

Mattie E. Clark Fund

May Heilman Spangle Fund

Myron H. McBride and Gertrude H. McBride Fund

Olga Lehman Fund

Peter and Rosemarie DePasquale Fund

R. H. Confair Family Fund

Reverend Thomas P. Simmons Wilson and Ida G. Wilson Memorial Fund

Thomas L. Stearns Fund

Van Buskirk-Rothrock Fund

William C. Heilman Fund

William H. Plummer Fund

Williamsport Lycoming Community Fund

PennDOT Hosts Public Meeting For The Route 347 Project In Lackawanna County

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) invites the public to a Public Meeting with Plans Display regarding the Route 347, Section 253 Culvert Project.

The SR 347 Section 253 project involves improvements to the crossing of SR 347 over Kennedy Creek in Scott Township, Lackawanna County. The project proposes to replace an existing metal arch culvert with a new reinforced concrete box culvert. The existing culvert is experiencing deterioration with scour distress that requires corrective action to sustain a safe crossing at this location.

The new culvert has been designed to match the hydraulic performance of the original culvert and maintain the existing floodplains so as not to adversely affect adjacent property owners. Roadway improvements associated with the project include full-depth reconstruction in the vicinity of the culvert, providing lane and shoulder widths meeting current design criteria. Additionally, new guide rail and pavement markings will be provided throughout the project limits. Only minor utility impacts are anticipated to construct the project.

Public Meeting

The in-person public display meeting for both projects will take place at: 

Time: 7:00 PM

Date: Thursday, October 17, 2023

Location: Scott Township Building (1038 Montdale Road, Scott Township, PA, 18447)

The public comment period is from October 2, 2023 – October 31, 2023. The plans display will be held online and will be available from October 2, 2023, to November 3, 2023. Online information, including detailed project information and comment form, can be found by visiting the following PennDOT District 4-0 website: Route 347, Section 253 Culvert Project (

The purpose of the plans display is to introduce the project, display and describe the planned traffic control, and receive public input regarding questions or concerns with the project.

The project documents can be made available in alternative languages or formats if requested. If you need translation/interpretation services or have special needs or have special concerns that require individual attention, contact Mr. Charles Reuther, PennDOT Project Manager, at

Keystone College Signs Articulation Agreement With Another Community College

Keystone College and Northampton Community College (NCC) have signed an articulation agreement enabling students who obtain associate degrees from NCC to seamlessly transfer to Keystone to pursue their bachelor’s degrees.     

Under the partnership, NCC students who graduate with an associate degree and meet transfer requirements will be guaranteed admission into similar Keystone bachelor’s degree programs. The partnership enables students to know that courses they have successfully completed at NCC will apply to their bachelor’s degree program at Keystone. 

Signing the Keystone College/Northampton Community College  Articulation Agreement are, from left, Keystone Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Andra Basu, Ph.D.; Keystone President John F. Pullo, Sr; NCC President David A. Ruth, Ph..D.; and NCC Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Marc Singer, Ed.D.   

“This partnership agreement is a wonderful opportunity for both Keystone College and Northampton Community College to provide additional pathways to students of all ages as they pursue their educational and career goals,” said Keystone President John F. Pullo, Sr. “The more options students have, the more professional opportunities they will have as well.” 

The programs in the articulation agreement are:

  • Accounting, A.AS. to Financial Planning, B.S. and Accounting, B.S.
    • Business Administration, A.A. to Supply Chain Management, B.S.
    • Hospitality Management, A.A.S. to Hospitality Business Management, B.S.
    • Sport Management, A.A. to eSport and Gaming Management, B.S. and Sport and Recreation Management, B.S.
    • Biological Science A.S. to Health Science, B.S.
    • Early Childhood Education, A.A.S. to Early Childhood Education B.S. (certification) and Child and Family Studies, B.S. in Teaching (non-certification)

“In our efforts to partner with four-year institutions, the articulation agreements with Keystone College provide an unrestricted and convenient road to earning a bachelor’s degree, allowing our students to concentrate on reaching their goals with ease,” said NCC President David A. Ruth, Ph.D. 

Recognized as one of the best educational values in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Keystone offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree options in liberal arts and science-based programs in business, communications, education, natural science, environmental science, and social sciences.

Located on a beautiful 276-acre campus 15 minutes from Scranton, Pa. and two hours from New York City and Philadelphia, Keystone is known for small class sizes and individual attention focused on student success through internships, research, and community involvement.

With an enduring commitment to the regional community it serves and a focus on student success, NCC has developed a reputation as an institution of extraordinary distinction, earning accolades at the state and national levels for innovative programs, outstanding faculty and impressive student achievements.

The University of Scranton Sets October and November Open House Dates

The University of Scranton will host two Open House events for prospective students and their families on Sunday, Oct. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 5.

Inspired by its Catholic and Jesuit mission, Scranton provides a rigorous, in-depth education designed for personal and professional success. For 30 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Scranton among the 10 top Master’s Universities in the North. The Princeton Review included Scranton in its list “Best Colleges” for 22 consecutive years and in its ranking of the nation’s “Best Science Labs” (No. 18) for seven years, among other rankings.

At the Open House, participants can learn about Scranton’s 70 undergraduate majors, meet with faculty, students, admissions counselors and financial aid representatives. Participants can also learn about Scranton’s five honors programspre-lawpre-medial and pre-health professions programs. Student-led tours of the campus, located in Northeast Pennsylvania, will be conducted throughout the day and will include residence halls, dining halls, computer labs, science labs and academic facilities.

In addition, representatives of student organizations, athletic teams and Scranton’s Honors Programs, will be available.

For additional information, contact Scranton’s Admissions Office at 1-888-SCRANTON or visit Scranton’s Open House webpage.

Marywood University Master of Social Work Students Field Experience in South Korea

Three Marywood University Master of Social Work (MSW) students, including Jade Shomper, Gabrielle Stauffer, and Kevin Conroy, along with Sister Angela Kim, IHM, professor in Marywood’s School of Social Work, recently returned from four weeks of international field education and scholarly experience in South Korea. 

Marywood MSW students, who recently had a month-long field experience in South Korea, are joined by students of WooSong University.

The graduate social work students studied the differences in ideology and culture between Asian and Western cultures, developed a clear understanding of the global context of social work education and practice, witnessed the evidence-based social work education and practice in South Korea, and the importance of integrating the culture, values, and belief systems into service provision and community development.

“This international field experience trip to South Korea was a transformative experience for the MSW students,” said Sister Angela.

The group from Marywood presented a series of lectures to social work and early childhood students and faculty members of the WooSong University, with more than 200 in attendance. In addition, the MSW students and Sister Angela engaged with 14 different community social service agencies and the national health institution, talked to social service administrators and practitioners, government officials, and social work students and faculty members.

This global social work education and international field experience was funded through the Antonia and Hans Schierling Grant and collaboration between Marywood University’s Office of Global Education, the MSW Program Field Education, and Social Work department of Woosong University in South Korea.