Fidelity Bank Awards $833,000 to Non-Profits and Educational Institutions

Fidelity Bank recently presented several area non-profit organizations and educational institutions with Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) funds totaling $833,000.

Here are some of the recipients of some of Fidelity Bank’s latest donations.

  1. F.M. Kirby Center
  2. Greater Hazelton Partners in Education
  3. Wyoming Valley Montessori School
  4. Misericordia University
  5. WVIA
  6. Wilkes-Barre Academy
  7. Wyoming Free Library

“We are proud to support various community programs that are committed to educational excellence with an eye toward students’ futures,” said Daniel J. Santaniello, President & CEO of Fidelity Bank. “Fidelity Bank is grateful for the opportunity to invest in generations to come through allocating funds through the EITC program.”

The Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program provides tax credits to eligible businesses contributing to scholarship and educational improvement organizations. In keeping with Fidelity Bank’s commitment to support the communities it serves, the program benefits students in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. Through partnerships between local businesses, parents, and scholarship organizations, EITC funding gives local students opportunities for better educational outcomes.

The Chamber and Skills in Scranton to Host Annual Workforce Summit on April 4

Skills in Scranton, the workforce development affiliate of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, hosts the fourth annual Workforce Summit and Career Fair on Thursday, April 4, at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel.

The event will supply invaluable resources for individuals seeking career advancement opportunities and professional development in northeastern Pennsylvania. Attendees can look forward to engaging speaker presentations focusing on career readiness and exploring various career pathways. The panelists, representing organizations from across the region, will share insights, strategies, and best practices to empower attendees in navigating their professional journeys.

“We are thrilled to host the annual Workforce Summit and Career Fair, bringing together professionals, organizations, and aspiring individuals from our community,” said Emily Pettinato, workforce development specialist at the Chamber. “This event underscores our commitment to fostering talent development, bridging the gap between education and employment, and driving economic growth in our region.”

Teri Ooms, executive director of The Institute, will provide the keynote session titled “State of the Workforce.” Ooms will educate the audience on crucial insights into the current state of the workforce, trends, challenges, and opportunities for both employers and job seekers in the greater Scranton region.

New to the Workforce Summit this year is the significant participation of high school seniors from Lackawanna County schools. It’s expected that 194 high school students will attend on Thursday, April 4. This initiative aims to guide and inspire the next generation of professionals in discovering their career pathways, equipping them with essential knowledge and resources for future success.

Tickets for the event are still available for purchase at

WVIA News Announces the Addition of a Reporter

WVIA is thrilled to announce the addition of a new reporter to its growing news team. Sarah Hofius Hall will join the team with a focus on local and regional education stories in northeastern and central Pennsylvania, providing dedicated coverage and transparency on the topics that affect one of the most vulnerable populations in any region; the youth and those that serve them. 

A trusted subject matter expert, Hall comes to WVIA with a wealth of experience in journalism and education. She was previously employed by The Times-Tribune in Scranton since 2006. For nearly all of that time, she covered education, visiting the region’s classrooms and reporting on issues important to students, teachers, families and taxpayers. Her reporting ranges from covering controversial school closure plans and analyzing test scores, to uncovering wasteful spending and highlighting the inspirational work done by the region’s educators. 

“We are excited to welcome Sarah to the WVIA News team,” says WVIA News Director Julie Sidoni. “She is an experienced journalist with a deep understanding of the local education system and the issues that matter to our communities. Her talent, dedication, and diverse perspectives will be invaluable as we continue to provide our communities with essential news and information.”

Hall’s work has been recognized by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, Society of Professional Journalists and Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association. She received her degree in journalism from Ithaca College and resides in Clarks Summit with her family.

“I’m excited to bring my years of experience to a wider audience at WVIA,” said Hall. “I’m encouraged and inspired by the station’s commitment to covering the news important to residents of this region, and I’m honored to have a role in that. As the education reporter, I look forward to visiting classrooms and campuses, telling important stories that can have a significant impact.”

Bucking the national trends of shrinking staff and non-local ownership groups, WVIA continues to grow – and is quickly becoming the source for balanced, local news throughout the 22-county region it serves. Founded in 2022, WVIA News now features a team of seven full-time journalists.

“One of the core elements of the WVIA mission has always been education. We strive to educate our communities and provide support to our local schools, and we have done so since the 1970s,” stated WVIA President & CEO Carla McCabe. “We are ecstatic that we are able to take that a step further by providing education specific news coverage, ensuring an informed public and accountability on behalf of our educational institutions. When it comes to education, WVIA is an advocate, a resource, and now, a watchdog.”

Learn more about WVIA’s News Impact here.

Johnson College Enrolling Students Into Distance Learning Program

Johnson College is now enrolling for its Fall 2023 Distance Learning Program for high school and adult students in Wayne, Pike, and Susquehanna counties.  It creates a direct route for students to complete any of Johnson College’s seventeen 2-year associate’s degree programs and ultimately a fulfilling career with family-sustaining wages while staying in their communities. To learn more about this program or to register for courses listed below, please visit or email the Johnson College enrollment team at

Students will have interactive, two-way access to Johnson College faculty and participate in remote education, discussions, testing, and skill demonstrations via high-tech telecommunications equipment in classrooms at Forest City Regional High School, Honesdale High School, Wallenpaupack Area High School, and Western Wayne High School. Furthermore, Lakeville Library, Newfoundland Library, and Pleasant Mount Library will be equipped with laptops to give community residents access to career exploration services and information about courses at Johnson College. 

In addition to the distance learning opportunity this program provides, students will have access to Johnson College’s full array of on-campus support services including tutoring, counseling, career services, financial aid, internship opportunities, and exposure to industry from day one. Distance learning will help high school and adult students reach their full potential and connect with the region’s essential careers already in demand.

Distance learning courses available at all participating high schools will include:

VMR 151-1 Introduction to Vehicle Maintenance and Repair – Tuesdays, 2 to 3:50 p.m.

PRG 103-1 C Sharp – Tuesdays, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

BUS 101-1 Introduction to Business – Mondays, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

WTC 153-3 Gas Metal and Flux Cored Arc Welding – Tuesdays, 5 to 5:50 p.m.

WTC 154-3 Gas Metal and Flux Cored Arc Welding I Lab – Thursdays, 5 to 9 p.m.

Lackawanna College’s President Recognized

Lackawanna College’s President and Chief Innovation Officer, Jill Murray, Ph.D., ranked 37 in City & State Pennsylvania’s 2023 Higher Education Power 100. Dr. Murray became Lackawanna College’s first female president, previously serving as its executive vice president from 2012 to 2020. Under her leadership, Lackawanna College was named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company Magazine for its Level Up program, which compresses the bachelor’s degree timeline.

Dr. Murray’s professional training initiatives include the Center for Technology Innovation, offering STEM degree programs such as Robotics & Integrated Technologies, Cybersecurity, Electric Vehicle & Advanced Automotive Technologies and corporate training coming fall 2023. She also collaborated with Dallas Shaw to bring Blitzen to the Scranton area, a holiday pop-up bar in the on-campus student-run restaurant that provided culinary students with real-world experience. “We are so proud to have Jill be recognized as one of Pennsylvania’s educational leaders,” Chairperson of the Lackawanna College Board of Trustees, Joyce Van Schooneveld said. “Jill has helped grow Lackawanna College into a great place to receive an education and having her be recognized for her hard work is inspiring.”

The City & State’s Higher Education Power 100 recognizes Pennsylvania’s most influential academic leaders focusing on making a difference on and off campus. Through their experience and innovative programs, the leaders recognized in this list demonstrate why Pennsylvania continues to be a national focal point in higher education.   Dr. Murray ranked with other local leaders in our area including Reverend Joseph Marina of the University of Scranton, Reverend Thomas Looney of Kings College, Dr. Jonathan Green of Susquehanna University and Sister Mary Persico of Marywood University.

University of Scranton Degree Ranks in Top 7 Percent

A comprehensive analysis of the return on investment (ROI) of college degrees at more than 4,500 colleges in the United States shows the value gains of liberal arts education during the lifetime of a career. The analysis also ranks the ROI of a degree from The University of Scranton among the top 6.1 percent of colleges in the country after 40 years, among the top 7 percent after 30 years and among the top 11 percent after 20 years.

The analysis by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce calculated the 40-year net present value of a University of Scranton degree is $1.133 million, which ranked No. 276 of 4,500 colleges in the nation (top 6.1 percent). The 30-year net present value for a Scranton degree was calculated at $842,000, which ranked at No. 310 in the nation (top 7 percent); and the 20-year net present value of a degree was $488,000, which ranked at No. 489 in the country (top 11 percent).

The Center ranked 4,500 colleges based on the net value of the degrees at 10, 20, 30 and 40 years after enrollment using data from the expanded College Scorecard. The analysis, published online in the spring of 2022, looked at the net cost of attendance, which includes tuition, fees, books and supplies, and living expenses, minus aid received from all sources. The Center then calculated the net present value of a degree, which is “a metric that includes costs, future earnings and the length of time it would take to invest and earn a certain amount of money over a fixed horizon.”

The analysis found that “bachelor’s degrees from private colleges, on average, have higher ROI than degrees from public colleges 40 years after enrollment. Community colleges and many certificate programs have the highest returns in the short term, 10 years after enrollment, though returns from bachelor’s degrees eventually overtake those of most two-year credentials.”

In addition, the analysis showed “the median ROI of liberal arts colleges is nearly $200,000 higher than the median for all colleges. Further, the 40-year median ROI of liberal arts institutions ($918,000) is close to those of four-year engineering and technology-related schools ($917,000), and four-year business and management schools ($913,000).”

Scranton has been recognized for its value in other national rankings such as U.S. News & World Report and The Economist. Most recently, Money magazine ranked the University at No. 268 among its selection of just 623 of the nation’s best values for a college education.

Skills in Scranton Act 158 Presentation

Skills in Scranton, the Chamber’s workforce development affiliate, will host Act 158: Pathways to Graduation, a virtual presentation on Wednesday, April 27 from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. All school administrators, guidance counselors, educators, school board directors, higher education staff, and community members in Lackawanna County are invited to attend.  

Guest speaker, Sue Kuhl – Pennsylvania career readiness liaison – will discuss the Career Ready PA Coalition, updates impacting Act 158, and provide information to school districts on preparing students in college, career, and community readiness here in Lackawanna County.

For more than 25 years, Skills in Scranton – through its Educator in the Workplace program – has worked with local employers, school districts, higher education partners and Pennsylvania data experts to develop strategies that help ensure the regional workforce is aligned with high-priority jobs of the future.

Those interested in attending can RSVP to Karen Durkin at Media are also invited to attend.

Media Sponsor:

NET Credit Union Expands Partnership with Lackawanna College

NET Credit Union recently furthered their partnership with their Preferred Partner Group, Lackawanna College, by offering tuition-free classes to NET employees.  

Under the agreement, qualifying NET Credit Union employees can pursue an Associate or Bachelor’s Degree at Lackawanna College. Lackawanna College offers over thirty different degrees, majors, and certificates.

“We are excited to further our relationship with NET Credit Union with this free tuition announcement.  We are also grateful for NET’s investment in their employees as well as their trust in us to offer them an amazing opportunity to continue their education,” said Dr. Jill Murray, Lackawanna College President. Our programs are designed to meet the relevant needs of today’s workforce by making college affordable and accessible for everyone.”

“The Lackawanna College Business Partnership Scholarship Initiative helps businesses of all sizes develop and retain employees,” said Jeff Gregory, Director of College Enrollment Partnerships. “A partnership with Lackawanna College includes a tuition scholarship that can be offered to employees, allowing the workforce to pursue a bachelor’s or associate degree.”

“This program will simultaneously help grow our employees’ personal development, as well as the capabilities of our business. NET Credit Union is thrilled to partner with Lackawanna College in this program,” states Clarence Baltrusaitis, NET Credit Union CEO.

Lackawanna College is a Preferred Partner Group of NET Credit Union. This means all students, staff, and faculty are eligible to Bank on NET.  The tuition program not only benefits our relationship with Lackawanna College, but it also strengthens our employee benefits. NET Credit Union looks forward to furthering our partnership with Lackawanna College.

University of Scranton Online Programs Among Best in Nation

U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 “Best Online Graduate Programs” ranked The University of Scranton’s online master’s degree programs in business (excluding MBA) at No. 55 and its online MBA program at No. 98 in the nation. U.S. News also ranked Scranton at No. 65 in the country for “Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans.”

This is the 11th consecutive year that U.S. News ranked the University’s online programs among the best in the nation. The methodology used by U.S. News to determine the ranking has changed several times throughout the years.

For the 2022 Best Online Programs ranking, which published January 25, U.S. News reviewed statistical information submitted by schools. The ranking criteria differed by category. The criteria used by U.S. News to rank online business and MBA programs included student engagement (30 percent), which looked at graduation rates, class size, one-year retention rates, and best practices such as accreditation by AACSB International, among other factors. The ranking criteria also included peer reputation score (25 percent); faculty credentials and training (15 percent); admission selectivity (15 percent); and student services and technology (15 percent).

In addition to offering distance education programs that incorporate coursework that is predominantly online, colleges and universities making the “Best Online Program for Veterans” list must have ranked in top half of 2022 Best Online Program rankings; be regionally accredited; be certified for the GI Bill and participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program; and enroll a “critical mass of veterans” as defined by U.S. News based on the size of the college.

Scranton offers online MBA degrees in general business, accounting, business analytics, enterprise resource planning, finance, healthcare management, human resources, international business and operations management; master’s degrees in accountancy, business analytics, finance, health administration, health informatics and human resources and a dual MBA/MHA degree, in addition to graduate certificates. For technology, recruitment and marketing support, the University partners with Wiley for the online programs.

In other rankings published by U.S. News, Scranton has been ranked among the top 10 “Best Regional Universities in the North” for 28 consecutive years. Scranton is ranked No. 5 in the 2022 edition of the guidebook. U.S. News also ranked Scranton No. 14 in its category for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” U.S. News also ranked Scranton No. 14 in its category in its “Best Undergraduate Teaching” listing of the top colleges in the nation expressing “a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching,” among other rankings.

The Dime Bank Contributes to the Wayne County Library

Pictured: Tracy L Schwarz, System Administrator of the WLA; Jessica Kjera, Outreach Coordinator; Deborah Unflat, The Dime Bank Vice President Marketing; Melanie Seagraves, The Dime Bank Vice President and Newfoundland Area Public Library Treasurer; Stacy Gager, Assistant Vice President Deposit Operations and WCPL Board Member.

The Dime Bank recently contributed $30,000.00 to the Wayne County Public Library (WCPL) toward approved innovative educational programs. The libraries of Wayne County strive to support students in the three local school districts, as well as homeschooled students, to ensure they get the help they need to improve their grades, increase their confidence, and encourage them to expand their educational explorations.

This donation, which was made through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program, will provide funds for several programs such as Learning@theLibrary and Teen Tech@theLibrary. Both include the purchase of, Teen Health and Wellness, Learning Express Library, Core Concepts (Biology, Chemistry, Periodic Table), PowerKnowledge (Earth/Space, Physical, & Life Science), and Prenda Coding.

In addition, some of the funding is allocated for after school Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematic, and Arts programs. Along with holding enriching programs within the walls of the library, Outreach Coordinator, Jessica Kjera, heads out into the schools and the community. She teaches STEAM programs and familiarizes students/families with the awesome selection of E-resources, fun, and learning they have access to with their library card. Jessica has recently transitioned into the roll with the assistance of retiring long time outreach coordinator, Mary Fritz. Another portion of the funding supports AWE computers for K-2nd grade students and hybridization of library programs which allow libraries to do virtual as well as in person programs.

WCPL Director Tracy L. Schwarz said, “The resources provided by The Dime Bank kept families connected during the Covid shutdown and beyond. The funding helped keep and other STEAM related online resources running for families who were forced to teach their school aged students at home. It also provided a set of laptops, microphones, lighting, speakers, and all the items required for each of the seven libraries to go virtual with programs as needed. The funding helped provide Make and Take STEM and Craft kits that families could pick up and use to learn from home. Thank you! There is no way our libraries could’ve kept county families connected, nor could we have supported the schools as much as we did during the shutdown without this funding from The Dime Bank. EITC funding is vital to keep up with online resources and provide lerning and teen tech at our libraries.”

Stop in at any of the seven Wayne County Libraries to sign up for a library card to access the wide variety of free e-resources available through their website

The EITC program, which is administered by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, provides a tax rebate program. The Dime Bank is dedicated to supporting education in our communities through the sponsorship of many different programs and venues. If you are passionate about your future, choose The Dime Bank as your financial partner. Community banking yields community benefits. For more information on The Dime Bank, visit