Johnson College Now Enrolling Students in CDL Driver Training Course

Johnson College in partnership with Ancora Education is now enrolling students in its Class A CDL Driver Training course that begins on September 18, 2023, at the College’s new satellite campus, Johnson College at the CAN DO Training Center, in Hazle Township.

To learn more or to enroll in the Class A CDL Driver Training course, visit or contact the College’s Continuing Education department at

Students will learn to inspect and operate tractor-trailers and to assume driver responsibilities on the road and at pickup/delivery points. Emphasis is placed on vehicle inspections, defensive driving, range maneuvers, motor carrier safety regulations (DOT 380 -397 and a certificate for entry-level drivers), trip planning, cargo handling, size/weight laws, general maintenance procedures, hours of service, and accident prevention. Participants in this 160-hour program can obtain their CDL in as little as four weeks. The course complies with the new Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) rules established by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), which went into effect in February 2022.

The Wright Center Offers Training to Jump-start Career in Health Care

In one word, Melissa Lemus can sum up why she applied to the National Institute for Medical Assistant Advancement while trying to jump-start her career and land a job as a medical assistant.

“Flexibility,” she says.

As a single mother of two, the Scranton resident needed a training program to propel her toward her goals while not breaking her budget or forcing her to quit her day job to take classes. The institute’s program offered Lemus the best of everything: lower tuition and lots of freedom to set her own schedule.

“The classes are online,” she says. “I was able to work during the day, then go home, take care of my kids, and do online coursework. It was a lot to juggle. But I knew I could do it.”

Lemus, 28, became the first person to complete the institute’s program through a training partnership with The Wright Center for Community Health. She graduated from the program in October 2022 and started a full-time job as a certified clinical medical assistant (MA) in the same building where she trained – The Wright Center for Community Health Scranton Practice.

The institute, based in Denver, Colorado, partners with health centers nationwide to offer job-training opportunities to people in their home communities. Its program is designed to allow participants to become medical assistants faster and at less cost than many other MA programs, typically preparing a student to sit for the credentialing exam in about eight months. The career-launching program now costs less than $7,500.

While enrolled, Lemus received weekly instruction via computer, plus hands-on experience during her externship hours at The Wright Center’s primary care practice in Scranton’s South Side, where she could immediately apply her newfound skills.

Today, the Scranton High School alumna is “thriving” in her new job role, according to her manager.

“Melissa is still a new employee, but she’s already so seasoned,” says Amber Bello, co-assistant manager of medical assistants at The Wright Center. “She was able to live the MA life while learning the life.”

Bello serves as a site facilitator for the institute, which is commonly referred to by its initials, NIMAA.

“NIMAA is great,” she says. “All of their instructors have been awesome in communicating with me. I am able to reach out to them with any questions or concerns.”

So far, Bello, 28, has guided two people through the externship portion of the NIMAA program at The Wright Center, and two more are expected to finish in October 2023. She quickly became a fan of the institute and its training method, so she joined its advisory board.

MAs ‘vital’ to health care team

Medical assistants play a central role in today’s health centers, where care is typically delivered by a team. Lemus is one of about a dozen MAs who work at the Scranton Practice, greeting and ushering patients to exam rooms and performing essential tasks that support physicians and other providers while promoting patient wellness.

The duties go far beyond measuring patients’ vital signs. Lemus and her fellow MAs at The Wright Center sometimes draw blood samples, perform annual screenings, vaccinate children, educate individuals on topics such as diabetes management, and prepare patients to be seen by a doctor or other clinician.

“I feel like we are vital to the team,” says Lemus. “We are the first ones to see the patient. We’re the first ones to get a sense of how they’re feeling. And, sometimes, they really open up to you.”

Lemus, who speaks both English and Spanish, feels a sense of satisfaction each time she successfully connects a patient to the right treatment or service or simply offers comfort and understanding with her translation skills.

“There are a lot of moms who come to our clinic and who don’t speak English,” she explains. “They might not have taken their kids to a primary care provider in a long time because of a language barrier in scheduling an appointment and things like that. So, when they come in and are able to get the help they need, it’s good.

“You feel like you’re really doing something – something positive,” she says.

In early 2022, Lemus was determined to become a medical assistant and would have been willing to deplete her emergency savings to participate in the NIMAA program, she says. Instead, she was thrilled to learn she was eligible for financial support that defrayed much of the cost.

Formerly employed as a caregiver in the area, Lemus considers her MA certification to be a major step toward her ultimate career goal of becoming a registered nurse – something she’s been thinking about since middle school.

Finding her niche in a new country

Lemus, a native of Honduras, left Central America when she was about 8 years old. Her maternal grandmother was a midwife there who favored natural approaches and was said to possess a rich knowledge of the healing properties of herbs and other plants.

Aside from her grandmother, Lemus had no immediate family members working in health care to serve as role models. She got a bumpy start in U.S. schools because she initially spoke little English. After only a few years, however, she became fluent and began to form ideas about her life after high school.

“When I was in sixth grade, our science teacher gave us an assignment to write about what we wanted to be in the future,” she recalls. “We had to do some research. I always found myself looking at the nursing careers.”

After high school, she considered enrolling in college. Then motherhood became her priority. Today, she is the parent of an 8-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son. To support her young family, Lemus previously trained as a certified nursing assistant and took a series of caregiving jobs, including a stint at an Alzheimer’s and dementia care facility. The work was difficult at times, but the experience taught Lemus she was indeed meant to be in the health care field.

The NIMAA program had a similar impact on her. After finishing the program, Lemus took an MA credentialing exam on a Friday morning at a testing site in Lackawanna County. “I had to wait until the following week to get the results,” she recalls. “I was nervous the whole time.”

She didn’t want to disappoint herself, much less her Wright Center manager or her own family members, some of whom had helped by providing child care. By Monday, Lemus was checking her cellphone every five to 10 minutes to see if her exam results had been released.

Finally, just as she got her kids in the car to make a short trip, the news arrived: She had passed.

“I was in shock,” she says. “I told my family, ‘I can’t drive like this. I need to take at least 10 minutes.’”

Looking back on the journey that led her to The Wright Center, Lemus knows she made the right choice by picking NIMAA and getting her MA certification.

“It was a big deal,” she says. “For me, it was another confirmation that I’m on the right path.”

Johnson College Enrolling Students in CNC Machining Training

In conjunction with Don’s Machine Shop in West Pittston, Johnson College continues to bring CNC Machining training to Luzerne County. Starting July 24, 2023, students will train to utilize, maintain and program Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines inside Don’s Machine Shop’s classroom and lab at 100 Elm Street, West Pittston. Open enrollment for this 510-Hour CNC class is going on now. Space is limited. To learn more or enroll, visit or contact the Johnson College Continuing Education Department at 570-702-8979 or

CNC machinists manufacture precision products and components used in various applications such as automotive, medical, electronics, aerospace, transportation, military, and more. Industries throughout northeastern Pennsylvania are currently in need of well-trained CNC machinists. This 510-hour class for beginner-level students includes theory and hands-on learning experiences. The hands-on training, delivered at Don’s Machine Shop, is on some of the most state-of-the-art equipment in the region. This unique, one-of-a-kind training will help open new career opportunities right away. This relationship truly demonstrates how industry is a Johnson College student’s campus. The cost of the class is $7,500. Financial assistance may be available for those who qualify.

Johnson College Enrolling Students in Emissions Training Class

Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program is currently enrolling students in its OBDII Emissions Training class. The class will be held in the Moffat Student Center on the Johnson College campus on Monday, Nov. 14, and Tuesday, Nov. 15 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and conclude with testing on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. Space is limited. 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.

Firefighter Training Held at NET Credit Union’s New Location

Taylor Borough Fire and Rescue recently held a training session at NET Credit Union’s new location, 900 S. Main Street in Taylor, PA on Monday, April 26th, 2022. The new location is the former Via Appia.

Wesley Jones Jr., Rescue Captain with the Taylor Borough Fire Department, contacted NET to utilize the building before demolition begins.  The training was open to all local volunteer fire departments. Chinchilla Hose Company of South Abington Township, Greenwood Fire Resuce, Old Forge Fire Department and West Pittston Hose Company all joined the Taylor Fire Department. All participants practiced search and rescue and roof ventilation drills.

NET Credit Union plans to open their third branch location in Taylor sometime in 2023. NET Credit Union is currently working with architects, Hemmler and Camayd, on a plan. NET Credit Union is excited to be a part of the Taylor community and further this relationship with the fire department.

The Taylor Borough Fire and Rescue hosted an additional training session on Sunday, May 1st at NET Credit Union. The more trainings held, the safer our community will be. NET Credit Union appreciates all first responders and values their dedication to protect our communities.

The Wright Center Mental Health First Aid Training Sessions

Training in mental health first aid – a method for recognizing and helping a person with a mental health issue before it results in injury or death – will be offered to the public and employees of The Wright Center for Community Health as part of a national grant-funded initiative.

The Wright Center was recently selected to receive one of eight “training scholarships” to participate in the project, which is supported by Americares and the National Association of Community Health Centers.

The scholarship allows one staff member from each of the eight chosen organizations to become a certified trainer through the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

Owen Dougherty, The Wright Center’s recovery supports manager and behavioral health community liaison, completed his certification with the council in mid-March. He will conduct multiple public training sessions later this year for participants in Northeast Pennsylvania, helping them to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders, and empowering them to intervene when someone needs support.

The free sessions will be open to The Wright Center’s employees and other interested residents, including people with no medical background. Participants will learn to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health issue, not unlike stepping in to call 9-1-1 or provide CPR to someone experiencing a heart attack.

The Wright Center, which operates nine primary care practices in the region, provides a range of mental and behavioral services for patients of all ages, and this training program will serve as a further extension of behavioral health education in the community, says Laura Spadaro, vice president of primary care and public health policy.

“Equipping our community with the skills they need to recognize and respond to signs of mental health and substance use disorders,” she says, “will decrease stigma, empower individuals to seek help and increase each participant’s ability to help others who may be experiencing a behavioral health issue.”

Mental health first aid was first introduced in Australia in 2001, and the program was later adapted for use in the United States. Since then, more than 2.5 million people in the United States have been trained by a base of more than 15,000 instructors, according to promoters.

Trainees learn, for example, how to appropriately and safely respond if they see someone having a panic attack or if they become concerned that a friend or co-worker might be showing signs of alcoholism. Mental health first aid takes the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems by improving understanding and providing an action plan.

Americares, based in Stamford, Connecticut, is a health-focused relief and development organization that saves lives and improves health for people affected by disaster or poverty.

The National Association of Community Health Centers, headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, promotes efficient, high-quality, comprehensive health care that is accessible, culturally and linguistically competent, community-directed and patient-centered for all.

The National Council for Mental Wellbeing, the organization that brought mental health first aid to the United States and certifies trainers, is the unifying voice of organizations that deliver mental health and substance use services in America. The Washington, D.C.-based council is guided by the vision that mental well-being – including recovery from substance use – is a reality for everyone, everywhere.

The Wright Center, which joins with other organizations in promoting May as Mental Health Awareness Month, will announce the dates of its mental health first aid training sessions as they are scheduled. For the latest information on those and the organization’s other upcoming events, visit

Johnson College Now Enrolling Students in Forklift Operator Training Course

Johnson College’s Continuing Education program is offering a Forklift Operator Training Course on Saturday, March 12, 2022, from 8 a.m. to 5 the Diesel Truck Technology Center on the College’s campus in Scranton. The cost of the course is $200, but if you are a current Johnson College student or alumni the cost is only $100. Space is limited! Visit or contact our Continuing Education team at 570-702-8979 or to learn more and enroll.

The forklift operator training is designed to familiarize students with OSHA Powered Industrial Truck Operator Training Requirements (29CFR Standard 1910.178 and ASME B56.1), provide current training requirements under the newly adopted standards, and assist participants in becoming an authorized operator of forklifts through theory and tactile testing. Nine hours of instruction including pre-operational inspection, picking up, traveling, and placing loads, parking procedures, refueling, and practical operation.

For additional information on Johnson College, please call 1-800-2-WE-WORK, email, or visit

3rd Annual NEPA Learning Conference Kicks Off in Scranton

The Scranton Area Community Foundation, through its Center for Community Leadership and Nonprofit Excellence in partnership with Moses Taylor Foundation and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, will host its 3rd annual NEPA Learning Conference this Wednesday, August 18, through Friday, August 20, 2021. This event offers nonprofit organizations and nonprofit professionals across the region the opportunity to receive in-depth training from local and nationally-recognized presenters.

Keynote speakers will include Heather McGhee, author of New York Times bestseller The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together; Ann Mei Chang, author of Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good; and LaShunda Leslie-Smith, Executive Director of Connected Communities, an organization dedicated to building up neighborhoods in the Rochester, New York area by engaging residents, service providers, and community partners in a holistic approach.

Attendees of this three-day learning conference will have an opportunity to learn from local and national experts in a variety of fields, network with peers, and discover how they can create a learning culture within their organization. The conference will share strategies for adapting to a post-pandemic world, teach the importance of collaborative learning, and also will touch on important and relevant topics including racial equity, innovation, and donor relations. Attendees have the opportunity to attend in person at the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center (100 Adams Ave, Scranton, PA) or entirely virtually online, via the conference platform app, Whova. A crowd of roughly 200 representatives from nonprofit organizations is expected to attend this hybrid event.

While attendance is geared toward nonprofit professionals, registration—which closed on Monday, August 16—is open to the public. Attendees can find additional information through the conference website at

“At the Scranton Area Community Foundation, we prioritize the importance of enhancing organizational capacity building and view it as transformative to the region as a whole,” said Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “We are grateful for so many of our partnering foundations right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania supporting our efforts to bring this learning conference to the nonprofit community of our region.”

Sponsors of the event include Moses Taylor Foundation, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Lamar Advertising, The William C. McGowan Charitable Fund, Geisinger, Posture Interactive, The Hawk Family Foundation, The Luzerne Foundation, McGrail Merkel Quinn & Associates, Children’s Service Center of NEPA, United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, Hilton Scranton and Conference Center, Wayne County Community Foundation, Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, Knowles Insurance, United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA,  Center City Print, Junior League of Scranton, and more. For more information on the 2021 NEPA Learning Conference, please visit or contact Brittany Pagnotti, Communications Manager of the Scranton Area Community Foundation at 570-347-6203. 

Johnson College Now Enrolling Students in its Computer Numerical Control Training

Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program is now enrolling students in its next 285-hour Computer Numerical Control Operator training scheduled to begin this June on the Johnson College campus in Scranton. Total cost of the 285-hour training is $3,950 and payment options are available. For more information or to register, please contact Johnson College’s Continuing Education department at 570-702-8979 or

This 285-hour Computer Numerical Control Operator certificate program is designed for individuals looking to enter the high-demand machining field. The training covers theory and hands-on practice of both conventional and computer machining operations.  The course also covers shop and machine safety, blueprint reading, measuring instrument care and use, as well as math.

For additional information on Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program, please call 570-702-8979, email, or visit