SACF Launches Northeastern Pennsylvania Workforce Leadership Academy

The Scranton Area Community Foundation held a press conference on Thursday, December 8, 2022, at the Hilton Scranton Hotel & Conference Center to announce that it was selected to serve as a host site for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Workforce Leadership Academy, a fellowship program designed by the Aspen Institute designed to support leaders in workforce development committed to the advancement of the regional workforce ecosystem.

The Scranton Area Community Foundation was one of only eight organizations chosen from across the country selected through a competitive process to deliver an Academy in partnership with the Aspen Institute. Other cities selected include Tucson, Detroit, Cleveland, Memphis, San Antonio, Baltimore, and Buffalo.

The Workforce Leadership Academy will bring leaders – recognized as Fellows of the Academy – from across the local workforce ecosystem together for a year-long series of retreats, workshops, and action learning projects. Fellows work with leading practitioners throughout the country as they deepen networks; strengthen systems leadership skills; apply race, equity, and systems change frameworks to their work; and increase understanding of effective strategies and programs.  An advisory board comprised of regional experts will help to shape the Academy.

Eighteen to twenty-four fellows in Northeastern Pennsylvania will be selected through a competitive application process. The Scranton Area Community Foundation and its partners encourage senior-level managers from across the workforce ecosystem of nonprofit organizations, business associations, union-based training efforts, public agencies, and community colleges that have the authority to implement changes to apply.

Applications and Academy details are available online at

The deadline for application submissions is Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 5:00 pm. Interested applicants can learn more about the Academy on an informational webinar to be held on December 20, 2022. Details can be found at

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Workforce Leadership Academy is made possible by the generous support of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation in addition to the Scranton Area Community Foundation.

“The Scranton Area Community Foundation has decided to host this important leadership academy because of the need for a cross-sector, collaborative workforce effort aimed at systems change in NEPA,” said Laura Ducceschi, President & CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation.  “We established NEPA Thrives, an equity-based workforce initiative, and the NEPA Workforce Leadership Academy is a key part of this focus area. Fellows will identify challenges within the workforce ecosystem and work to develop solutions in key areas.”

Chamber Hires Workforce Development Specialist

The Chamber is proud to announce the addition of Emily Pettinato as the workforce development specialist for Skills in Scranton, the Chamber’s workforce development affiliate.

In this role, Pettinato supports workforce development and talent recruitment initiatives for Skills in Scranton, including managing programs like Workforce Wednesday, Educator in the Workplace, Industry Career Camp, and more. Pettinato’s responsibilities include coordination and implementation of programs with educational institutions and businesses, securing grant and funding opportunities, managing analytics, developing relationships with key workforce segments, and more.

Pettinato has worked in education as a teacher assistant for multiple organizations, as well as having varied experience in communications and business development. Pettinato earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Moravian College and is currently earning her MBA in business administration.

Tobyhanna Army Depot Recognizes Contributions of Veteran Workforce

Tobyhanna Army Depot observed National Hire A Veteran Day on July 25 by highlighting Veterans across the workforce.

The observance, created in 2017, serves as a call to action for employers to augment their workforce with veterans, who bring a unique blend of skills and practical experience to the workplace.  Nearly a quarter of the depot’s workforce has prior military experience.

Air Force veteran Gretchen Bentler serves as the depot’s Employment Readiness and Financial Readiness program manager.  In her role, she provides guidance to active duty, retired and reserve/guard Soldiers, and other service members on finding employment and maintaining good financial health.  She says she understands all too well how hard it is to adjust to civilian life.

“After serving for 10 years, I had a hard time ‘finding myself’ and feeling like I was making a valuable contribution to society.”

While attending Johnson College and studying electronics technology, she joined Team Tobyhanna as a materials handler in the Production Management directorate.  While the position served many of her career goals, something was missing.  After a year at the depot, Gretchen transferred to the Veterans Administration. 

“My passion was always helping others, and I missed interacting one-on-one with service members,” she said. 

In 2011, Bentler shifted her educational pursuits by returning to school and completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling and Human Services and her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of Scranton.  Returning to Tobyhanna in her current position in 2016, where she strives to help America’s heroes ensure they have purpose in the next phases of their lives.  Looking ahead in her career, Bentler hopes to continue to make a difference in the lives of others.

“I am lucky to have a true passion for what I do.  I hope to carry that into the future for a purposeful, fulfilling next chapter.”

Eligible service members can learn about the GI bill, take workshops on using USA Jobs and even participate in mock interviews through Tobyhanna’s Employment Readiness program. 

After retiring from the Army after 32 years, former depot Sergeant Major Kelvin Spencer did not intend to become a permanent Northeastern Pennsylvania resident.  He knew he wanted to continue serving Soldiers and their families, but, like Bentler, was unsure where the “right place” was for him.

“When a position opened up at the depot, it was very enticing to remain here as part of Team Tobyhanna – an organization and community I already had a strong commitment to. In addition, I was thrilled that I may be able to use skills I gained over the years,” adding that he supervised communications and electronics equipment repairers in the Army.

Since re-joining the depot team in 2012, Spencer has served as a leader in the Systems Integration and Support Directorate, where he says he continues to honor the values he learned as a Soldier.

“As a leader, I still live by the Non-Commissioned Officer’s (NCO) Creed and focus on the two responsibilities of an NCO – the accomplishment of our mission, and the welfare of my team.  Nothing is more important to me,” adding that he strives to capitalize on the skills of depot veterans wherever he can.  Spencer also serves as the President of the Tobyhanna Chapter of the Association of the United States Army, where he takes delight in helping make Northeastern Pennsylvania a better place.

The former Sergeant Major has a clear message for service members considering employment with Team Tobyhanna.

“This is a welcoming place for you.  Your experience, knowledge and skills can be used to help the Soldiers who come after you when they need it most.”

The Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) Veterans Council supports northeastern Pennsylvania’s veteran community both on and off the installation.  Officially chartered in October 1997, the organization’s mission is to promote connection and comrade  rie for those who have served, and provide support and information for those who seek it.  In tandem with the Army Community Services office, the council is available to provide veterans with updates on current changes to military benefits, and assist veterans with transitional issues, unused benefits, and general support by directing them to available resources. 

Longtime member and the council’s current president, Adam Chase strives to invest his time and attention to the causes and concerns of the active and veteran personnel of all the uniformed services through the works of the group.

“We pride ourselves in the ability to direct or refer those needing assistance or help to any number of resources in our community,” said Chase, who is himself a U.S. Army veteran with 21 years of service. “Our members consist of a diverse group of veterans with a vast knowledge base.”

Though much of the support the council provides happens away from the spotlight, the organization steps forward several times throughout the year to honor and show support for the community of service men and women on and off the depot, through planned observances, ceremonies and events.  The Veterans Council’s keystone events bring appreciation and awareness to important veteran commemorations – Memorial Day, the Armed Forces birthdays, POW-MIA Remembrance Day, and Veterans Day.  The group extends the invitation to the many veteran employees at TYAD to take an active role in these events.  But one is not required to have served in the armed services to join the council and support these endeavors – all Team Tobyhanna employees are welcome to join the Tobyhanna Army Depot Veteran’s Council – whether a veteran, or a non-veteran with veteran causes at heart.

“Any current or former member of the armed forces, non-veterans receiving benefits, military dependents, or depot employees who share a common interest are welcome to attend and actively participate in Veteran Council activities, and can be a member of the organization,” said Mike Cook, council Vice President and Tobyhanna employee. “Criteria for membership includes attending a council meeting and expressing a desire to become involved.”

The Tobyhanna Army Depot Veterans Council meets the first Thursday of every month at Noon in the Lexington Conference room.  Employees can get involved by contacting any one of the council officers: Adam Chase, President; Mike Cook, Vice President; or Tom Salek, Sergeant at Arms.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 3,700 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.

Settlers Hospitality Makes an Investment in its Workforce

At the start of what promises to be a busy summer season, Settlers Hospitality announced an ambitious program to benefit its 300 plus strong workforce. The plan calls for an increased starting wage of $15 an hour company wide.

The base living wage will be extended to current employees as well as new hires. The investment in its team is also an acknowledgment of the rising cost of living throughout Northeast PA. Additionally, salaried staff will see a cost of living increase and the company is also planning to expand its employee benefits package. “We want all our employees to be able to live and play in the community where we work,” explained CEO/Owner Justin Genzlinger. “Our team is undoubtedly our greatest asset. This is our way of expressing how much we value everyone at Settlers Hospitality and want to help them secure their future.” Guests may notice new initiatives that will enable the program by directly benefitting employees, which will enhance the quality of the visitor experience overall.

Settlers Hospitality has multiple openings for full and part-time positions at all of its locations. Potential candidates can begin a career in the hospitality industry with a role that matches their interests and availability. Applicants may find employment as waitstaff, bartenders, chefs, bakers, housekeepers, personal trainers, baristas, dishwashers, front desk staff, maintenance workers, event planners and more.

“We’re proud to lead the way among the hospitality industry in the Pocono Mountains with this investment in our team,” said Genzlinger. “Not only is this a well-deserved boost for our staff, it’s a sign of confidence in the return of tourism, and business in general, after an unprecedented year of challenges.” For more information about job openings, visit

COLTS to Add Saturday Service to 11 Mid Valley Industrial Parks Route

Beginning April 24, Saturday Service will be available on the #11 Mid Valley Industrial Parks route with the same schedule as weekdays. Additionally, beginning Monday, April 19, a 5:35 a.m. outbound trip will be added to the route.

“We are certainly pleased to be able to expand this route and offer service on Saturdays,” said Executive Director Bob Fiume. “The addition of a morning trip should also be helpful for employees getting to early shifts.”

Specific details are below:

● Outbound trips leave at :35 past the hour every hour from the Giant Market in Dickson City, starting at 5:35 a.m.

● The last outbound trip of the day leaves at 5:35 p.m.

● Inbound trips leave at :10 past the hour every hour from the Jessup Youth Sport Complex, starting at 6:10 a.m.

● The last inbound trip of the day leaves at 6:10 p.m.

Lackawanna College Awarded $300K Grant to Expand NEPA Healthcare Workforce

Lackawanna College has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the NEPA Healthcare Foundation to help grow and retain northeastern Pennsylvania’s healthcare workforce through new and existing health sciences programs.

“This regional initiative deepens our relationships with NEPA health facilities, with a focus on providing an awareness of healthcare career opportunities and ensuring that Lackawanna College Health Sciences students continue to receive the high-quality education and licensure required to enter the field,” said Kelly Musti, Lackawanna College Dean of Health Sciences. “This grant will enable us to reach students at the beginning of their higher education journey, enhance our existing programs and establish additional programs in the areas that we serve.”

Lackawanna College will use the funding to launch the Healthcare Career Exploration Partnership in collaboration with local school districts, which will introduce students at the middle and high school levels to career opportunities in multiple healthcare disciplines. The main goal of this program will be to encourage qualified students to enroll into health sciences programs immediately after high school, ultimately increasing and diversifying the number of healthcare professionals trained and retained in NEPA.

Funds will also be used to support Lackawanna College’s existing health sciences programs and help establish Certified Clinical Medical Assistant programs at two of its locations.

“Through the Careers in Care initiative, the NEPA Health Care Foundation strives to make an impact to address the strains that the regional healthcare workforce is facing,” said James Clemente, NEPA Health Care Foundation Board Chair. “Introducing various healthcare fields to students at a younger age will ultimately help to increase the number of trained healthcare professionals in NEPA.”

A Letter on Workforce Initiatives

Dear Chamber Members:

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce and our workforce development affiliate, Skills in Scranton, are working to support member businesses with pandemic economic recovery. In the past year we’ve held numerous webinars, industry collaborative meetings, and conducted one-on-one interviews with many Chamber members.

Through the outreach, we learned that workforce is a common concern – specifically the availability and access to a qualified labor pool. To assist our members with their workforce needs, we’ve implemented three new programs.

  • Workforce Wednesday: Each week, one Chamber member business will join us to share information about job openings and company culture. The programs are hosted on Zoom and available on Facebook.
  • Chamber Job Board: The Chamber recently launched a new Job Board for members to open positions at no cost.  
  • Small Business Internship Fund: If you are looking for help to grow your business, the Chamber can match you with a college student that can work virtually or on-site. We have access to a pool of students who are ready to gain real-world experience and are immediately available to work or intern. Qualified Chamber members can receive funding to offset internship wages.

To learn more about these Chamber workforce development programs, contact Brianna Florovito at or 570-342-7711.


Bob Durkin
Chamber President
Patrick Fricchione Jr.
Chamber Board Chair