ISSUE 232 | November 17, 2023

The Institute is an economic research and applied research and consulting group that provides customized client solutions and strategies to facilitate decision making and planning that enhances growth, impact, and sustainability for organizations.
From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News

Many PA Students Struggle to Afford College Textbooks

A recent study found that nearly one third of Pennsylvania college students worry about textbook costs - and go without course materials as a result.

The average Pennsylvania college course cost for students is $90, with most students paying up to $200 for textbooks and other required materials.

Wilkes University is combatting this problem by partnering with Barnes & Noble to launch Colonels are Covered, which covers textbook and additional course costs for new undergraduates.   

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Nonprofit Helps Veterans and First Responders Overcome Trauma

Local nonprofit Heroes Hearthstone trains veterans and first responders to recognize the signs of trauma and offers a series of personal wellness programs.

Focusing on holistic healing and personal growth, founders train partners in habits such as journaling and meditation.

Heroes Hearthstone is currently raising funds for a physical office and are looking to expand throughout NEPA.

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Hemp Products Promise Economic Impact in PA

Hazleton-based biotechnology company Vytal Plant Science Research is using a $1 million NSF grant to explore an Industrial Hemp Engine.

Hemp is known for its historical influence in textiles and is bouncing back from its 80 year-long outlaw.

Luzerne County Community College and Lackawanna College will focus on workforce development for this project, which could see Pennsylvania flourish in hemp production and export.

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From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News

Erasure of Medical Debt from Credit Reports May Improve Livelihood

CalAIM, an experimental overhaul of the state’s Medicaid program, is attempting to combine medical care with accessible housing.

Partnering with nonprofit organizations such as the Illumination Foundation, CalAIM will cover the cost of individual’ security deposits, meal plans, and other living related costs.

This comes after a study that suggests social services and personal security such as housing help to strengthen health.  

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Public Transit Systems Experience Change in the Face of Remote Work

The rise of remote workers has changed the face of American public transportation, presenting a threat to normal transportation accessibility.

Although transit systems have a better financial standing than they did in 2020, offering better service and more space for passengers, the growing population of remote workers is causing them to quickly pivot from their expected numbers.

These changes are prompting transit systems to partner with government and other organizations to study new traffic patterns and offer solutions to adjust to these findings. 

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The Face of Long-Term Care Changes Around the World

Many nations struggle to enact affordable plans for the long-term care of their aging populations.

Large amounts of government funding are being dedicated to protect individuals from exhausting personal funds on long-term care.

Five wealthy countries such as Japan and Canada are trying new methods to manage aging and medical cost. 


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Research Spotlight: The Institute's Planning, Land Use, Transportation, and Infrastructure (PLUTI) Task Force has produced a number of studies exploring the region's transit systems. Use the link below and scroll down to learn more!

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