Applications for 2022-2023 Appalachian Leadership Institute Now Open

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is now accepting applications for the fourth class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute (ALI), a free leadership and economic development training opportunity for individuals currently living and/or working in one of ARC’s 13 Appalachian states.

An all-inclusive, nine-month program based in Appalachia, ALI focuses on skill-building, seminars, and networking to equip Appalachian leaders with the skills and connections needed to help their communities thrive.

Pennsylvania is proud to have had nine leaders go through the Appalachian Leadership Institute so far – apply now and you could be next!

Applications for the 2022-2023 class are open through June 1, 2022. To learn more about the program and apply, visit
NEPA Alliance, through the Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance (PREP) serving Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill, and Wayne counties, will be providing grants of up to $50,000 for small businesses and up to $15,000 for micro-enterprises (small businesses that employ few people) located in one of those 7 counties that have been severely impacted due to COVID-19.

For an overview of Program Eligibility, a Preparation Checklist, Frequently Asked Questions, and information on how to apply, click below.
NEPA MPO 2023-2026 Transportation Improvement Program
30-Day Public Comment Period Now Open!
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Metropolitan Planning Organization (NEPA MPO) has recently developed its draft 2023-2026 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).  The TIP includes proposed highway, bridge, and transit projects for the four-county MPO region including Carbon, Monroe, Pike, and Schuylkill counties. The TIP identifies the region’s highest priority transportation projects over a four-year period as well as funding and a timeline for the projects. The TIP is updated every two years through a cooperative effort of local, state and federal agencies, including participation by the general public. 
TIP documentation is available on NEPA Alliance’s website at The TIP documentation includes project listings, TIP administrative procedures, air quality conformity analysis, environmental justice analysis determination, and other related policy documents.
A 30-day comment period on the draft 2023-2026 TIP begins on May 2, 2022 and goes through May 31, 2022. A public hearing will be held on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at 9:30 AM at the Monroe County Transportation Authority, 134 MCTA Drive, Swiftwater, PA 18370. Additional meeting locations that will have remote access to the public meeting are listed below.
Carbon County Building
44 Susquehanna Ave
Jim Thorpe, PA

Pike County Community Planning Office
837 US 6, Unit 3
Shohola, PA

Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation
Union Station, 1 Progress Circle
Pottsville, PA
The meeting will also be offered virtually via phone and videoconference. Call information can be found on the NEPA Alliance’s website at
Comments on the draft TIP can be submitted to the NEPA MPO by mail to the NEPA Alliance office at 1151 Oak Street, Pittston, PA 18640 or by email to Kate McMahon, Senior Transportation Services Manager, at
Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance Launches StartUp NEPA

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA) launched StartUp NEPA, an Angel Investment Fund, designed to support start-up and early-stage businesses within the region. NEPA, who has partnered with the Appalachian Investors Alliance (AIA), technical advisors assisting the Fund, has contributed the first $50,000 to the Fund. NEPA has raised over $700,000 from investors and economic development partners, with room for more investors. Investors can join the initiative by purchasing $50,000 units to become a member of the newly formed LLC and gain a vote on making future investments in businesses that have a strong prospect to create new jobs and positive economic growth. The Fund held its first organizational meeting on Tuesday, April 26th and also received a “pitch” from a local business. The Angel Fund will be led, designed, and funded predominately by local investors.

NEPA serves as the founder and host of the Fund. NEPA convenes the meetings, engages and vets prospective entrepreneurs, manages deal flow, and will oversee the business “pitch” portal. This portal will serve as a web-based intake process for reviewing and evaluating businesses seeking investments. NEPA has also agreed to make the first investment of $50,000 into the Fund. NEPA has united the economic and community development partners in the region to promote the initiative through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Front Row, L-R: Kurt Bauman, NEPA Alliance; Pat Gendly, CAN DO; Jeff Box, NEPA Alliance; Tina Dowd, Sundance Vacations; and, John Dowd, Sundance Vacations. Back Row, L-R: Charlie Jefferson, Jefferson Werner LLC; Eric Fisher, AIA; Steve Mercil, AIA; Jake Latchman, Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services; Mike McCann, Sickler, Tarpey & Associates; and, Steve Ursich, NEPA Alliance. Absent from photo: Neal DeAngelo; Chuck Cohen, Benco Dental; Kenneth Okrepkie, Ben Franklin Technology Partners; Joseph Lettieri, CAN DO; Frank Zukas, Schuylkill Economic Development; John Horell, Sickler, Tarpey & Associates; and, Patrick Sandone, Guide.
Member Spotlight
Center City Print
This month’s membership spotlight is Center City Print. NEPA spoke with Dave Graff, Chief Marketing Officer.

Founded in 2012, Center City Print is a full-service printing company based in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The company specializes in stationery and marketing collateral, direct mail services, large format and graphic design. Center City Print is committed to the community of Northeastern Pennsylvania through monetary donations, in-kind services, volunteer services, and advisory councils. Currently the company employs 10 full time and part time employees in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties.

As a full-service printing company, Center City Print provides standard print products such as business cards, envelopes, brochures, presentation folders, and copy services. They also provide large format printing such as seating charts, donation checks, vinyl banners, yard signs, and vinyl decals.

Center City Print is Northeastern Pennsylvania’s community print partner. They often find themselves advising and designing event signage for community events, nonprofit fundraisers, and even formal events. They lend a helping hand whenever possible, provide advice when necessary, and support organizations of all sizes.

Center City Print is fortunate to have customers who are active within the community and strive to make the area a better place. Their customers value their quality, affordability, and excellent customer service. They truly value each and every one of their customers and look forward to many great things they will achieve in Northeastern PA.

Mr. Graff stated, “Our membership at NEPA Alliance has benefited us in many ways. Most directly, we have worked with Tyler Day and the PTAC team to establish ourselves in the federal and state contracting system. This experience has opened the door to many opportunities. Our membership has also made us more aware of the many great benefits NEPA Alliance has to offer including educational seminars, local development projects, and financial opportunities.”

For more information visit
Get Connected Program Has Openings

The Get Connected program, an eCommerce program for small businesses to improve their website presence and increase online sales, is actively seeking applications. Information about the program and an application intake form is available here. As part of the eligibility requirements, candidate firms must complete two online trainings that were developed by the Small Business Development Centers at The University of Scranton and Wilkes University. Registration for the first training is here. To be considered for the first come first serve program, please complete the application intake form and the first training. NEPA is grateful for the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development and the Lackawanna County Board of Commissioners for their continued financial support of this program. 
For additional information, contact Kurt Bauman at 570-891-4665 or Steve Zaricki at 570-891-4671 or 866-758-1929.
NEPA Alliance Membership Campaign
NEPA Alliance is conducting its annual membership campaign.

The NEPA Alliance values the opportunity to work with all stakeholders in our seven-county region. Our goal is to provide the best possible community and economic development services to create and retain jobs in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Membership Benefits
  • FREE Networking Reception Invite for 1 Person
  • FREE Use of Meeting Space
  • FREE Member Spotlight
  • Discount on NEPA event costs
  • Discount on Business Loan (.5%)
  • Discounted Economic Impact Analysis/Research
  • Sponsorship & Marketing Opportunities

NEPA Alliance serves businesses, communities and governments throughout seven counties and we need your assistance!

Our general annual membership starts at $275.

You can complete your membership online, including payment by clicking the button below.
Need more information visit our membership hub or contact Donna Hritz at or call 570-891-4666.
USMCA Webinar
May 12, 2022
10:00 am

The US is experiencing trade growth and regulatory changes with regards to NAFTA being replaced with United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Without a thorough knowledge of the changes, a company can encounter delays, lost opportunities, and additional expenses due to compliance issues. This seminar will provide participants with a solid understanding of the principles of the USMCA and the ability to establish an effective compliance program.
Business Finance News
NEPA Alliance has several loan programs available for small businesses located in Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill and Wayne counties.
These low cost, low interest loans offer reduced down payments and standard loan term maturities for machinery and equipment, land and building acquisition, construction and renovation. Loan rates are fixed and generally below the prime lending rate.
Eligible businesses include Manufacturers, Industrial, Agriculture/Agribusiness, Hospitality & Tourism Related Enterprises, Recyclers, Day Cares, Computer Related Services, Advanced Technology, and Retail and Service Related Businesses. Other business sectors may also qualify.

To learn more about these loan programs, contact Stephen UrsichDave Nat, Donovan Klem, Ken Doolittle or James Urso at 570-655-5581 or 866-758-1929.
Recently Funded Loans

Flower Shop – Clarks Green
  • The NEPA SBA 504 loan project was completed in partnership with Wayne Bank for the purchase of commercial real estate.

Flower Shop – Clarks Green
  • The NEPA ARC HLF loan project was completed in partnership with Wayne Bank for the purchase of fixtures.

Lamp Store – Wilkes Barre
  • The NEPA USDA IRP loan project was completed in partnership with Fidelity Bank for the construction and furniture, fixtures, and equipment.

Landscaping Company – Dunmore
  • The NEPA Tri-District loan project was completed in partnership with Fidelity Bank for the purchase of commercial real estate.

Deli – Pottsville
  • The NEPA USDA RMAP loan project was completed in partnership with CACL Federal Credit Union for the purchase of commercial real estate and furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
NEPA Alliance Business Finance Corporation is a state-wide CDC allowing for NEPA BFC to lend SBA 504 Loans to eligible small businesses located in Pennsylvania.

Financing Structure

A bank or other lender finances 50% of the project cost and takes a first lien position on the assets financed. The SBA 504 loan finances 40% of the project cost, up to $5.5 million, and takes a second lien position. The borrower then contributes a down payment of as little as 10%.

Small Businesses can Receive:

  • Subordinate Financing
  • Up to 90% Loan to Value
  • Up to $5.5 Million in SBA Financing
     - Unlimited Total Project Cost

SBA 504 Loans Offer:
  • As Little as 10% Equity Injection
  • Terms up to 25 Years
  • Guaranteed Fixed Interest Rate

*Eligibility Criteria Apply*
To learn more about these loan programs, contact Stephen UrsichDave Nat, Donovan Klem, Ken Doolittle or James Urso at 570-655-5581 or 866-758-1929.
PTAC Spring Events

The NEPA Alliance PTAC has additional information to share on the spring event schedule where we are either presenting or hosting a virtual event on various government contracting topics at which our clients and associates are invited to participate.
Doing Business with PennDOT Webinar Series:
The PTAC is working with ProRank Business Solutions – Pennsylvania DBE Supportive Services Providers to conduct three sessions supporting clients looking to do business with PennDOT.
Session 1 – Business Partner Registration Process – A walk through of the PennDOT Business Partner Registration application and submittal process
Session 2 – ECMS Navigation for Contractors and Consultants
Session 3 - Innovative New Supportive Service Center resources to make contacts and find opportunities
On May 11th, we are collaborating with PA PTACs to host an online seminar, Introduction to the SBIR/STTR Program, including grant opportunities available from the PA Innovative Partnership program. The seminar runs from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM with Kelly Wylam, Director of the PA Innovation Partnership . You can register for the event HERE.
In addition, the NEPA Alliance PTAC is working with other regional and state PTACS to conduct an online seminar on May 18th, Doing Business with Tobyhanna Army Depot. Registration for this virtual event is open and you can access it HERE.
You can contact the PTAC for registration details at 570-655-5581 and select option two.
DLA Land Supply Chain

Did you know that the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Land Supply Chain posts a list of items urgently needed? They are looking for readily available and usable material. The Agency are asking industry partners to review the list, and let them know if you have the parts needed. They update the list monthly. You can find the list HERE under the L & M RFIs section of the page. Send inquires to
GSA & DOD Announce New Buy American Rule

On March 1, 2022, in his first State of the Union address, President Joe Biden pledged that the United States government would “Buy American” when spending federal money on infrastructure and other procurements. To reach that goal, the General Services Administration (GSA) and Department of Defense announced a rule on March 7th that changes federal rules around procurement to require more federal spending aimed toward American business.
The principal change in the law surrounds how much of federal products need to be made in the United States to be considered American. Currently products are considered made in America by federal procurement standards if 55% of their component parts are made in the United States. Under Biden’s change, products must consist of 75% American component parts to meet the threshold.
Additionally, the Small Business Administration has created a new office designed to help small businesses “access Federal contracts, financing, and business development support.” The office will be housed in the federal contracting division.
More on President Biden’s “Buy American” commitments can be found via the White House. You can read the GSA rule HERE.

Source: SBA Office of Advocacy
LTAP In-Person Classes
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance has partnered with PennDOT to offer the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) training series in all seven NEPA counties: Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill and Wayne counties.

Road Surface Management V.II
Wednesday, May 4, 2022
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Pike County Training Center
135 Pike County Blvd.
Lords Valley, PA 18428
(570) 296-1960

Equipment & Worker Safety
Friday, May 6, 2022
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Lackawanna County Center for Public Safety
30 Valley View Business Park
Jessup, PA 18434
(570) 961-6700

Traffic Signs Basics
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
American Fire Company No. 1
26 East Patterson Street (Rt 209)
Lansford, PA 18232
(570) 645-3900

Equipment & Worker Safety
Wednesday, June 1, 2022
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Chestnuthill Township Building
271 Route 715 South
Brodheadsville, PA 18322
(570) 992-7247

Erosion And Sediment Control
Wednesday, June 1, 2022
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Chestnuthill Township Building
Brodheadsville, PA 18322
271 Route 715 South
(570) 992-7247

To register, visit and log on using your username and password. First time users must set up an account by clicking on “Create Account.” For technical assistance when registering, call 1-800-FOR-LTAP (1-800-367-5827) or contact Daniel Yelito, Transportation Services Manager, NEPA Alliance at 570-891-4652 or email

LTAP will also continue offering some courses, webinars and drop-in sessions in an online format. To learn more about upcoming virtual offerings, click here.
Looking for New Nonprofit Grant Opportunities?
Don’t forget that NCAC Members receive remote access and assistance in accessing the Foundation Directory Online, the most comprehensive foundation database. With access to informative profiles of over 235,000 U.S. foundations, you’ll know exactly which foundation fits your programmatic needs, how much to ask for and where to go for more information. Don’t forget that we’re here to help with all your nonprofit needs! For more information on this service, as well as membership benefits, contact Betsy Ardizoni, Community Services Manager for NCAC, at or 570-891-4662.
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