Pa. Labor & Industry Secretary Visits Montgomery County Community College, Learns About Job Opportunities Created Through Education

PHOTO: Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Kathy Manderino (center) is pictured with Montgomery County Community College Biotechnology students (left) during her visit to the institution’s Central Campus in Blue Bell on Aug. 17. Also pictured from MCCC are Assistant Professor of Biotechnology Dr. Margaret Bryans and Interim President Dr. James Linksz, along with Dr. Karin Abarca Heidemann (far right), director of research and development at Rockland Immunochemical, Inc., which is one of the College’s industry partners.

PHOTO: Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Kathy Manderino (center) is pictured with Montgomery County Community College Biotechnology students (left) during her visit to the institution’s Central Campus in Blue Bell on Aug. 17. Also pictured from MCCC are Assistant Professor of Biotechnology Dr. Margaret Bryans and Interim President Dr. James Linksz, along with Dr. Karin Abarca Heidemann (far right), director of research and development at Rockland Immunochemical, Inc., which is one of the College’s industry partners.

Blue Bell/Lansdale, Pa.— Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Kathy Manderino met with students and faculty at Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) Central Campus in Blue Bell and Culinary Arts Institute (CAI) in Lansdale on Aug. 17 as part of Governor Tom Wolf’s “Jobs That Pay” tour.

At the Central Campus, Secretary Manderino toured MCCC’s Biotechnology, Dental Hygiene and Nursing laboratories to learn about how the state’s investment in those programs and students benefits workforce and economic development in the Commonwealth. At the CAI, she met with students and faculty chefs before engaging in a round table discussion with MCCC leaders.

“The associate’s degree is a valuable credential for community college graduates in Pennsylvania. In fact, most of our students in career-track programs like Dental Hygiene, Biotechnology and Culinary Arts have jobs lined up before they graduate,” explained Dr. James Linksz, interim president, MCCC. “Our graduates also provide much-needed human resources to the region. According to a recent graduate survey, 68 percent of alumni are employed in Montgomery County and 97 percent are employed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

During her visit to MCCC, Secretary Manderino had the opportunity to talk with some of the college’s industry partners who benefit from student interns and graduates. For example, while touring the Biotechnology lab, she met Dr. Karin Abarca Heidemann, director of research and development from Rockland Immunochemical, Inc. in Limerick, Pa., which employs three recent MCCC graduates and offers internship opportunities to current students.

She also met Dr. Mark Schafer, president and COO of PhotoSonix Medical, Inc., a start-up company that rents a workstation in MCCC’s Biotech lab and provides the program’s students with valuable internship experience.

“Biopharmaceuticals is the fastest growing segment of the pharmaceutical industry, and there is a growing need for trained technicians to manufacture these drugs, especially as generic versions start to be produced,” explained Dr. Margaret Bryans, assistant professor of Biotechnology at MCCC. “In addition to the four major pharmaceutical companies in Southeastern Pennsylvania, there are more than 100 small biotechnology companies in the Greater Philadelphia Region, offering exceptional career opportunities to our graduates.”

MCCC offers a two-year Associate in Applied Science degree in Biotechnology, as well as a 16-credit Certificate of Completion, designed to provide hands-on, industry-relevant training to students who already hold associate’s or bachelor’s degrees and who wish to retrain for careers in the biotech field.

Before arriving at MCCC for the day, Secretary Manderino and her team toured VideoRay, a Pottstown-based manufacturer of underwater remotely operated vehicles, which is another of the College’s key industry partners.

SEPTA Plans To Spend $154 Million On New Locomotives

SEPTA plans to spend up to $154 million for 18 new Regional Rail locomotives, the authority’s biggest railroad acquisition in a decade.

The electric locomotives would replace eight aging engines operating on the Lansdale-Doylestown, Paoli-Thorndale, Trenton, and Wilmington-Newark lines, and add capacity to other regional lines.

The SEPTA board is expected to approve the purchase on Thursday, with the locomotives to be delivered in 2018.

SEPTA is buying 13 “Cities Sprinter” ACS-64 locomotives to be built by Siemens Industry Inc., the German conglomerate, at its factory in Sacramento, Calif. The price includes an option for five additional locomotives.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20150528_SEPTA_plans_to_spend__154_million_on_new_locomotives.html#XVS5I7GsXp8U8cR1.99

Another Delay For New PATCO Cars

PATCO’s long-delayed rebuilt commuter cars won’t be rolled out this month as planned, as continuing glitches in signal systems have forced another delay, PATCO officials said Tuesday.

Last month, PATCO executives had said the first eight of 120 refurbished cars would be put into customer service in February.

But PATCO president John Hanson said Tuesday, “They’re not going to be ready by the end of this month.”

PATCO is withholding millions of dollars in payments to Alstom Transport Inc. while the manufacturer tries to fix the problem, Hanson said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150225_Another_delay_for_new_PATCO_cars.html#EAwF5emuLcpmrJV8.99

Forecasters Warn Of Snow, Sleet In Philadelphia Area

The Philadelphia region could see periods of snow and sleet today, forecasters are warning.

The National Weather Service says a mix of rain, snow and sleet is likely for the area through early afternoon. The precipitation should then transition to rain and sleet and eventually just rain by late afternoon, the weather service said.

Any snow is most likely between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and less than an inch is expected. Any accumulation should be limited to grassy areas and non-paved surfaced. Sleet is most likely to hit the region from early to mid-afternoon.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Forecasters_warn_of_snow_sleet_in_Philadelphia_area.html#jEj9TFFifJJzifdS.99

Gains And Losses In Philadelphia Region’s Population

A number of communities in the region’s Pennsylvania suburbs, notably in Chester and Montgomery Counties, grew substantially between April 2010 and July 2013, Census Bureau population estimates released Thursday show.

In Chester County, there were noteworthy upticks in municipalities such as Malvern, West Chester, East Brandywine, and West Goshen, and the same was true in Chester/Delaware County border towns such as Bethel and Chadds Ford. In central Montgomery County, Upper Hanover, Towamencin, and Salford were among the burgeoning towns.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia remained the fifth-largest U.S. city, with a population estimated at 1.553 million through July 2013, an increase of just over 27,000 from April 2010. It was the seventh year in a row of population growth, the census data showed.

(Population estimates for neighborhoods within the city limits will not be available until December.)

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140523_Gains_and_losses_in_Phila__region_s_population.html#MHpPEge1UgkCE6DR.99

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On The House: SEPTA Rail Lines Boost Suburban Home Prices, Study Finds

SEPTA logo with text

SEPTA logo with text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Transit-oriented development is not new, especially to older metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia.

Whether in anticipation of the arrival of public transit or in its wake, homes and commercial enterprises have sprung up near rail stations, trolley stops, and subway entrances since 1858, with the advent of horse-car service on Fifth and Sixth Streets between Southwark and Kensington.

The first steam train began running from Philadelphia to Germantown in 1832, igniting a mass-transit boom that would dictate how and where the region would grow.

As rickety as public transit sometimes seems, this region still has an infrastructure that cities such as Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; and Atlanta have spent billions trying to replicate to ease their dependence on the automobile.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/20131110_On_the_House__SEPTA_rail_lines_boost_suburban_home_prices__study_finds.html#dQrjgA3E9CWrv1xb.99

10 Best Cities In Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Some very surprising results, especially the tie for number 10! Two are in Montgomery County, two are in Chester County and two in Delaware County.

The real-estate company Movoto is searching out the best cities in each state, and says six of the top 10 Pennsylvania cities are in the Philadelphia region.

Movoto says it looks at criteria that include amenities, cost of living, crime, education, median income and home value to determine its rankings. Here are what the company says are the 10 best cities in Pennsylvania:

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillylists/10-best-cities-in-Pennsylvania.html#FbOpcUwPJtHbrC05.99

Legislators: Montco, SE Pa. Need More Transportation Funding

SEPTA logo with text

SEPTA logo with text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This is obvious.  Just try and drive to work in Montgomery County. Traffic is horrendous!

WHITEMARSH ­­— The House Democratic Policy Committee held a two-hour Wednesday morning at the township building to draw attention to the need to increase transportation funding in the region.

The general consensus among the experts offering testimony was that Pennsylvania, and Southeastern Pennsylvania in particular, needs more state funding for mass transit, road and bridge repairs.

State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-148th Dist., said Whitemarsh is a center of transportation with major roadways including Germantown Pike and Ridge Pike and six train stations on the regional rail lines.  Daley moderated the hearing.

“I have been a SEPTA rider my entire life,” Daley said. “I’m not sure what it would be like to not have public transportation.  It is a really flexible system that benefits the area.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130731/NEWS03/130739823/legislators-montco-se-pa-need-more-transportation-funding#full_story

SEPTA Ridership At All-Time High

SEPTA logo

SEPTA logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SEPTA commuter trains had more passengers than ever in the year that ended June 30, carrying just over 36 million riders, SEPTA officials said Monday.

The trend was mirrored nationwide, as public transit in general and trains in particular have been gaining riders in recent years.

High gas prices, congested highways, relatively low fares, and a growing preference among young people for transit have all contributed to the rising number of passengers, transportation officials said Monday.

SEPTA Regional Rail trains carried 36.0 million riders, up from 35.3 million in fiscal 2012 and above the previous record of 35.5 million in 2008.  As recently as 1993, SEPTA carried just 19.2 million riders.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20130723_SEPTA_ridership_at_all-time_high.html#IwbTqaSRLXv0KHyh.99

Excessive Heat Warning/Heat Advisory

The National Weather Service has issued a warning/advisory for Metropolitan Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley and Berks County:

THIS EXCESSIVE HEAT IS EXPECTED TO WORSEN THURSDAY AND FRIDAY WITH THE HEAT WAVE PROBABLY LINGERING INTO SATURDAY. THE HIGHEST HEAT INDICES… OF AROUND 105 DEGREES… SHOULD OCCUR THURSDAY AND FRIDAY AFTERNOONS. LOW TEMPERATURES IN THE URBAN CENTERS INCLUDING PHILADELPHIA WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT…SHOULD BE CLOSE TO 80 DEGREES. RELIEF IN THE FORM OF SIGNIFICANTLY COOLER TEMPERATURES IS EXPECTED TO ARRIVE SUNDAY.

Snow: Lots In D.C., Less For Philly

The storm dubbed Saturn by the Weather Channel and Snowquester by the Washington Post is shaping up as a major event for D.C. and Baltimore, less so in the Philadelphia area.

West Virginia and western Virginia could see a foot-and-a-half of snow and areas closer to I-95 in Virginia and Maryland could see 10 inches of heavy wet snow that “will lead to power outages,” according to the National Weather Service.  Snow is expected there thoughout the day into the evening.  Federal offices in Washington closed this morning.

This morning’s revised forecast for most of the Philadelphia area, though, is calling for rain today that will start turning to snow in the early evening, producing an accumulation of perhaps two to four inches by Thursday morning.

Chester and Lancaster Counties, though, could see snow all day, with slushy conditions at first, as temperatures will be above freezing. But the snow could be heavy at times and accumulate more overnight, perhaps up to four inches.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Snow_Lots_in_DC_less_for_Philly.html

Philadelphia, Suburbs Emerge From Sandy

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The scene at the corner of Chelten and Wissahickon avenues in Philadelphia said it all: A blue mountain bike, badly mangled and turned upside down, but still somehow tethered to a bicycle rack.

The city and its suburbs emerged shaken but largely intact Tuesday morning, after taking a night’s beating from Sandy’s high winds and rain. Some people remained in shelters, but waterways were receding in certain areas, and many residents were coming outside to survey the damage and take a deep breath of relief.

Travel remained challenging, with downed power lines and trees closing streets. SEPTA began resuming services at noon, hoping to bring the system to full strength piece by piece. Shopping malls planned to reopen Tuesday, though an estimated 1.2 million were without power across Pennsylvania.

A Peco spokesperson said total outages for Southeastern Pennsylvania reached more than 800,000 at the height of the storm, shattering previous records, and as of Tuesday morning 585,000 were without service. Restoration could take days.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20121030_Philadelphia__suburbs_emerge_from_Sandy.html

Arts In Philadelphia Economy: A Pretty Picture

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arts and cultural organizations have a multibillion-dollar impact on the Philadelphia region’s economy, and are among the nation’s most productive in creation of jobs and stirring up economic activity.  Only those in the Washington area generate more per-capita expenditures, and in terms of jobs, no region comes close to Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Cultural activity generates nearly $170 million in state and local taxes annually and supports 44,000 jobs within the city and its four suburban Pennsylvania counties, according to a study set for release Monday by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

The economic-impact study, based on data collected from 345 arts and cultural organizations and more than 2,000 audience members, reports that the sector triggers a total of $3.3 billion in direct and indirect expenditures every year.

In the area of employment, culture in the first-ranked Philadelphia region supports 43,700 jobs; Greater Houston, number two, generates 29,100, and Washington, number three, 29,000.

King Of Prussia Wegmans To Open Its Doors Sunday

Location of Upper Merion Township in Montgomer...

Location of Upper Merion Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UPPER MERION TOWNSHIP, PA – “Didn’t there used to be a golf course here?”

There was a gleam in Danny Wegman‘s eye as he cracked a joke, standing on the spot where he and a lot of other folks literally made the earth move – after 16 years of hitches and hurdles.

At a sneak peak of the freshly constructed Wegmans market at 1 Village Drive on Thursday, the company’s amiable CEO said he could hardly believe that his namesake 80th store was three days away from opening in King of Prussia.

The Rochester, N.Y. native recalled how excited his dad, Robert Wegman, was when he first got a glimpse of the North Gulph Road property – then the home of Valley Forge Golf Club – all those years ago.

Read more: http://business-news.thestreet.com/the-times-herald/story/king-prussia-wegmans-open-its-doors-sunday/1

Manufacturing Activity In Metropolitan Philadelphia Rebounding

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Image via Wikipedia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Manufacturing grew in the Philadelphia region in October after contracting for two straight months, a sign factories are recovering after a sluggish summer.

An index of regional manufacturing activity jumped to 8.7 from -17.5 in September, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said Thursday. It marked the best reading in six months. A positive reading suggests growth…

Camden Plagued By Fires

Because Camden does not already have enough problems, a string of fires has rocked the beleaguered city this summer.

Here’s a list of where things stand:

June 9th – fire at a former tire-distribution center

June 11th – fire at a former garment factory

June 19th – fire at a former detergent plant (ruled arson, no arrests)

July 5th – fire at a former paint-manufacturing plant (suspect charged)

July 30th – fire at an abandoned warehouse

Any information on the June 19th fire, please call 1-888-283-3473.  There is a reward up to $5,000.