Powerful New Video Predicts Bright Future For Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s transformation from steel and manufacturing to eds and meds is a well-known story that continues to attract national attention, this time from Time Magazine.

Watch the video at: http://www.pittsburghmagazine.com/Best-of-the-Burgh-Blogs/The-412/July-2015/Powerful-New-Video-Predicts-Bright-Future-for-Pittsburgh/#sthash.FC3Mg7RK.V9tODPci.dpuf

Developer Plans To Turn North Side’s Allegheny Center Into Technology Hub

A New York developer unveiled plans today to convert the Allegheny Center mall on the North Side into a technology hub and campus to be known as Nova Place.

The multimillion-dollar project being undertaken by Faros Properties will include an extensive renovation of the 1.2 million-square-foot complex, making it one of the largest redevelopment projects in the country, officials said.

Work will include upgraded offices, collaborative workspaces, new restaurants, a fitness center, a conference center and improved common areas.

In unveiling the changes, Faros announced that Innovation Works has signed a lease to occupy 12,000 square feet in the complex. The company will move from its current space in Pittsburgh to Allegheny Center next month and into permanent space in the fall.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2015/05/21/Developer-to-turn-Allegheny-Center-into-a-technology-hub/stories/201505210194

MCCC Ranks Among Top Community Colleges In Nation For Technology

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College is ranked second in the country for its use of technology according to a recent Digital Community Colleges Survey issued by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Education (CDE). The 250 data-point survey analyzes how community colleges use digital technologies to improve services to students, faculty, staff and the community at large.

MCCC, with campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, Pa., has ranked in the survey’s top 10 large community colleges since CDE introduced it a decade ago.

“Technology, itself, does not lead to innovation. But combined with vision, creativity and leadership, technology has the power to revolutionize teaching and learning,” said Dr. Celeste Schwartz, vice president for technology and college services.

Under the leadership of MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout, Schwartz and her team of IT professionals empower faculty and staff to use technology to inform decision making, to improve access and completion, and to provide students with state-of-the-art real-world learning experiences.

Over the past year, MCCC has implemented technology tools in several key student success areas—advising and student planning, financial literacy and mobile access—and has introduced academic certificate programs in key STEM disciplines like cloud computing, cyber security, and biotechnology.

To improve student entry and advising processes, MCCC launched a Student Success Network, which includes student academic planner, early alert, and a student facing success dashboard, through which students are able to see and connect with members of their student success team—advisors, faculty and staff from other support programs, like veterans’ resources and disability services. Faculty can refer students to tutoring and can address concerns and reinforce positive academic behaviors throughout the semester.

The redesigned process also includes an education planning tool that empowers students to map out their entire academic program progression and improves meaningful interaction between students and advisors. Analytical tools, including student and advisor dashboards, round out the Student Success Network.

Financial literacy is critical to student completion, and MCCC developed and launched a “Montco Money Matters” prototype through support from EDUCAUSE’s Next Generation Learning Challenge (NGLC) Breakthrough Models Incubator (BMI). The open-source, online tool introduces first-time students to concepts of financial aid, loans and grants; highlights the long-term implications of loans and future debt; and makes them aware of other resources, like scholarships, to help pay for college.

MCCC is currently building on the success of it financial literacy prototype to include digital and civic literacy, which, like Montco Money Matters, will be publically accessible through Blackboard CourseSites and will engage students through video, social media and other interactive tools.

“The ‘new literacy’ programs, at their heart, focus on building the skills that students will need to be successful at all levels of their education and career, especially as they transition from high school to college,” said Schwartz, who is a key member of the design team along with faculty and staff from across the institution.

Much of MCCC’s technology is being developed with a “mobile-first” approach—necessary given that 86 percent of MCCC’s students use smartphones. This year, the College launched a new mobile app in partnership with Ellucian Go! MCCC also continues to build access through its Virtual Campus, which affords e-learners the opportunity to have a more robust college experience.

Having access to the latest technology, state-of-the-art learning spaces and instructional design experts empowers MCCC’s faculty to develop and refine curricula that prepares students for a competitive and ever-changing marketplace. Over the past year, MCCC introduced new high-tech certificate programs in the emerging fields of cloud computing, cyber security and biotechnology/biomanufacturing, along with associate’s degrees in life sciences, sound recording and music technology, and environmental studies.

MCCC also bolstered existing programs in engineering technology, health services management, criminal justice, health and fitness professional, management, culinary arts and education—all of which integrate the latest technology to ensure graduates are prepared for the demands of 21st century workforce.

All accredited U.S. community colleges are eligible to participate in CDC’s survey within three classifications based on enrollment. MCCC, with more than 24,000 students annually, competes in the large college category. To learn more about the survey, visit centerdigitaled.com.

Pottstown Schools Launch New Website

The Pottstown School District is launching a redesigned website today with a host of new features that district officials believe will be more interactive for the community.

The new design is the website’s first significant change in over seven years.

It streamlines the process for teachers to create their own individual pages and provides full translation for a variety of languages.

Pottstown’s website can be found at www.pottstownschools.org.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/news/article/pottstown-schools-to-launch-new-website-today

Study: Minorities In Pittsburgh Region Dominate Low-Wage Jobs

Ever since the British defeated the French and the Indians then changed the name of Fort Duquesne to Fort Pitt, the vast majority of the population of Pittsburgh has been white.

The workforce of the Pittsburgh region is now 89 percent white, with the remaining share of workers split between African Americans (7 percent), Hispanics and Asians (2 percent each), and 1 percent people who are listed as another racial minority, according to a study released Thursday by the Workforce Diversity Indicators Initiative that was the subject of a forum on diversity at the University of Pittsburgh on Thursday.

The employment sectors with the most diversity also were the lowest-paying sectors, such as administrative and support services with 20 percent share of minorities. That sector includes office work jobs and marketing but also security services, cleaning and maintenance and waste disposal. Minority workers in those jobs make $2,761 a month, which, according to the report, was one of the lowest of all sectors.

Even lower pay was found in the sector with the second highest concentration of minority workers — accommodation and food services — which had 16 percent representation by minority workers on the payrolls earning $1,442 a month.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/business/career-workplace/2015/03/06/Pittsburgh-region-minorities-dominate-low-wage-jobs-study-finds/stories/201503060177

Downtown Bethlehem Association Creates App For One-Stop-Shopping For Restaurants, Stores And Parking

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Downtown Bethlehem? There’s an app for that.

The Downtown Bethlehem Association on Wednesday debuted its new app that puts information about local attractions, restaurants, stores, hotels, parking and events all in one place.

“It’s a way for allow people to find things in Bethlehem all in one place – on their smartphone,” said DBA President Neville Gardner, who owns Donegal Square and McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar at Main and West Walnut streets. “Bethlehem may be a historic town, but we’re definitely in the next millennium.”

The association has been working to develop the app for more than two years, Gardner said. Smartphones are increasingly being used in making plans, officials noted.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/11/downtown_bethlehem_association_2.html

Lancaster Is Google’s 2014 eCity For Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Just another reason to love Lancaster :)

Lancaster is known for its local foods and crafts, and in recent years, those traditional products have begun to be offered in a new way: online.

The Lancaster community on Thursday was recognized for taking business into the digital world.

It was named the “digital capital” of Pennsylvania and recipient of Google’s eCity designation.

For the second year, the internet search giant has recognized a community in each of the 50 states. Last year, Exton, in neighboring Chester County received the award.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/google-names-lancaster-its-ecity-for-pennsylvania/article_32d60764-555a-11e4-8ea5-0017a43b2370.html

Thrival Festival To Showcase Pittsburgh’s Music, Tech Scenes

Locator map with the East Liberty neighborhood...

Locator map with the East Liberty neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pass through East Liberty and Larimer this week, and you might hear some music and see some gadgets made right here in Pittsburgh.

The Thrival Festival starts Monday, featuring a week’s worth of novel computer products and people brainstorming about how to persuade tech types that Pittsburgh fosters innovation. Plus, there’s music. Talib Kweli will play on Saturday, and Moby will perform on Sunday.

“The goal of this year is to make some noise, to get Pittsburgh on the map more than we already are — to darken the blot,” said Bobby Zappala, CEO of Thrill Mill, an East End tech business incubator sponsoring the festival.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6735665-74/festival-pittsburgh-products#ixzz3CkFI9PJP
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

MCCC Holds Open Houses For High-Demand JobTrakPA Career Programs

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) will hold open houses in Blue Bell and Pottstown for individuals interested in learning more about its high-demand JobTrakPA career programs. Fall programs include Wastewater Technician; Health Information Technology; Medical Billing and Coding; and Warehouse and Logistics.

The open houses will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 9 from 6-7:30 p.m. at MCCC’s Central Campus, Parkhouse Hall room 112, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and on Wednesday, Sept. 10 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the College’s West Campus, South Hall room 221, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.

JobTrakPA programs are funded in whole or in part by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor—Employment and Training Administration. The programs are designed to educate and train displaced workers in high-demand occupations. Deferred payment plans are available.

According to the U.S Department of Labor, 57 percent of workers in trade-related fields hold only a high school diploma or its equivalent, and close to 60 percent of Pennsylvania’s trade workers are between 40 and 60 years of age. Employers cite a critical shortage of qualified workers to fill jobs in the growing industries of advanced manufacturing, energy and health care technology.

For more information about JobTrakPA programs at Montgomery County Community College, visit http://www.mc3.edu/workforcedevelopment/jobtrak, call the JobTrakPA hotline at 215-461-1468 or email jobtrakpa@mc3.edu.

Report: Lancaster Metro Economy Rates 100th In Size In U.S.

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lancaster County boasts the 100th largest economy among the 363 metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S., according to a report released in conjunction with the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ annual meeting.

The economy here produced $21.6 billion in 2013, according to the report (PDF), prepared by the economic analysis firm IHS.

The mayors are using the report to call attention to the outsized role of metro areas in the U.S. economy. Metro areas account for 90 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and are expected to generate 92 percent of overall U.S. economic growth through 2020, the report said.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/report-lancaster-metro-economy-rates-th-in-size-in-u/article_cfba5fbc-fb0a-11e3-a5ce-001a4bcf6878.html

Pittsburgh Buys iPhones For Building Inspectors In Effort To Streamline Operations

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brian Ralston used to arrive at the office with 15 or more voicemails waiting for him from Pittsburgh residents, business owners and contractors.

As an inspector with the city Bureau of Building Inspection, he spends his days in the field, navigating among property inspections.

“If you didn’t have my personal cellphone, you had to call and leave a message,” he said.

In mid-April, the city rolled out iPhones for BBI inspectors, a purchase intended to speed up operations and provide better service, said BBI acting chief Maura Kennedy.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6087171-74/inspectors-ralston-bbi#ixzz31VnAmBbf
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

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#ARTS: Mobile Technology For Dummies

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council will host,#Arts: Mobile Technology for Dummies on Wednesday April 30th, 2014 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m at the Butz Corporate Center, 840 Hamilton St., Allentown PA 18101

This interactive session focuses on the adaptation and implementation of mobile technology to help tell the story of your brand, expand your marketing efforts, and grow your sales and business. To hit the ground running, bring your laptop, tablet, and smartphone to this hands-on seminar. Refreshments will be provided.

The member fee is $25; nonmembers pay $45. Tickets are available at www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org 

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Tastykake Looking Fresh At 100

As an independent company, Tasty Baking Co. didn’t quite make it to Tuesday’s 100th anniversary, selling out to Flowers Foods Inc. in 2011 for $141 million to avoid bankruptcy.

But nearly three years after the rescue, the Tastykake brand – which drips nostalgia in the Philadelphia region, but had failed to break through nationally – has renewed strength.

The Flowers bailout has given workers at Tasty’s bakery in South Philadelphia and delivery-route owners throughout the Mid-Atlantic the chance to celebrate the brand’s centennial.

“Couldn’t be better,” is how Dom Rosa, who has owned a Tastykake delivery route in South Jersey since 2000, described life under Flowers Foods.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140225_Taskykake_looking_fresh_at_100.html#qDDZokmzwt3ebC40.99

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New Pittsburgh Government Set To Launch As Peduto Has Laid Out Some Lofty Goals

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Saturday, incoming Mayor Bill Peduto began his move into the mayoral wing on the fifth floor of the City-County Building in advance of today’s inauguration, when he will officially take the reins of city government.

The Rev. Terry O’Connor, son of the late Mayor Bob O’Connor and brother to Councilman Corey O’Connor, blessed the space with a sprinkling of holy water. The floors were mopped.

For a man who has pledged to “clean up city hall” and who gave his victory speech while clutching a broom, it was an apropos entrance.

Mr. Peduto has expounded on that theme for more than a year, calling the administration of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl corrupt and saying that the city needs to move away from the old-style politics if it wants to progress. And if he holds to his campaign pledges, he will represent a monumental shift in both style and substance in the mayor’s office.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/01/06/New-Pittsburgh-government-set-to-launch-as-Peduto-has-laid-out-some-lofty-goals/stories/2014010601030000000#ixzz2pdpIux3L

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Pottstown Police Hope Digital Mapping Tool Will Solve Crimes

Editor’s note:  Any use of technology can only help police zero in on problem areas and crime trends.  Targeted enforcement can then be used to clean up problem areas or reduce certain types of crime that are above an acceptable level.   Two thumbs up!

POTTSTOWN — A new digital tool is helping police and the community combat the age-old problem of crime.

While mapping the locations of crimes that have occurred in Pottstown is not new, the practice moved in the digital direction after Police Chief Richard Drumheller took over the department in the spring.

Instead of using thumbtacks and a paper map, the Pottstown Police Department is using www.crimemapping.com, to track crime and analyze trends in the borough.

The department pays for the services analysis and data but the interactive website can be viewed for free by the public.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131111/pottstown-police-hope-digital-mapping-tool-will-solve-crimes

Pittsburgh Bridges A Showcase Of Engineering Ingenuity

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The ...

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The Point” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The Allegheny River (left) and the Monongahela River (right) join to form the Ohio here. The West End Bridge crosses the Ohio in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Modern bridges are super-sized paths of steel with carpets of concrete that soar through the air.

As tour de forces of design, engineering and teamwork, bridges are our most functional visible form of public art. These sturdy structures afford us breathtaking views of the region while stoking our sense of optimism. From their portals, we cross deep ravines, wide valleys and rivers, especially rivers.

With a total of 446 bridges, Pittsburgh is a permanent showcase of inspired engineering.  Its rugged topography has made it a hotbed of bridge design since the city was named in 1758, and the region’s hills and geological formations afforded the natural resources, including wood and stone, to build the bridges needed to connect it.

The city’s first span, opened in 1818, crossed the Monongahela River on the site of the current Smithfield Street Bridge.  The first Sixth Street Bridge spanned the Allegheny River just a year later, ushering in a generation of covered wooden bridges.  Until the late 1800s, everyone — whether in a horse-drawn wagon or on foot — paid tolls to cross the city’s major bridges.  We still pay today — our tax dollars fund multimillion-dollar PennDOT projects.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/life/lifestyle/pittsburgh-bridges-a-showcase-of-engineering-ingenuity-696224/#ixzz2ZfxMNSfF

Turning Cow Dung Into Electricity

Picture 487Dairy farmer Ron Koetsier’s 1,200 cows produce roughly 90 tons of manure daily, and for the last three decades, he has tried unsuccessfully to turn the stinky dung into energy to power his 450-acre farm in Visalia.

He installed a nearly $1-million renewable energy system in 1985 that used the methane from manure to create electricity for his farm.  In 2002, he replaced that system with newer technology, but he hit a snag when air-quality standards called for expensive retrofits to reduce air pollution; he eventually shut down the system in 2009.

In a few weeks, however, Koetsier’s renewable-energy efforts will get a reboot as a new company replaces his current system with one that is expected to satisfy strict air standards in the highly polluted San Joaquin Valley.

A decade or so ago, dozens of California dairy farmers built million-dollar systems called methane digesters that convert manure into power.  Then, unexpected pollution problems, regulatory roadblocks and low rates of return killed most such digester systems, leaving only a handful in operation.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/la-fi-dairy-digester-20130609,0,2083458.story

$2.3M Restoration Of Frick’s Lock Village Unveiled

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EAST COVENTRY TOWNSHIP, PA — In its heyday, Frick’s Lock Village was one of dozens of stops along the Schuylkill Navigation for coal making its way from the coal regions and the river’s headwaters to energy-starved industrial cities like Philadelphia.

But it lost its economic lustre when the railroads took over the job of carrying the coal and it slipped from public view entirely in 1969, when it was purchased by PECO as part of the construction of the Limerick nuclear plant.

But it never slipped entirely from memory, at least not for people like Bill Carl, who lived in the former locktender’s house in the late 1930s, when it had no electricity and no plumbing.

“We rented this from the Reading Railroad Co. for $5 a month,” he said.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130512/NEWS01/130519819/-2-3m-restoration-of-frick-s-lock-village-unveiled#full_story

Merger’s Benefits Mulled At Antietam Meeting

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If the Antietam and Exeter school districts were to combine in some form, students from both could take advantage of a minimum of 42 new course offerings.

They’d also have access to 10 different buildings and added athletic facilities.

And have the opportunity to take part in up to 31 new clubs and activities.

“You’d have the capacity to do a lot more,” Kerry Moyer told more than 150 parents and residents at Antietam’s Mount Penn Primary Center Wednesday. “And you’d have the capacity to accommodate a large enrollment (increase) if it does happen.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=472673