Digital Storytelling: Put Your Best Story Forward A Professional Development Seminar

As part of its Professional Development Series, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council is presenting a seminar about the art of digital storytelling, on Tuesday, October 27, 2015, at the Butz Corporate Center , 9th & Hamilton, 2nd Floor conference room from 5:30 to 8:00PM. Featured presenters are Caroline Savage, Program Director of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Ken Unangst, Owner & Founder of Digital Feast. Both of these professionals specialize in working with arts organizations and arts businesses, assisting them with communicating through visuals and technology
“Whether you are applying for a grant or promoting your arts business, your story defines you,” says Randall Forte, Lehigh Valley Arts Council Executive Director, “and that story needs to be about people, about arts, and about relevance.”

With the tremendous growth of web and social media marketing, it is vital to capture attention in an engaging and concise way. The panelists will provide examples of how to clearly define your message by addressing the following questions:

  • What does your mission look like?
  • How do you create a story that resonates with the community?
  • What is the value and impact of this visual medium on your audiences?

Refreshments will be provided. The fee is $25 for Lehigh Valley Arts Council members, $45 for nonmembers. Registration is required. To order tickets, visit

About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is the region’s central voice for the arts, promoting arts awareness and advocating its value while strengthening access to the arts for all citizens in our community. The Arts Council’s mission is to promote the arts; to encourage and support artists and their development; to assist arts organizations; and to facilitate communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations, and the community. Services include arts research and advocacy, professional development seminars, publications, and cooperative regional marketing initiatives.


Lehigh Valley Arts Council

840 Hamilton Street, Suite 201
Allentown, PA 18101
610-437-5915 / /

MCCC Builds STEM Partnerships, Literacy Through PA Space Grant Consortium‏

Blue Bell, PA —Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) is the newest member, and the first community college in the Commonwealth, to join the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium (PSGC) under a three-year, $36,000 project, which is funded in part by NASA and is developed in coordination with Temple University.

In its role, MCCC is charged with inspiring educators and equipping them with the strategies, tools and resources to engage students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) literacy. This includes building strategic partnerships between formal and informal STEM education providers and the industry. Montgomery’s Engineering program will accomplish its objective in three ways: by building on the work of its Student Engineering Research and Nanotechnology Laboratory (SERNL); by offering engineering outreach programs at local high schools; and by investing in undergraduate internship and scholarship programs.

“These initiatives focus on mentoring engineering students and exposing them to innovative research opportunities throughout the educational pipeline—starting in high school and continuing through graduation from a four-year university,” explained Dr. David DiMattio, dean of STEM at MCCC.

Research is the key focus of MCCC’s Student Engineering Research and Nanotechnology Laboratory (SERNL), which functions as an incubator for emerging technologies. The lab was initially created in 2013 to support MCCC’s QuadForge Undergraduate Research Program, an open source research project that affords freshmen and sophomore engineering and computer science students with the opportunity to develop autonomous quadrotor flight vehicles, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

As part of the QuadForge project, students began developing and testing a world-first nanotechnology weatherization coating, in cooperation with industry partners, that allows UAVs to fly in bad weather environments, such as sea mist, snow and rain. The PSGC funding will enable students to continue experiments with advanced hydrophobic and superhydrophobic nanotech developments, as well as to explore new materials, such as knitted nanofibers.

“The work students are doing in our SERNL incubator has the potential of protecting NASA-related payloads and other industrial endeavors from water, oil and hydraulic fluids. This is groundbreaking stuff!” said DiMattio.

For the outreach portion of the PSGC project, MCCC will build on its successful partnership with North Penn High School (NPHS), where, for the past three years, SERNL students and faculty have introduced high school students to STEM disciplines, like mechanical and electrical engineering, chemistry, math and computer science, and key topics and concepts, such as design processes and tools and systems engineering.

This past summer, NPHS and MCCC students achieved another world first by immersing live electronic components in water for 11 continuous days without a failure and performing underwater assembly of multiple mechanical and electronic components. This fall, MCCC and NPHS’ Engineering Academy are partnering with Florida-based UltraTech International to continue their exploration of nanotech coatings for electronic components. The PSGC funding will enable MCCC to expand these programs to more high schools in order to increase STEM literacy among junior and senior high school students in the region.

The final portion of MCCC’s PSGC project will focus on growing undergraduate internship and scholarship opportunities for students by building strategic partnerships and linkages between STEM education and STEM industry.

“Internships and scholarships are critical tools in keeping undergraduate STEM students focused on their studies,” said DiMattio. “Select students can engage in research at a lower financial burden and can, at the same time, increase their skills and proficiencies in emerging STEM technologies.”

MCCC’s partnership with Temple University will also continue to provide students with unique opportunities. For example, last summer, two MCCC students had the opportunity to observe sounding rocket payload launches at Wallops Island, Va. as part of Temple Engineering’s RockOn grant project.

To learn more about Montgomery County Community College’s Engineering programs, visit http://www/, then click on Areas of Study, followed by STEM.

Annual Tech Conference Explores The Next Generation Of Teaching & Learning

Blue Bell, PA — Registration is going on now for Montgomery County Community College’s 21st Annual Technology and Learning Conference, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 2 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, in Blue Bell.

Designed for faculty and administrators from both higher education and K-12 sectors, the conference provides a forum for participants to share state-of-the-art information technologies, contribute to a vision of the future of information technology in the academic enterprise, and exchange ideas and best practices for incorporating technology, security and learning.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Reinventing the Classroom,” and sessions are organized around five threads: e-Learning; Teaching and Learning Innovation; Data and Analytics; IT Infrastructure and Cloud Computing; and Security and Identity Management.

The conference will begin with a keynote address by Dr. Diana Oblinger, president emeritus of EDUCAUSE, a non-profit association of 2,400 colleges, universities and education organizations that works to advance higher education through the use of information technology.

During her presentation, Dr. Oblinger will discuss connected learning and the ways information technology is allowing educators to create the next generation of learning, for the next generation of learners. She will explore emerging information technology models that focus on competencies, collaboration, personalization and analytics.

The cost of attending MCCC’s Technology and Learning Conference is $25, which includes all conference materials, parking, continental breakfast and lunch. For registration information, including step-by-step directions to guide you through the registration process, visit Questions can be emailed to

Montgomery County Community College is ranked second in the country for its use of technology according to the 2015 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 has ranked in the survey’s top 10 large community colleges since CDE introduced it a decade ago.

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:

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.

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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, call the JobTrakPA hotline at 215-461-1468 or email

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.

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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.

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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 

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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.


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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.

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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, 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.

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