A new program called Livability encourages business investment, talent recruitment and relocation by reaching corporate executives, site selectors, entrepreneurs, talented individuals, families and visitors attracted to Pennsylvania’s quality of life.

Focus Central Pennsylvania, a nonprofit with the mission to attract investment that cultivates economic growth in Central Pennsylvania, and the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) engaged in a three-year partnership for Livability. The study is featured in an 8-page spread in the Pennsylvania Work Smart. Live Happy. publication

“Attracting quality employers to the region is part of our mission,” says Focus Central PA board chair Jennifer Wakeman in a prepared release. “Livability gives us a tool to further engage companies and draw them here by highlighting all that our area has to offer.”

There are many factors each person and family consider in this important decision including job opportunities, safety, affordability, economic stability and growth, outdoor recreation, accessibility, art and culture activities, broadband access, community engagement and more. The Central Pennsylvania Livability initiative is a way to tell the story about life in Central PA and share opportunities that await those considering places to call home, according to the program.

Livability showcases the best places to live around the United States and offers Top 10 lists, articles, data and more for every city. Livability.com is a website that ranks America’s most livable small and mid-sized cities. The website includes demographic information, statistics, articles, photography and video that summarize the quality of life in communities, including information about schools, neighborhoods, local restaurants and cultural events, according to the program.

Erica Mulberger, executive director of Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC), said central Pennsylvania is “trapped in a conundrum” because businesses cannot expand without an available workforce but people leave the area because they don’t think there are available jobs.

“We have an opportunity to influence people by sharing what’s so great about the region to keep young adults in the area after graduation and keep and attract new businesses,” said Mulberger. “By marketing the region and what it has to offer businesses and families, we can expand career opportunities for our residents and attract new talent to the region. The more workers we have in the region, the more prospects there are to grow business and the local economy.”

The funding partners include Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation’s (CPWDC) MADE in Central PA Next Generation Partnership; Chamber of Business & industry for Centre County (CBICC); DRIVE; Mifflin County Industrial Development Corporation (MCIDC); Northumberland County Planning Department; Union County Economic Development; Greater Susquehanna Business Development Council (GSBDC); and SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority (JRA).

{p class=”p1”}In addition to the funding partners many organizations throughout the region contributed to the content development and ideas for Livability in Central Pennsylvania to include tourism agencies, chambers of commerce, large employers’ human resource leaders, college and university leaders, entrepreneurs, downtown agencies, and many more.

Steven Stumbris, the Director of Bucknell University’s Small Business Development Center, said the “Work, Live, Grow” structure presented a perfect parallel to the Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) mission to help businesses “Start, Grow, and Prosper.”

“It was a perfect opportunity to share the stories of SBDC clients like Wendy and Carlos De Osambela, and Brian Vargo who have been growing their companies in Selinsgrove and Lewisburg, respectively,” said Stumbris.

It was “highly rewarding” to partner with the other organizations to highlight the innovations and vibrant communities of the region, and helped recognize the strength of those partnerships among the resource providers of the region, he said.

“I hope that these stories will inspire residents and future residents of the region to pursue entrepreneurial business growth, and will raise awareness of the resources here that can support them,” said Stumbris.

Andrew J. Miller, the executive director of the Susquehanna River Valley Visitor’s Bureau (SRVVB), said the organization has been an Ambassador for Focus Central PA for years.

“Supporting their Livability Program was the logical next step in our partnership as the SRVVB embraces and promotes the quality of life found in the Susquehanna River Valley,” he said.

“All that we promote — arts and culture, history and heritage, dining, breweries and wineries, shopping, outdoor recreation, family fun and attractions, festivals and events — are amenities that are not only popular with tourists and travelers but are offerings that make our region an ideal location to work and live or raise a family.”

For years, the SRVVB has worked with the human resources departments of local industries to recruit and attract employees by sharing the ideal quality of life in the valley. Participating in Focus Central PA’s Livability Program was taking it to a broader level through all the stakeholders that are participating in this program, said Miller.

“We helped provide promotional copy for the Livability Program’s web page and brochure; we provided images from the region; provided video content for their website that showcases the amazing amenities in our region that would attract employers and employees, and we include the Livability Program brochure in our Relocation Guide packets of information that go to people outside the area looking to move to the Susquehanna River Valley,” said Miller.

Miller said residents often forget “all the wonderful amenities, attractions and events that are right under our noses and in our own backyards.”

“We become so used to them on a daily basis that we view them as part of everyday life,” he said. “Resident awareness of Focus Central PA’s Livability Program, will ideally, remind us to look at our area through the eyes of outsiders and realize how lucky we are to live here, so we get out and embrace, explore and discover all that we have to offer, especially now that we have 2020 behind us.”

Contact Justin Strawser at jstrawser@dailyitem.com

Trending Video