Economic Development In Lackawanna County Is Job One

Job creation, economic development and enhanced quality of life are the top priorities for Lackawanna County.

The Lackawanna County Commissioners are fostering technology growth and new business development by implementing a series of innovative programs aimed at creating jobs and attracting new companies.

“With a high unemployment rate in our region, we felt Lackawanna County had to take a more active role in job creation and marketing our area to prospects looking to expand,” explained Commissioner Corey D. O’Brien.  “We launched a new economic development department and provided it with initiatives that will hopefully help to reverse the region’s unemployment trends over time.”

“We now have programs in place to help grow our economy,” said Commissioner Jim Wansacz.  “Our new economic development programs and business initiatives make us attractive to potential companies looking to expand and also assist our local businesses with their growth plans.”

To nurture the growth of existing businesses and attract new companies to the area, the Commissioners created an Economic Development Department that is dedicated to creating new job opportunities for the community and putting people back to work.

The economic development team has made prospect trips to New York, Philadelphia, and as far as Canada to sell the benefits of Lackawanna County’s workforce, location, buildings, incentives and superior quality of life.  The economic development team’s strategic outreach plan has spurred renewed interest in our area.

Lackawanna County has leveraged its outreach efforts by partnering with the Northeast Pennsylvania Regional Bioscience Initiative. This collaborative partnership between private sector, academia, local chambers of commerce, Lackawanna, and seven neighboring counties harvests the region’s collective strengths into a synergized business development effort targeting the bioscience industry. This initiative, combined with our cutting-edge medical and laboratory facilities, positions Lackawanna County to become a corridor of life science research and lucrative biotech jobs.

For small businesses owners, The Small Business Administration (SBA) Fee Waiver Program was created to help stimulate economic growth and industry diversification.  Under this initiative, the County will pay the SBA loan closing costs for a qualified business working with a qualified SBA lender.  To date, five loans have been closed for businesses in diverse industries including, retail, food manufacturing, early childhood education, auto services and electrical contracting.

The economic development team is also committed to helping residents advance their careers and to retaining young talent.  To accomplish this, the Commissioners scheduled a free Job Fair on Thursday, June 13, at PNC Field.  Sixty-three local employers were on hand, looking to fill 1,727 positions.  The County is also partnering with the local business community, regional business development organizations and local universities on a Small Business Internship Initiative designed to connect area college students with stimulating training and work experience in their own backyard.

Wireless technology is another economic tool that will provide significant economic benefits for the area.  A Countywide wireless network system is being launched and once complete will improve communications between emergency service personnel and dramatically reduce initial and ongoing technology infrastructure expenses for the County.  The wireless network will provide the broadband capacity, which will reduce the start-up and expansion costs of businesses’ IT networks.

Enhancing quality of life through community redevelopment and reinvestment works hand-in-hand with Lackawanna County’s economic development initiatives.  Lackawanna County’s biggest commitment was the renovation of PNC Field into as ultra-modern, state-of-the art ballpark with an annual economic impact of $47 million.

The County’s park system has also received tremendous financial support.  Alyesworth and Covington Parks underwent major construction that added fields, buildings, parks, nature trails and boundless playgrounds, which cater to the safety needs of all youngsters.

A variety of youth arts education programs, sporting, history, and concert events have also been coordinated for the enjoyment of local residents and out-of-town visitors.  This highlights our local quality of life and shows people and potential firms our commitment to developing every segment of our community.

The County is investing in its infrastructure by continuing to replace bridges, roads and sidewalks in its surrounding neighborhoods.

All of these actions, programs and activities demonstrate a commitment to creating a fiscally sound community with abundant economic, leisure and cultural opportunities for everyone to enjoy.