Grant Awarded for Regional Strategic Plan


PITTSTON, PA – Congressman Christopher Carney together with United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director Thomas P. Williams, announced today the award of a $99,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant for the Regional Bio-Science Initiative.

Grant dollars will be used to fund an economic development strategic plan to expand the region’s existing bioscience sector.  The plan will identify the assets and unmet needs of the region for bioscience growth and provide strategic recommendations for regional development.

The regional strategic study will include input and direction from education, business, economic development and government partners from Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Wayne, Pike, Susquehanna, Schuylkill and Wyoming Counties.

“The United State Department of Agriculture is pleased to support this important regional project. The RBEG program is a broad based effort and reaches to the core of rural development in a number of ways,” said Tom Williams, USDA Rural Development Pennsylvania State Director. “We look forward to being able to play a part in benefiting small and emerging private businesses in rural areas.”

“The work of The Commonwealth Medical College within the region, in collaboration with our many higher education facilities, can act as a catalyst for economic growth.  It is critical that we understand our region’s strengths and improve upon our weaknesses in order to expand business and create jobs,” said Congressman Christopher Carney.  “This strategic plan will be a keystone on which we build a future for Northeastern Pennsylvania and I am glad to play a role in this important initiative.”

“Northeastern Pennsylvania is well suited to be the home for bioscience companies, which can provide excellent jobs for our residents, especially younger college graduates,” said Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11).  “The funding for the Bio-Science Initiative will help encourage different colleges, businesses, and economic developers in Northeastern Pennsylvania to work together towards this common goal.  Austin Burke deserves great credit for his leadership in pursing this grant, and I appreciate the fact that the U.S. Department of Agriculture recognizes the importance of reaching out to the bioscience industry as a source of economic development in our region.”

Austin J. Burke, acting secretary, The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development stated, “It is the goal of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Regional Bio-Science Initiative to leverage our assets to attract and grow bioscience research and development opportunities, spreading the opportunities, especially to our rural areas.”

The Regional Bio-Science Initiative anticipates issuing a request for proposal to a listing of national consulting firms in August.  To reach the Initiative, contact Amy Luyster at 570-342-7711 or

PHOTO (from left):
Christopher Haran, Thomas P. Williams, Rural Development Pennsylvania State Director, United States Department of Agriculture, Congressman Christopher P. Carney, Austin J. Burke, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Alicen Morrison, Representing Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski, and Sharon Lynett, Representing Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.