This project’s goals are to motivate discouraged Forest County businesses, help existing businesses achieve growth, help new entrepreneurs start their businesses, and to improve the general economic climate by creating jobs that will attract families who will buy homes, enroll their children in our schools, and be contributing members of local communities.

The funding under this project supports programs made available to all businesses and residents in Forest County and the surrounding communities, not only FCBA members. These programs are geared toward providing:

  • Education in the form of free or low-cost training seminars and group subscriptions to online resources and webinars, to help business owners help themselves and improve customer service to visitors
  • Motivation, in the form of presentations by guest speakers/consultants and recognition of businesses and municipalities who successfully make use of the EMPOWERS programs, to improve the business owners’ and municipal officials’ outlook and optimism regarding the future of their businesses and communities
  • Promotion in the form of printed and digital maps to help visitors find their way to our businesses, attractions, and amenities; development of Forest County logo merchandise to help visitors build a connection with Forest County and begin to build another income stream for the FCBA; and a re-design of the FCBA’s website to update and add functionalities to better serve and benefit our business community.
  • Outreach to help local municipal government leadership understand what they can/need to do to support businesses and economic growth
  • Workforce development, including assisting businesses with recruitment of workers and working with Forest Area Schools, the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College, and the regional Workforce Development Board (aka: NWPA Job Connect) to fill workforce training needs.
  • Expansion of our efforts and ability to help local businesses grow and develop, through support of the Forest County Community & Economic Development office and employment of a part-time executive director for the FCBA to work with businesses and help them find the assistance they need.
  • Retention of existing businesses and job, including succession planning and aiding in the marketing of local businesses for sale.
    Support to improve the position of the FCBA and the Forest County Community & Economic Development office for assisting local businesses and entrepreneurs with growing their enterprises

*The EMPOWERS Project is funded by USDA – Rural Development and the J. Bowman Proper Charitable Trust grants with in-kind match provided by FCBA, Forest County, and Forest Area School District.