Start-Up Alleghenies Ecosystem will diversify and strengthen coal impacted economies in Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, Indiana, and Somerset Counties.

JOHNSTOWN, PA, OCT. 14, 2020Today, JARI Growth Fund was awarded $1,281,900 by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to further enhance entrepreneurship in our region.  The JARI Growth Fund (JGF) in partnership with Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI), Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission (SAP&DC), the Alleghenies Angel Fund, and other private lenders will provide technical assistance to businesses and access to the newly launched Startup Alleghenies Microloan Fund, resulting in a strengthened entrepreneurial ecosystem in a seven-county, coal-impacted area of Pennsylvania.

“The JARI Growth Fund is grateful and excited to receive ARC POWER funding to support entrepreneurship.  I want to thank the ARC for supporting this important component of our economic development program,” said Linda Thomson, President.  “It is a pleasure to partner with ARC and the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission to grow our region.”

“This important funding from ARC will help us broaden the impact that we are having in the region by allowing us to help more entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. We have found that businesses started in our region normally stay in our region. Helping us all create more jobs and allowing us to retain people. So, thank you once again to ARC, JARI Growth Fund and our other partners for this opportunity,” said Steve Howsare, Executive Director, SAP&DC and Chair of the JARI Growth Fund Board.

Funding for today’s award was made via the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative to help communities and regions affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. Additional support for the Startup Alleghenies Microloan Fund is provided by Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, local banks, Startup Alleghenies, and the local banks.

To date, ARC has invested over $238 million in 293 projects, touching 353 counties across Appalachia since 2015. More information about ARC’s POWER Initiative is available at www.arc.gov/power.

“I congratulate JARI Growth Fund for their POWER award and commend them on the leadership they have shown in their community,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they recover from COVID-19 by building and expanding critical infrastructure and creating new economic opportunities through innovative and transformative approaches. Projects like this are getting Appalachia back to work.”


The JARI Growth Fund is a CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) which was formed in May 2016.  The Mission of JGF is to develop the skills and provide capital to individuals, businesses and organizations in the six-county Southern Alleghenies region to support the growth of a diverse economy and build vibrant communities, enhance the quality of life for residents of the region, improve housing, and otherwise address the needs of low to moderate income residents of disadvantaged, poor and minority communities within the region.


The Appalachian Regional Commission (www.arc.gov) is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.


The Basics of Media Relations

On Thursday, November 7th, Shelley Johansson of Prime Design Solutions, will discuss the basics of media relations including:

• When and why you should write a press release
• The anatomy of a press release
• How press release copy is different than advertising copy
• How to prepare for a media interview
• Ways to use your press release beyond the media
• Reacting to positive and negative media coverage

This Lunch & Learn will be held at the JARI Center (160 Jari Drive, Johnstown, PA) from 12:00 PM to 1:15 PM. Click here to register by November 6th. No shows on the day of the event will be billed.

What’s Your Story? How to Attract & Engage Customers

On Thursday, October 31st, Brian Law of Prime Design Solutions and Innovative Tomato, will discuss customer attraction and engagement tactics including:

• Why storytelling makes a memorable connection
• How your brand reflects your story
• Using multiple channels to communicate your story

This Lunch & Learn will be held at the JARI Center (160 Jari Drive, Johnstown, PA) from 12:00 PM to 1:15 PM. Click here to register by October 30th. No shows on the day of the event will be billed.

JARI Receives Senate Citation from Senator Langerholc

On October 3rd, JARI was presented with the honor of a Senate Citation from Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. The citation celebrates JARI’s impact on the region in the areas of government, commercial lending, equity investing and real estate over the past 45 years.

We would like to thank Senator Langerholc, our board members and partners for their continued support.

Rules, Regulations & Best Practices for Hiring

On Thursday, October 17th, Brooke Contacos, PHR, HR Consultants, Inc., will discuss rules, regulations and best practices for hiring. Attendees will learn the following:

• How to place an effective job ad
• Your role in the hiring process
• The cost of a bad hire
• Topics to avoid
• Learn and practice smart and legal interviewing

This Lunch & Learn will be held at the JARI Center (160 Jari Drive, Johnstown, PA) from 12:00 PM to 1:15 PM. Click here to register by October 16th. No shows on the day of the event will be billed.

Cyber Security and Data Protection

On Thursday, September 19th, Michael Stohon, In-Shore Technologies, Inc., will discuss how serious the risk of a cyber security breach is and what can be done to prevent it. Attendees will learn the following:

• How serious is the risk?
• What can you do to prevent it?
• What types of scams/hacks are out there today?
• What is the #1 way to prevent breaches/attacks?
• Hands on exercises

This Lunch & Learn will be held at the JARI Center (160 Jari Drive, Johnstown, PA) from 12:00 PM to 1:15 PM. Click here to register by September 18th. No shows on the day of the event will be billed.

Alleghenies Regional Safety Conference 2019

The 17th Annual Alleghenies Regional Safety Conference will be held on Tuesday, October 1, 2018 from 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM at the Frank J. Pasquerilla Conference Center, Johnstown, PA.

If you are looking for more information about the Safety Conference contact Debi Balog, Director of Workforce Development, at (814) 262-8366 or via email at .

Child Care Roundtable Discussion

JARI and The Learning Lamp are hosting a roundtable discussion to address child care needs across the region. Child care is a workforce issue that negatively impacts business operations. According to the Child Care Action Campaign, U.S. businesses lose $3 billion annually as a consequence of child care-related absences. Employer-supported child care improves employee recruitment, reduces turnover and boosts productivity. For every $1 invested in high quality early care and education, communities like ours can save between $4 and $17 in future costs for things like special education, juvenile justice and welfare support.

Join us and share your feedback on employee child care issues as well as ideas on how to improve services.

When: March 26, 2019 at 8:30 AM
Where: Penn Highlands Community College
Richland Campus, Workforce Education Center, Room A142

For more information and registration, please contact Debi Balog via email at .

2018 Board Appointments Announced


JARI officers elected to a one-year term:
Chairman: Bill Polacek, JWF Industries
First Vice Chair: Bill Locher, Somerset Trust Company
Second Vice Chair: Matt Smith, Laurel Auto Group
Secretary: Bob Eyer, Wessel & Company
Asst. Secretary: Marty Radovanic, Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Treasurer: Jeff Stopko, AmeriServ Financial
Asst. Treasurer: Steve Tucker, DLP Conemaugh Health System

New JARI Directors appointed for a three-year term:
Gilda Jackson, Lockheed Martin AeroParts, Inc.
Greg Winger, First National Bank of Pennsylvania

Special thanks to Tony Caper of DRS Technologies and Mike Price of First Commonwealth Bank for their tenure on the JARI Board of Directors.


JIDC Chair: Jeff Cramer, 1st Summit Bank

New JIDC Directors elected for a one-year term:
Rob Cabala, First National Bank of Pennsylvania
Kevin Volk, Northwest Bank
Steve Zamias, Zamias Services

We would like to extend our appreciation to outgoing board members: Joe Anthony – Zamias Services; Jackie Kulback – Gautier Steel; Mike Stevens – Somerset Trust Company; and Greg Winger – First National Bank.

JARI Growth Fund:

JGF Chair: Steve Howsare, Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission.

For a complete list of JARI and its affiliates’ board members, please visit the JARI website.