Archive for November, 2017

Local Medicare Counseling Sessions Planned

November 19th, 2017 Comments off

medicare1Potter County Human Services (PCHS) has been helping Medicare recipients sort through their options and sign up for benefits. “There is a vast amount of information associated with Medicare,” said PCHS’s Barbara Busch. “Much of it is complicated and it changes every year. Information is available to help you make informed decisions about your Medicare choices, protect your rights and possibly lower your out of pocket expenses.” PCHS has trained counselors to share advice about Medicare, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, Medicaid, and Long-Term Care Insurance. Two more open enrollment events are available: Monday, Nov. 20, 10:30 am to 7 pm, at the Coudersport Public Library; and Monday, Dec. 4, 9 am to 4 pm at Potter County Human Services in Roulette. To schedule an appointment or learn more, call 1-800-800-2560 or 814-544-7315.

Collaborative Continues To Fill Local Jobs

November 19th, 2017 Comments off

Bob Wicker

now-hiringBridging the gap between local schools and employers in the region who are seeking certain skills is one of the top priorities for the Northern Tier Educational Collaborative, which will continue into the new year. Area school administrators and other collaborative members who are involved in local education and job training meet regularly at the Potter County Education Center to implement the program. Bob Wicker, former Oswayo Valley School District superintendent, has been spearheading the program. Among partners are the Potter County Education Council; the Seneca Highlands Career and Technical Center (formerly vo-tech school); 10 public school district affiliates; and local employers seeking to benefit from an influx of trained job applicants.

An adult education element is also part of the plan, as is an outreach to workforce development agencies in the region. Projects that have been implemented so far include an industry advisory council, career fairs in local schools, and “educator in the workplace” programs. A related program uses career mentors to work directly with students at area schools.

Wicker welcomes input from the public, particularly local employers and educators, guidance counselors or administrators. He can be reached at the Potter County Education Center on Water Street in Coudersport, telephone 274-4877.

An economic/employment profile of Potter and six other counties in the region reinforced the need for improvements. North Central Workforce Investment Board conducted the study, which showed that employers prefer to hire locally, but have been frustrated by the lack of qualified job applicants. It calls for improvements in the use of government resources to address the opportunities for job growth locally in the oil and gas industries, finance, administrative support, waste management, real estate, tourism, health care and social assistance sectors.

Opiod Epidemic Hitting Home In Potter County

November 19th, 2017 Comments off

Some eye-opening statistics on the local drug epidemic were shared during a presentation to Potter County Commissioners Doug Morley, Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover. Colleen Wilber, director of drug and alcohol services for the county, confirmed that abuse of opiods – including heroin – has eclipsed alcohol in referrals to her agency. She hastened to add that alcohol abuse remains a serious problem. There has been a significant increase in heroin overdoses in Potter County, some of them fatal, Wilber said.

She pointed out that a larger proportion of clients than ever, some 89 percent, are being referred by the criminal justice system for addiction assessment and treatment. Others are through self-reporting or are being referred by Children and Youth Services. While opioid use and abuse is pervasive, she added, her office has noticed an increase in the diagnosis of methamphetamine as a primary drug of choice, as well as a consistent rate of chronic marijuana use. Wilber detailed a series of steps her agency and the legal system have been taking to address addiction issues, ranging from treatment courts and evidenced-based school programs, to prescription take-back boxes and making more effective use of data collection and analysis.