Report on local economy, quality of life due out next week

By Bill O’Boyle - [email protected]
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WILKES-BARRE — The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development will release its 2018 Indicators Report next week, which tracks the region’s economy and quality-of-life trends.

The report covers more than 120 indicators for Luzerne and Lackawanna counties and it is used for many reasons — most importantly, it educates the community and provides awareness to foster better strategic planning, goal setting and policy development.

“The annual Indicators Report serves as a yardstick for measuring growth and trends in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Teri Ooms, the institute’s executive director.

The institute will host its 13th annual Lackawanna & Luzerne County Indicators Report and Forum on May 10 at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Plains Township. The event starts at 8:30 a.m. with presentations from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Ooms said attendees will learn about the specific improvements in the economy and how that affects people, health, social services and government.

“The economy is improving, regionally, but not improving for everyone,” Ooms said.

The institute’s five task forces will present data on health and health care; jobs and the local economy; education and workforce; housing; and transportation and land use.

Of particular interest is the Housing Task Force report on “aging in place,” which will help the region better understand how the aging population will affect housing needs and how the housing market and developers can address the needs of this growing population.

The Education and Workforce Development Task Force will unveil a report on the region’s top 10 “high growth occupations” that are projected to grow at a fast rate over the next decade.

There will be a presentation on the region’s “unbanked” population — the residents who do not use traditional financial institutions — to determine how this lack of access is impacting the economy.

Meanwhile, the Health and Health Care Task Force will present studies on health literacy and the social determinants of health. There will also be a presentation on the region’s transportation system and how municipalities can increase options.

The institute’s third annual Pillars of a Strong Community presentation will highlight how the region stacks up against other similar regions on issues such as the economy, healthy and prosperous families, investment in physical assets and the environment, civic engagement and community ties.

Finally, the institute will unveil its new Community Safety Index, which compares all 67 Pennsylvania counties to determine where our region stands in terms of overall safety.

Admission is $50, which includes breakfast and a copy of the report ($30).

Registration forms may be found at www.institutepa.org. For more: Susan Magnotta at [email protected]

The institute is a partnership among Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Keystone College, King’s College, Lackawanna College, Luzerne County Community College, Marywood University, Misericordia University, Penn State Scranton, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, The Wright Center, and the University of Scranton. It is owned and managed by Wilkes University.

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By Bill O’Boyle

[email protected]

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.