ATTENDED: Nikolas Kamarados, a certified financial planner, recently attended Prudential's Field Advisory Council in New Jersey. Members of the council and its 18 committees provide input and feedback to their home office partners on field-related programs and initiatives.
"As a financial planner, it is an honor to be selected to serve as a member of the council," Kamarados said. "It allows me to bring to the council an in-depth understanding of the tools and programs that will best support the needs of our clients and our agency."
Caroline Feeney, agency distribution president, said the success of the council and its committees lies in the relationship between the home office and the field.
"The more we strengthen communication between these two dynamic forces, the better our ability to develop programs that will help us grow and prosper. Through the FAC, we are able to deliver one of the best agent value propositions in the industry," she said. The council, which is made up of committee chairs and vice chairs as well as a cross-section of the company's 51 agency offices across the country, meets face-to-face with its home office partners two times a year. In addition, the 18 council committees meet monthly via teleconference.
For information, contact Kamarados at firstname.lastname@example.org, (304) 748-3156 or (330) 386-9790.
GETS FUNDING: Seventeen nonprofit organizations in Comcast's Keystone Region, including one in Jefferson County, have been awarded $305,000 in grants from the Comcast Foundation to support programs focused on community service, digital literacy and empowering tomorrow's leaders.
The Keystone Region includes portions of Northeastern, Central and Western Pennsylvania, the Maryland Panhandle, Eastern Ohio and Northern West Virginia.
Awarded $10,000 in grant funding locally was Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Jefferson County. Others funded included Big Brother-Big Sister groups in Berks County, Pa.; Greater Pittsburgh and York and Adams counties, $10,000 each; the Boys & Girls clubs of Central Pennsylvania, Chambersburg, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Somerset, and Western Pennsylvania, $15,000 each, the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, $20,000; the Mountaineer Boys & Girls Club, Morgantown, $25,000; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, $5,000; Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, $50,000; Spanish American Civic Association, Lancaster, $25,000; I-Lead Charter School, Reading, $20,000; YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, $12,000; and Hope Station Opportunity Area, Carlisle, Pa., $8,000.
GRANTS: FirstEnergy Corp. is offering education grants of up to $500 for creative classroom projects planned for the 2013-2014 school year.
The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Classroom Grants are awarded for creative, individual classroom projects for pre-kindergarten through grade 12. The grants are available to educators and youth group leaders located in communities served by FirstEnergy's 10 electric operating companies, and in communities where the company operates generating plants or does business.
"Our goals are to encourage innovative classroom learning in the STEM subjects; to support professional development for educators in these critical areas; and to expose both students and teachers to the wide variety of career possibilities in the STEM fields of study," said Delores Jones, manager community initiatives. "The students who benefit from these programs could someday work at FirstEnergy as engineers, scientists, accountants, analysts, information technologists and electricians."
STEM grant applications must be submitted by Sept. 16. The application and more information about grant criteria are available on FirstEnergy's website, firstenergycorp.com/community/education/educational-grants.html.
Grants will be awarded based on the recommendations of the FirstEnergy Education Advisory Council. Winners will be notified by Oct. 7. More than 1,000 STEM grants have been awarded to educators and youth group leaders since 1986.
HELP WANTED: ManpowerGroup's eighth-annual Talent Shortage Survey revealed employers in the U.S. and worldwide continue to identify a lack of available skilled talent and a constant struggle to fill vacancies as having a negative impact on business performance.
The ManpowerGroup Talent Shortage Survey looks at the extent to which employers are having difficulty finding the right talent, what jobs are most difficult to fill and why, concern over stakeholder impact and what strategies employers are pursuing to overcome the talent shortage.
Openings rated hardest to fill in 2013 are skilled trades, sales representatives, drivers, IT staff, accounting and finance, engineers, technicians, management executives, mechanics and teachers.
The survey found 39 percent of U.S. employers are having difficulty finding staff with the right skills, down from 49 percent in 2012. U.S. employers report a slightly more pronounced talent shortage than their global peers, 35 percent of whom report difficulty finding the right people for key roles.
According to the survey, nearly half of U.S. employers - 49 percent - recognize that talent shortages impact their ability to serve clients and customers.
This is the fourth year skilled trades has topped the list.