With an eye to bringing affordable, reliable internet access throughout a 10-county region, including Indiana, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Connected initiative is asking community members to take a brief survey online or by phone to provide information about their current internet access and experience.

The initiative said eligible participants can win a $50 Visa gift card for completing the survey.

SWPA Connected is a regional consortium that includes the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Carnegie Mellon University, Allies for Children, and a diverse group of regional partners to develop an equitable Connectivity Improvement Plan to provide affordable, reliable broadband internet access across the region.

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President Joe Biden’s signature on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure act will put money in a pipeline that will help communities across Western Pennsylvania in dealing with needs that have been building for years.

“This is the biggest investment that the federal government has made in infrastructure in over half a century. So some of us haven’t seen anything like this investment that we’re going to see in the coming years,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4. “Number one, it’s going to put a lot of people to work over the next couple of years as these projects get built out. But the other thing, when it’s all done, it’s going to improve transportation and access and broadband, not just for Allegheny County but for the entire region.”

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The Southwestern Pennsylvania (SWPA) Connected initiative is asking community members to take a brief survey online or by phone to provide information about their current internet access and experience.

Eligible participants can win a $50 Visa gift card for completing the survey.

SWPA Connected is a regional consortium that includes the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC), Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Allies for Children, and a diverse group of regional partners to develop an equitable Connectivity Improvement Plan to provide affordable, reliable broadband internet access across the region. This initiative is not affiliated with any internet provider and is not intended to sell any internet services. Rather, it seeks to guide the region’s future internet investments that can be made now that the historic infrastructure bill has passed, which includes $65 billion for broadband.

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Every September, SPC’s export assistance program collaborates with the PA Office of International Business Development (OIBD) to bring its team of authorized trade representatives from around the world to Pennsylvania for meeting 1-on-1 with local companies to discuss international business strategies and export opportunities.

However, due to the pandemic, we remain committed to connecting Pennsylvania exporters with people and resources that can help them increase their international sales. This September, we will provide another virtual edition of Bringing the World to PA to continue creating and building global business connections. Bringing the World to PA 2021 will run from September 13-24 and will include a series of online presentations and panels on a range of international business and trade topics.

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SPC has developed a series of online mapping tools to assess the regional broadband-related coverage, speeds, resources, gaps and needs in relation to the region’s demographic and socioeconomic conditions. It also examines connectivity and resources in relation to the region’s businesses, and educational and medical facilities.

These tools will be used as a baseline to further build upon SPC’s Strategic Plan of developing a Connectivity Roadmap (SWPA Connected) for the 10-county SWPA region. This future strategic plan will examine the current and true state of the region’s broadband connectivity in relation to the region’s demographic and socioeconomic composition. It will deploy connectivity programs and projects to enable the region’s communities that lack adequate high-speed internet access to be better connected to jobs, education, and health care.

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2020 was a challenging year for everyone, and SPC was no exception. But still, In the midst of collective uncertainly, bright spots surfaced. This short video showcases the both the obstacles we faced and the successes that SPC delivered in transportation planning, economic development and small business assistance, GIS, communications and finance. From assisting several small businesses with crucial grants and loans, to developing the TIP virtually, and helping our partners move forward, we delivered.

the countermove – spc 2020 annual report

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Greene County commissioners recently said funding for 25 different local businesses has been approved through two separate initiatives geared to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Commissioner Mike Belding said Monday the businesses applied earlier this year for the Forgivable Advance for Small Business Assistance (FASBA) program or the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP).

“FASBA and CHIRP are programs for small businesses to recover some COVID-related financial impacts,” Belding said.

Commissioners also announced nine area businesses were awarded grant funding through CHIRP, with seven of the businesses receiving $50,000 and two receiving $5,000.

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The Southwestern Pennsylvania Corporation, a 501(c)(3) corporation, on behalf of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC), is requesting Technical Proposals and Price Proposals (together, the Proposal package) for the preparation of a Brodhead Road Corridor Planning Study in Beaver County. The selected firm or team of firms will assist SPC with completing a study with recommendations that will improve safety and mobility for all travel modes along the corridor.

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For more than 20 years with the Federal Transit Administration, Vincent Valdes worked with local communities across the country, overseeing their transportation projects from afar but only getting what he called “visceral satisfaction.”

Now, as the new executive director of the 10-county Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Mr. Valdes said he looks forward to seizing the opportunity “to come here and bake the cake myself.”

“I wanted to be able to see the fruits of my work,” Mr. Valdes, 61, said in an interview Friday. “Why not actually come out and do it myself?”

Mr. Valdes was selected in April as the replacement for Jim Hassinger and began his new job on June 15. Mr. Hassinger retired after 19 years as executive director.

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Through a multiple-stop tour Friday, Butler County officials welcomed Vincent Valdes, the new executive director of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.

According to a county news release Friday, Butler County officials, including the county commissioners, ushered Valdes and U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th, through stops including construction work improving the Route 228 corridor and the UPMC Sports Complex, the Pittsburgh Penguins practice site, in Cranberry Township.

“We’re in such an expansion mode,” said Kelly about the growth of the county.

Mark Gordon, Butler County chief of economic development and planning, said the tour was to welcome Valdes to the region and showcase the county’s economic development.

“We wanted to show the diversity of the county,” Gordon said.

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