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Archive for October, 2013


October 31, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

I’m always interested in the topic of student loan forgiveness since I know that school costs and debt affects student career choices. For example, students may be reluctant to choose social services careers when the average student debt is $24,301. That’s the figure from the organization American Student Assistance as of the first quarter of 2012.

The good news is there is help and hope for social service types and other college graduates. The July 7, 2013 American Public Media radio program, Market Place Money, was full of stories of students who hadn’t thought their careers through ending up in a mountain of impossible debt. But it also shared some good resources.

One fabulous resource shared was a reference to the ebook, 60+ Ways of Getting Rid of Your Student Loans (Without Paying Them).

The two main types of programs are loan forgiveness and loan discharge.

Community service loan forgiveness programs for all fields and degrees are available through Americorp, Peace Corps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). Related to this is loan forgiveness through military services.

Some employers are offering to pay loans off from $2500-$5000 to attract younger talent in exchange for a certain number of years of service to the employer. These are prevalent in health and teaching fields.

The second type of program is loan discharge. A program exists where loans could be discharged if something catastrophic happens to you or the school closes, resulting in not being able to finish the degree.

Several types of loan discharge programs exist for financial hardship. The income based repayment program is eligible to those who loan repayments are more than 15% of their income. Income contingent repayment program caps payments at 20% of income. Both forgive debt after 25 years of payments, and at least one forgives it after 10 years of payments while in public service employment.

Click here - http://studentaid.ed.gov/- for a main link about repaying student loans from the U.S. Department of Education.

©2013, Karen Litzinger. Permission granted to reprint this article so long as the
text and by-line are not changed and reprinted intact with all links made live.
Litzinger Career Consulting, provides career counseling, job search advising,
outplacement consulting, and business etiquette training. A High School Advising
Package is offered to help people make wise education and career decisions early to save time, money and headaches later. More information is available at www.KarensCareerCoaching.com

Carnegie Library Business Calendar

October 31, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Want to know more? 412.281.7141 _ www.carnegielibrary.org • Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/clpdowntown
612 Smithfield Street • Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Apply Online: Navigating the Employment
Process Online
November 7
Presented by Rachel Masilamani
Many employers now require potential applicants to submit job
applications electronically. This process often entails having both
an email account and an electronic copy of your résumé. It can
quickly become a frustrating endeavor. Join us for this free
workshop on navigating the online job application process.

Technology Start-ups and Innovation Works
November 14
Presented by Terri Glueck, Innovation Works
Are you interested in starting a technology company? Join us for
a session on Innovation Works, this region’s most active investor
in seed-stage technology companies. Find out about the technical
and financial support they offer technology startups and what
impact that has on our local economy.

Social Media Marketing Made Simple
November 21
Presented by Cindy Neky, Marketing Pathways
Using social media in your marketing campaign greatly increases
the exposure of your business to a larger online audience. Join us
for a free seminar on strategies and best practices for successfully
utilizing social media to expand your market.


October 31, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Donna Knapp, Greater Harmony Chorus

On Saturday, October 5, 2013, 30 girls, 7 boys, and 4 teachers came to Glade Run Church outside of Pittsburgh for this first Youth Harmony Festival co-sponsored by Greater Harmony Chorus, Sweet Adelines, Intl., and North Hills Harmony Line Chorus, Barbershop Harmony Society. In addition to a day of singing, breakfast, a pizza lunch, and t-shirts were provided by the choruses.

Jean Flinn, Certified Music Judge and Master Director of the Greater Cleveland Chorus, was the faculty clinician for the day. The teacher reviews of Jean’s class were, simply put: Wow!! Two of the teachers were totally unfamiliar with the barbershop style and are now completely hooked. When not in the teacher workshop, Jean could be found with small groups of boys or girls teaching tags or coaching quartets.

Chuck May, Director of Greater Harmony Chorus, and Jennifer Fogle, Assistant Director of Greater Harmony, directed the boys and girls choruses. Sidekicks Quartet was the girls teaching quartet. The girls sang “We Go Together” and “With a Little Help From My Friends.” The boys, “Love Me and the World is Mine” and Sittin’ on Top of the World.” The boys and girls did a combined song: “Is There Anybody Here From My Home Town.”

The kids had a blast and even when not on the risers were in small groups all over the church and outside rehearsing their songs, singing tags, and making new friends.

The gym was full for the 5:30 show and additional seats had to be brought in! An octet of girls from two different schools sang “Lean On Me” and brought the house down. The Dotted Quarters, a brand new quartet, did a fabulous job singing “Over the Rainbow.” They have since requested coaching and plan to compete in Region 17’s YWIH contest in February. And a other “new” quartets of young men and women sang some tags on the show. Both host choruses and the teaching quartet also performed.

The Festival received an overwhelming “Hooray!” , and the Second Annual Pittsburgh Youth Harmony Festival is set for October 4, 2014. We’ve only just begun!!


October 31, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

By Patricia Thibault
Social Security District Manager in Pittsburgh, PA

On November 11, we honor our Nation’s veterans for their service to America. What better time than now to tell you — and for you to help spread the word — about the many benefits and wealth of information Social Security has available for veterans and military personnel?

Social Security recognizes those who put their lives on the line for our freedoms. Members of the armed forces receive expedited processing of their Social Security disability applications. The expedited process is available for any military service member who became disabled during active duty on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs. Some dependent children and spouses of military personnel may also be eligible to receive benefits.

Visit our website designed specifically for our wounded veterans: www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors. There, you will find answers to a number of commonly asked questions, as well as other useful information about disability benefits available under the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Please pay special attention to the fact sheet available on that website, Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors.

You’ll also find a webinar that explains the faster disability process available to wounded warriors. The program covers general information about Social Security disability benefits as well as topics unique to wounded service members. The online video is less than three minutes and a great introduction to disability benefits for veterans and active duty military.

On the same webpage, you’ll also find links to useful Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense websites. The requirements for disability benefits available through Social Security are different than those from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application.

Military service members are covered for the same Social Security survivors, disability, and retirement benefits as everyone else. Although the expedited service is relatively new, military personnel have been covered under Social Security since 1957, and people who were in the service prior to that may be able to get special credit for some of their service.

To learn more about Social Security for current and former military service members, read Military Service and Social Security. It’s available in our digital library at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

But first, take a look at the wounded warrior page at www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors. The webinar, factsheet, and pertinent links will brief you on everything you need to know to “maneuver” your way through the Social Security process.


October 31, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Please help BLXNetworking Group to grow and spread the word. Please share this message on your Facebook Pages, your Linked in pages and groups, Twitter, magazines, newspapers and any other method you feel will help us to grow.

When BLX grows - We all grow!

BLX Networking is Different Type of Networking Group.
Consider Joining US For A Meeting and See if we might be a fit for YOU!

•There is NO membership in BLX - You come when you can. (Although you must RSVP)

•We are NOT exclusive - We believe that there is enough business for everyone.

•We are a professional group of men and women.

•Our meetings start and end on time. 11:30am

Meeting Agenda
11:30am - Registration
11:45am - Buffet Line & Informal Networking At The Table
12:15pm - Opening Remarks, Housekeeping
2-10 Minute Commercials
Everyone’s 1-Minute Commercial
Kudo’s (who did business with who)
Announcements, Raffle, Closing Remarks.

We meet at the following times and places:
(You can attend One or All - It is always up to you)
Wexford on the 1st Wednesday of each month - Atria’s
Mount Lebanon on the 2nd Wednesday of each month - Atria’s
Fox Chapel on the 4th Wednesday of each month - Comfort Inn RIDC Park ( Fox Chapel )
We are looking forward to meeting you soon!

Our mission is to provide a creative, professional, comfortable and fun environment for business owners, independent professional and sales people to cultivate relationships and expand their business base.

Companies Do Not Do Business With Companies - People Do Business With People!

5 Ways to Market Your Business for the Holiday Season

October 31, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

by kmurray, Community Moderator

I am an author and moderator for the the SBA.gov Community. I’ll share useful information for your entrepreneurial endeavors and help point you in the right direction to find other resources for your small business needs. Our ongoing goal is to improve this site to meet your needs, so we’re happy to receive your feedback and participation. Thanks for joining our online Community here at SBA.gov


The holiday season is quickly approaching, and the time is now to make sure you get the most of your marketing efforts to help secure sales success in the coming months. Here are a few budget-friendly ideas to help get you started.

Social Media Contests

If your small business has a social media presence, contests on Facebook and Twitter are often a popular way highlight your brand and engage with customers, reminding them that your product or service is available – and a potentially great gift idea. With a few rules, a clever hashtag and incentive such as a prize or discount on your offerings, you can drum up excitement about – and draw people in to – your business.

Extra Appeal for Your Loyal Customers

Take this time to make your loyal customers feel extra special – it may come back to you by way of additional business and referrals. Without breaking the bank, you can provide special offers, sneak previews, free shipping or secret sales.

Special Events or Open Houses

Make your small business stand out by hosting an open house or special event at your store or restaurant. Use it to showcase holiday season gifts, menus and merchandise so customers can get a glimpse of your seasonal goods in advance. Pair the browsing with light refreshments – a mug of hot cocoa or a glass of cider – to get people in the holiday spirit. On their way out, give a special offer or coupon that invites customers back to make their purchases at a discount.

Holiday Help

This is a great idea from Illana Bercovitz at Small Business Trends: use social media to offer helpful tips during a stressful holiday season. Consider your industry, product or service and related advice you could offer to make customers’ lives easier. “Everyone appreciates useful advice and your customers will thank you for pushing content that makes their holidays slightly less stressful,” Bercovitz says. Use an original hashtag to maintain brand awareness across platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.


Although it’s often considered overused, email remains inexpensive and easy to implement when it comes to maintaining contact with existing customers. That’s a key to remember – to be effective, email marketing should be used with folks you have already done business with or who have expressed an interest in your business and have requested email from you (otherwise known as permission marketing).

Keep these tips in mind if you plan to use email to support your holiday marketing efforts:

•Keep the e-mail short and sweet. Link directly to the content of interest so you make the process as easy as possible for your customers.
•Clearly state the email’s intent in the subject line. For example, “A Special Offer Just for You. Thanks for Your Business in 2013.”
•Be festive in your design. Appeal to the sights of the season with a special design for the holidays.
•Follow online marketing rules. Don’t forget that online marketing is regulated, so whatever tactics you employ be sure to follow government guidelines that apply to list management, SPAM and other guidelines.


October 31, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Date: November 5, 2013
Get the FEAR Out of Here
Workshop with Special Guest Speaker Kelly Eckert
Clever Connections Lunch and Workshop

Fear can manifest as procrastination or perfectionism. It can make
you feel like you’re not ready to be really visible in your
professional life. It can make you feel like you’re not good enough
to have an awesome life or professional success. It can also make
you feel like you have to have an awesome life RIGHT NOW or lose
your chance forever. Then you end up making life decisions that
aren’t authentic, effective or awesome. We all sabotage ourselves
at one time or another. Kelly Eckert will help you to identify
your fears and learn to release them, so you can get on with your

Date: November 5, 2013
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Place: Sigmas Event & Conference Center,
1717 Babcock Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15209
Host: Pittsburgh Professional Women
Cost: Members- $35; Non-members- $45
RSVP: Suggested by November 1

Register online at:


November 6, 2013
1650 Main Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
11 AM and 1 PM

Back by popular demand!
11 AM – 12 Noon

Because you requested it!

1 PM – 2:30 PM

Please RSVP to attend one or both of the above events.
volunteersofamerica@voapa.org or call 412-782-5344 x 209
Space is limited. Participation is on a first come, first serve basis.

Volunteers of America will provide soda, water, coffee and dessert. Bring your lunch and network with other small business owners between meetings.

Business Exchange Networking Lunch

* Give a 1-2 minute commercial for your business.
* Bring business cards, brochures, and samples.
* Make new business contacts.

Dates and Locations:

Nov. 6- Wexford, Atria’s, 12980 Perry Highway, Wexford
RSVP: email Tina Noblers at TinaNobers@CMNNutritionGroup

Nov. 13- Mount Lebanon, Atria’s, 110 Beverly Road, Mt. Lebanon
RSVP: email Michelle Zmijanac at

Nov. 27- Fox Chapel, Comfort Inn (Old Holiday Inn) in RIDC Park,
Ohara Twp
RSVP: 412-781-8773 or Carol@CarolBrineyWorkFromHome.com

Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Cost: $18 (Bring cash; No-shows will be billed for the lunch)
RSVP: By Monday prior to the event
For more info, go to: http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=4gu7_&m=Jl8vEuIO6eZhGz&b=VYmqRMVOz2LHhVRxb8WAzw

November 8, 2013
A Woman’s Journey in DNA: Entrepreneurship and Social Justice
(The Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series)
Speaker: Dr. Ria David, President & Co-Founder, Cybergenetics

Crossing multiple continents from South Africa to the USA, Dr. Ria
David built a Pittsburgh DNA technology company, Cybergenetics, with
her co-founder, Dr. Mark Perlin. The company’s TrueAllele® technology
is used to interpret complex DNA evidence from crime scenes.

In keeping with CSI, the TrueAllele computer results are typically
a million times more informative than human review and can better
connect crimes, such as sexual assault, to assailants. Using
TrueAllele, Cybergenetics works with crime labs, prosecutors
and police to effectively help solve and prevent sexual assault,
as well as other crimes. Dr. David will discuss her forensic DNA
experiences, entrepreneurship, and how her company helps create
a safer society.

Date: November 8, 2013
Time: 7:30 - 9:00 a.m.
Place: Chatham University, Shadyside
Host: The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Cost: $25 (Students with ID- $12.50)
RSVP: Suggested by November 5

Register online at:

Brentwood Baldwin Whitehall Chamber of Commerce
Women’s Networking Luncheon
8th Annual Holiday Bazaar
Friday, November 8
11:00 AM
South Hills Country Club

The monthly luncheon meeting* of the Women’s Networking of the Brentwood Baldwin Whitehall Chamber of Commerce will meet on Friday, November 8, 11 AM, at South Hills Country Club. Please plan on attending and bring a friend. We welcome members and non-members.
To help us with our holiday shopping, and to provide greater opportunities for local and home-based businesses, the monthly meeting of the Women’s Networking of the Brentwood Baldwin Whitehall Chamber of Commerce is hosting our 8th Annual Holiday Bazaar.

We will have lots of great shopping!

If you or any of your friends are looking for new marketing opportunities to showcase your products and services, please reserve a table and share this information. Display tables are limited and will be reserved on a first come first served basis. Deadline to reserve a display table is November 2.
We will once again hold a raffle at the luncheon with the money raise going to the SHIM (South Hills Interfaith Ministries) food pantry. Please bring a prize item to donate. It can be a promotional item from your business, a gift card, or anything you would like to donate. We will sell raffle tickets and when your number is drawn, you can choose your prize!

See you at South Hills Country Club, 11 AM!
Lunch for Chamber Members - $20 - Bring a friend!
Lunch for Non-Members - $25
Display Table* $10

Please make a reservation** by contacting our secretary:
Mary Dilla at: 412-884-1233 / secretary@bbwchamber.com

If you have more items than you can carry in one trip from your car, you are no longer permitted to park in front of the club to unload. You must use the delivery dock to unload your car and enter the club.

To access this entrance, enter the club’s driveway and use the bottom drive to your left and circle around to the back of the building where the garage doors are. There will be an attendant to assist you.

** It is important that we respect our host restaurants and make our reservations timely. Also, if you do not cancel a reservation, you are financially responsible for your commitment. We realize how difficult it is for our hosts to prepare for walk-ons, and as a Chamber we need to take responsibility for no-shows.

Mary Dilla
Brentwood Baldwin Whitehall Chamber of Commerce
3501 Brownsville Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15227
Phone: 412-884-1233

Brown Bag Lunch
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
12:00 – 1:00pm

Speaker: Malini Sunthar, co-founder of Dynamic Biz Solutions LLC, a global information technology solutions and services company based in Pittsburgh.
Topic: So You Want A Website.
Join us to learn about the small business owners’ website. We will review the basic needs , the important starting point, the decision makers options and the pros and cons of what is available in the marketplace.
Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania
1650 Main Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
RSVP: 412.782.5344 x 209 or volunteersofamerica@voapa.org

November 14, 2013
Entrepreneurial Thursday Networking Event
A casual weekly networking event for those interested in what’s
innovative and positive in Pittsburgh. A jazz, soul & blues happy
hour show plus open-mike interviews with local executives.

Date: November 14, 2013
Time: 5:30 - 8 p.m.
Place: Little E’s, 949 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh
Host: Jessica Lee
Cost: $5 (hors d’ouevres included)

For further info, email smarshall@pghgateways.org.
The Entrepreneurial Thursday networking event is held each Thursday
evening. For information on upcoming events and featured themes, visit http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=4gu7_&m=Jl8vEuIO6eZhGz&b=1MnuvbzC3aWnbfUhuUb_qw.

Women’s Power Lunch
Friday, Nov. 15th
Mallorca Restaurant
Carson Street
South Side, PA 15203
Cost $25.00 Pay via paypal
Time: 1:00–3:00 pm
Valet Parking Lot next to the restaurant
Contact Suzannef@zoominternet.net

November 18th Wise Women’s Strong for the Holidays www.wisewomenlife.com
November 20th An Evening of Gratitude Journeys of Life (412) 681-8755
November 22nd Laughter Club 8:30 am Volunteers of America
Julie Ann - 724-942-0486

Disability Resource Breakfast
Thursday, November 21, 2013
8:30 – 9:30 AM

Speaker: Dale Gold, Career Transition Specialist, Resources of Gold

Topic: Managing challenges and disabilities in any employment situation.
Learn the strategies you will need to effectively, efficiently and successfully communicate your needs and develop your career to create a valuable work experience.

Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania
1650 Main Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
RSVP: 412.782.5344 x 209 or volunteersofamerica@voapa.org

November 21, 2013
Pennsylvania Business Technology Conference
Discover technology trends and tools to grow your business.
This full-day conference features:

* A panel discussion with technology experts and innovators
* Expert-led workshops on the most timely technology topics
* A technology showcase of the latest innovations, software,
and support providers

Date: November 21, 2013
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Place: Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA
Host: Duquesne University, Power Center
Cost: $119 for full conference; partial program pricing also
RSVP: Suggested by November 15

To register, visit

Volunteers of America workshops

October 04, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Brown Bag Lunch
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
12:00 – 1:00pm

Speaker: Meg Huwar, Huwar Marketing
Topic: Finding Your Business Niche
Join us to learn how to differentiate your business from every other business that does what you do. Know why your potential customers should choose YOU!

Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania
1650 Main Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
RSVP: 412.782.5344 x 209 or volunteersofamerica@voapa.org


Disability Resource Breakfast
Thursday, October 17, 2013
8:30 – 9:30 AM
Speaker: Melva Gooden Ledbetter, MS Chief Professional Officer, Class
Topic:Best-Fit Work Opportunities

Community Based Employment Opportunities for individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities are supported by CLASS (Community Living And Support Services). Learn how classroom instruction and community volunteer experiences empower people and create a better understanding of the options that are available for employment.

Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania
1650 Main Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
RSVP: 412.782.5344 x 209 or www.volunteersofamerica@voapa.org

Learn Quick Books for your small business

October 04, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Learn QuickBooks for your small business.
hands on computer keyboard
Do you want to learn more about using QuickBooks to manage your company more effectively?

Our QuickBooks Clinics provide a hands-on experience to help you get the most from this software.

Session Topics
•Session 1 - Setting up and navigating QuickBooks, Accounting Review, Sample Company, Chart of Accounts, Working with Lists
•Session 2 - Sales and Invoicing, Payments and Deposits, Entering and Paying Bills
•Session 3 - Bank Accounts, Inventories Payroll, Estimating, and More

Dates: Choose from Tuesday or Wednesday sessions in October 2013.
•Tuesdays: October 8, 15, and 22
•Wednesdays: October 9, 16, and 23
Location: YWCA of Westmoreland County, 424 North Main St., Greensburg, PA 15601
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (for all sessions)
Registration Fees :

•All Three Sessions: $135 (save 10%)
•Individual Sessions: $50 each

Instructor: Anne-Terse (Teri) Hayes, Certified QuickBooks Consultant
Teri has been a QuickBooks Pro advisor since 1999. As a consultant and bookkeeper who has worked with small businesses, she understands the needs of entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Debra Mason
YWCA of Westmoreland County
424 N. Main St
Greensburg, PA 15601

This is your Life, Cook it up!

October 04, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

This is Your Life. Cook it Up!
A 3‐Course Menu to Feed Your Soul, Fill Your Belly, and Nourish Your Life.

Facilitated by Nancy Stampahar from Silver Lining Solutions
Nancy Stampahar is an inspirational catalyst for change. With a high school dropout past, to earning her
BSBA college degree, Nancy knows what it what it takes to cook up a good life! Nancy is an award-winning
author and creator of the enthusiastic videos that aired on The Rachael Ray Show and Oprah’s OWN
network. Nancy’s professional knowledge, personal wisdom and zest for life have helped thousands of
people achieve positive results.

1st Course: Thursday, October 24th, 2013, 8-11am
Dishin’ Simplicity – How to Stop Feeling Like a Pulled Pork Sandwich and Start Balancing Your Life and Work

2nd Course: Thursday, November 7th, 2013, 8-11am
Dishin’ Conflict Resolution - How to Ward off Difficult People with Garlic

3rd Course: Thursday, December12th, 2013, 8-11am
Dishin’ Resiliency – How to Turn Challenges into a Delicious Pineapple Upside Down Cake

All Workshops Will Be Held at the Rivers Club (Downtown Pittsburgh)
Investment: Includes breakfast, networking , materials
and life-building skills.

Price for the 1st Course: $79.99
Price for a 2nd Helping (two courses): $145.99 (SAVE $14.00!)
PRIX FIXE Menu (all three courses): $199.00 (SAVE $40.00!)