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5 Scams That Prey on Small Businesses

Don't be fooled: Your small business is not beneath fraudsters' notice. Look out for these five common traps. If you use a computer to run your business, you're at risk of a cyberattack. Scammers and fraudsters can target any computer, accessing vital financial or business information for malicious ends. It's important to stay aware of common scams that could affect your business. Scams often come in the form of fake emails from colleagues or invoices from well-known supply companies. Scammers have gotten much better at their crimes. In the past, questionable emails from foreign countries asking for money were common. Today, scammers target specific businesses or their employees and send con

Lehigh Valley's economy surpasses $40 billion for first time

A worker visually and physically inspects the packaging during a tour of Freshpet's campus in Hanover Township, Northampton County. The Lehigh Valley’s economic output surpassed $40 billion for the first time in 2017, with a major driver of the record attributed to manufacturing. (APRIL GAMIZ / THE MORNING CALL FILE PHOTO) The Lehigh Valley’s economic output surpassed $40 billion for the first time in 2017, with a major driver of the record output attributed to manufacturing. The $40.1 regional billion regional gross domestic product, or the official measure of the total output of all goods and services in the four-county metropolitan area, is up about 5 percent over the previous year, the L

Clark Bar saved from extinction, returning to Pennsylvania

ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — Pittsburgh’s iconic hometown candy bar is returning to Pennsylvania. Boyer Candy Company in Altoona on Thursday purchased the rights, recipes and equipment for the Clark Bar from an unidentified seller. “We’re really excited. This is an iconic Pennsylvania candy,” owner Anthony Forgione told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I remember the heartbreak when it left Pittsburgh.” The chocolate-coated peanut butter crunch bar was created in Pittsburgh by Irish immigrant D.L. Clark in 1917. The bars were wildly successful with soldiers during World War I, when they were marketed as individually wrapped bars to facilitate shipment to American troops. The Clark family sold the busine

Dirtiest Man On TV Mike Rowe Takes On America's Skills Gap Problem

As unemployment hovers near historic lows, over 80% of construction firms have reported they are having a hard time finding qualified workers to hire, while the U.S. Department of Education reports that there will be 68% more job openings in infrastructure-related fields in the next five years than there are people training to fill them. In honor of our nation’s upcoming Labor Day, I was excited to catch up with Mike Rowe, dubbed the “Dirtiest Man on TV.” Mike is the creator, executive producer and host of TV’s Dirty Jobs and Somebody’s Gotta Do it and executive producer and host of Facebook’s Returning the Favor. He’s also the founder and CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which awards sc

Increasing Levels of Employee Engagement

One common challenge that many organizations face is the ability to sustain their continuous improvement efforts beyond their initial deployment. One reason for this is the belief that these initiatives must be driven from the top down throughout the organization. Although it is critical that the commitment must be supported 100% by leadership, it does not mean it should be ’owned’ by leadership. While manufacturing organizations may take different paths for continuous improvement efforts, from Lean Six Sigma or the use of value stream mapping or even 5S, a common misstep is that we undervalue the importance of employee engagement. According to a recent Gallup poll, more than 70% of employee

5 Tips to Manage Your Time as a Small Business Owner

As a small business owner, you're probably intimately familiar with the feeling of always juggling endless tasks. Between client deadlines, payments to keep track of and customers to please, it can feel like your to-do list never gets any smaller. You could say that effective time management is one of the most important skills for a small business owner. The good news is it's a skill you can learn – and since it's not an exact science, you can find the tricks and habits that work best for you. If you feel like there are never enough hours in the day, these five tips can help you stay on track and manage your time smartly and effectively. 1. Plan ahead. Clutter, both literal and figurative, c

What's Ahead in Workforce Regulations

Almost two years into the new presidential administration, and with highly consequential and hotly debated mid-term elections around the corner, Littler’s Workforce Policy Institute’s Labor Day Report examines the state of the American workforce. The WPI offers this Report to provide an overview of the U.S. labor economy, highlight employment trends, discuss key employment developments from the past year, and provide a preview of things to come. State of the U.S. Labor Market. Today, the U.S. labor market has historically low unemployment. But at the same time, employers are challenged by a low labor market participation rate, and many workers see wage increases that sometimes lag behind inf

America's Roller Coaster Ride to Peak Manufacturing Performance

As the train lurches upward to this wooden mountain’s 205-foot apex, the methodical clacking of the ratcheting teeth underneath count down to impending exhilaration. On the left, the immaculate azure sky plunges into the dark surface of Lake Erie. In a few seconds, I’ll drop 90 deg at a rate of 74 mph. The 200-ft. vertical descent on this massive roller coaster called Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point’s newest thrill ride, will take less than 2 seconds. Spanning the total length of track—more than a mile at 5,740 feet—takes 150 seconds, much of it climbing this first hill. I, like everyone without a Fast Pass, waited two hours in line for this. For now I’m enjoying the view of "America’s Roller C

Pen Pals: Mike Rowe and Family-Run Pen Maker Partner to Help the Trades

A fourth-generation family-run pen company wouldn't write off American manufacturing. Now it's the last major one left—and the only one to earn Mike Rowe's seal of approval. Last year, China finally solved the conundrum of making a decent ballpoint pen. Having lacked the precision manufacturing expertise and quality steel needed for the job, there wasn't much the world's largest exporter could do but import the stainless-steel balls from Japan. Meanwhile in Garwood, N.J., the Shea family has been continuously mass-producing ballpoint pens since Mao Zedong first took power. Their business—now called the Pen Company of America (PCA) —has made more than one billion writing utensils and now stan

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