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Senator Wayne D. Fontana


DCED Lowers Programs’ Interest Rates

DCEDThe Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) announced that they are lowering interest rates for several DCED loan programs for businesses.  Low-interest rates can be the best opportunity for growing profits and when businesses are succeeding, they in turn need more workers to meet those needs and demands. 

The following programs will see the interest rate reduced from 2.75 percent to 1.50 percent:

Additionally, the Department will be waiving fees charged by DCED to the borrowers of these programs.  The new rates for these programs will be in place for applications received through March 31, 2013. 

By reducing interest rates and the cost of borrowing, our state is encouraging new capital investment as well as freeing up operating cash which will essentially lead to a prosperous economic environment and new job creation.  I support initiatives like these because I understand how much economic development can do for communities across the state.  Low-cost capital is also essential for making sure businesses are able to continue to build and thrive in the future. 

For more information about these programs, please visit:

Did You Know…

Did you know that small businesses in the United States typically generate between 60% and 80% of net new jobs annually?

Free Student Financial Aid Seminar - This Saturday!

PHEAA pheaa I want to remind everyone that this Saturday, January 26th, I will be hosting a Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) Financial Aid Education Day in conjunction with PHEAA.  This free seminar will run from 10 a.m. until noon at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) – Allegheny Campus, in the Auditorium, Room S-260, in the Student Service Center Building.  Attendees can enter the building from the entrance on Ridge Avenue and parking is available in the Mon Hill parking lot and Student Lot #2.  Representatives from PHEAA will explain to students and their families what financial aid opportunities are available and which resources can assist in obtaining them.  High school students who plan on attending a post-secondary school, and their parents, should consider attending this informative session.

PHEAA is a national provider of student financial aid services, serving millions of students and thousands of schools through its loan guaranty, loan servicing, financial aid processing, outreach, and other student aid programs.  As high school students begin thinking about their plans for college, the PHEAA Financial Aid Education Day will provide an opportunity for both students and parents to receive information on all aspects associated with paying for college.

For more information or to register for the free PHEAA Financial Aid Education Day, please contact Keith Wehner in my office at or 412-331-1208.

FAFSA FAFSA FAFSA Completion Assistance

I want to remind families of the free help that is available to them when applying for financial assistance for college.  In my role as Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) Board of Directors, I am pleased to inform you that PHEAA is offering Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Completion Sessions across the Commonwealth through April for families with students planning to attend college.  Completing and submitting the FAFSA is the only way to qualify for most need-based financial assistance, which include Pennsylvania State Grants, Federal Pell Grants, work-study programs, many scholarships and school-based aid, and low-cost federal student loans.

To view a listing of the FAFSA Completion Sessions taking place around the Commonwealth, please visit the FAFSA Completion Help page on PHEAA's website.  Additionally, PHEAA has partnered with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) to offer these sessions at library branches throughout the city on Saturdays.  Below is a schedule for FAFSA Saturdays:

February 2 – CLP Beechview (412-563-2900)
February 9 – CLP Main-Oakland (412-622-3133)
February 16 – CLP Carrick (412-882-3897)
February 23 – CLP pop-up, Allentown (412-622-3319)
March 2 – CLP Brookline (412-561-1003)
March 9 – CLP Knoxville (412-381-6543)
March 23 – CLP Main-Oakland (412-622-3133)
April 20 – CLP Homewood (412-731-3080)
April 27 – CLP East Liberty (412-363-8232)

For more information and to register for one of these FAFSA Saturdays sessions, please call the library location or visit

Free Assistance with Securing a Job

Skills for Success - The Fontana Series Skills for Success: The Fontana Series. Register Online!

The final free session of Skills for Success:  The Fontana Series is scheduled for Wednesday, January 23rd, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Carnegie Library-downtown branch (612 Smithfield Street).  If you are currently looking for a job or if you need assistance with any aspect of the job searching process, this free workshop will serve as a great resource for you.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) I was proud to partner with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) in 2011, providing grant funding for this free series aimed at building skills and creating excellent resumes and applications that aid job seekers in achieving the positions they desire.  Whether you have already built a resume and are looking to fine-tune it, if you are starting from scratch and need help with organizing your work history, need assistance with searching for positions online, or require help in improving your interviewing skills, this free workshop will benefit you.  I have heard directly from attendees of past sessions who have been able to find full-time work after putting to practice many of the lessons learned at the workshop. 

A recent attendee, Kathleen Haak of Pittsburgh, offered this remark about her experience:  “Skills for Success is a great workshop and I received some very helpful tools that I plan to incorporate in my job search!”

Competition today for jobs is fierce and job seekers may need tools to improve their chances at securing employment.  This series provides those tools by featuring two separate workshops:  one focused on resumes and cover letters, and the other dedicated to interviews and networking.  This series also features a career lab where attendees can work on online applications and explore library resources.  Due to limited space, registration is required for the workshop; however, walk-ins are welcome for the career lab.  The Resume & Cover Letters workshop will run from 9 – 11 a.m. with the Career Lab following from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

To register for this free workshop, please email or call 412-281-7141, ext. 2012. 

In the spring, Skills for Success:  The Fontana Series will move to CLP branches in Brookline, West End and Mt. Washington.  I will post the schedules in my News & Views and at as soon as they are finalized.

Gaming Revenue Increases in 2012

According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) total gross revenue from the play of both slot machines and table games at the state’s 11 casinos increased 4.4% during 2012 compared with the previous year.  The combined gross revenue from slots and table games during 2012 was over $3.1 billion and produced over $1.4 billion in tax revenue.  In addition to employing over 16,000 people across the Commonwealth, tax revenue generated from gaming is used for:  property tax reduction to Pennsylvania homeowners, the Commonwealth’s horse racing industry; fire companies; a statewide water and sewer project grant program; the state’s General Fund; and local governments that host casinos for community projects.  For more information about the gaming industry in Pennsylvania please visit

The Design Center

Design CenterIf you are a resident of the city of Pittsburgh or a small-business owner or non-profit organization within the city, I want to make you aware of The Design Center.  The Design Center is a non-profit organization that advocates for the value of good design, planning and public policy to support more livable and sustainable communities.  If you’re a homeowner looking to improve your property value by renovating your interior or exterior, or a small business looking to remodel your building, The Design Center may be an option for you. 

Their Design Fund awards competitive grants to community organizations to hire architects, planners and other design professionals to assist in the initial phase of improvements to their neighborhoods.  A Design Consults program matches homeowners and small businesses with architects and designers to provide an on-site consultation in advance of remodeling or renovation work.  To learn more about The Design Center and its programs and to view case studies and testimonials please visit

PA American Water Scholarship Program

Pennsylvania American Water is accepting applications for its 2013 Stream of Learning Scholarship Program.  This program aids students who are planning to pursue careers in the water and wastewater industry by providing college scholarships.  The company will award scholarships of $2,000 each to 10 students who are selected through the program’s application process.  Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Pennsylvania American Water Students must currently live in one of Pennsylvania American Water’s service areas (students can attend college outside of the company’s service territory).

  • Students must plan to attend a two- or four-year college or technical school.

  • Students must plan to study environmental science, environmental engineering, biology, or chemistry.

Applications can be downloaded from the Pennsylvania American Water website.  Completed applications must be postmarked by February 28th and should be mailed to:

            Kerri Bevan
            Pennsylvania American Water
            800 W. Hersheypark Drive
            Hershey, PA  17033

For more information on the Stream of Learning Scholarship Program please contact Josephine Posti at 724-743-3103 or

Senator Fontana speaks with Girl Scout Troop 54255 on January 18th at the West Liberty Elementary School.  Senator Fontana speaks with Girl Scout Troop 54255 on January 18th at the West Liberty Elementary School. 

Senator Fontana speaks with Girl Scout Troop 54255 on January 18th at the West Liberty Elementary School.  The Troop is currently working on their Government badges and Senator Fontana spoke to the Troop about leadership and answered questions.

Carnegie 5K Run/Walk

Carnegie 5K Run/WalkThe Borough of Carnegie is hosting the 6th Annual Carnegie Volunteer Fire Department 5K Run/Walk on April 27th.  You can register early for the race and registration forms are available at the Borough Building and at various businesses around Carnegie.  You can also visit the borough's website to download a registration form.  Anyone registering on or before March 29th will receive a discount.  The race is open to serious runners as well as walkers, families, dog walkers and anyone looking to enjoy a leisurely day outside in the community.  The event will also feature music, refreshments and door prizes as well as awards for the top finishers.  Proceeds from the event support the Carnegie Volunteer Fire Department.  For more information or to download a registration form, please visit

Stowe Township Goes Online

Stowe Township has launched a website,  On the site, residents can find links to the police and fire departments, public works, the board of commissioners and the tax office and will provide an opportunity to contact the various departments by email.  The site will also provide community links, news, and minutes from the board of commissioners’ meetings.  You can view the site at

Fontana Fact

The Strip District began in 1814 as the Northern Liberties and was also referred to as Bayardstown, after local landowner George Bayard.  Bayard and James O’Hara established a plan of lots between 11th and 15th Streets.  It’s location along the river was an important factor in industrial development that ensued as companies like ALCOA and Westinghouse located there.  Today the Strip District is best known for its retail produce and ethnic food stores, restaurants and coffee shops.  The businesses that call the Strip home employ over 16,000 people.

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

  Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Phone: 412-344-2551
Fax: 412-344-3400
543 Main Capitol
Box 203042
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-5300
Fax: 717-772-5484
Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plz
524 Pine Hollow Rd
Kennedy Twp, PA 15136
Phone: 412-331-1208
Fax: 412-331-2079
Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Phone: 412-343-2080
Fax: 412-343-2418
2013 Stream of Learning Scholarship Program Design Center DCED