EDITOR'S NOTE: The second item in this report has been updated.

The coronavirus emergency has prompted a need for health care workers, which by extension prompted Penn Commercial Business/Technical School to expand its curriculum.

Penn Commercial is adding Phlebotomy Technician to its medical program offerings. It is a 12-week diploma program that will begin with the winter quarter of 2021 Jan. 4.

A skilled phlebotomy technician, or phlebotomist, draws blood quickly from a patient with minimal discomfort.

The school, on Oak Spring Road in South Strabane Township, cited a projection from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that jobs for phlebotomists will increase 17% between 2019 to 2029.

“We’re very excited to launch the Phlebotomy Technician program,” Robert Bazant, president/owner of Penn Commercial, said in a statement. “It’s a great addition to our medical programs, and provides tremendous job opportunities for graduates to make a good living.”

Penn Commercial said enrollment has risen significantly during the pandemic, including a 45% increase for the fall 2020 quarter.

For more information, visit www.penncommercial.edu or call 724-222-5330.

Say cheese – and wine

An upcoming Zoom event should get you into the holiday spirit – and spirits.

“Wine & Cheese – The Perfect Pairing” will take place virtually at 6 p.m. Jan. 10. The session will feature wine, cheeses and demonstrations about wine pairings, artisan cheeses and festive cheese boards.

The event was planned for Sunday, Dec. 6, but was rescheduled.

GoodTaste! Pittsburgh, a producer of culinary events, will present the program, which is aimed at supporting local businesses. Marketplace at Emerald Valley is among the sponsors.

Alisa Fava-Fasnacht, owner of the Washington marketplace, will present the segment “Navigating The Gourmet Cheese Counter” – one of three segments overall.

Tickets cost $65 and are available at https://goodtastepittsburgh.com/wine-cheese-the-perfect-pairing/. Each ticket-holder will get access to the event and a tasting kit for two that includes four paired gourmet cheese samples from Emerald Valley; a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon; freshly baked artisan bread; artisan-crafted olive oil and bread dip; and two chocolate truffles.

Testing kits can be picked up or shipped. Pickup will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5 at Dreadnought Wines, 3401 Liberty Ave., in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh. Those who place an order by Dec. 1 can have it shipped anywhere in Pennsylvania for $25.

Teen shoppers

The holiday retail season is well underway, and according to a survey by Junior Achievement, a vast majority of teens plan to do at least some of their shopping inside stores.

JA’s survey says 68% of teens expect to shop at malls, discount stores, electronics stores and small businesses. Nearly a matching number – 65% – reported they plan to do some online shopping.

The organization ENGINE Insights surveyed 1,003 teens, ages 13 to 17, from Oct. 20 to 25. The group was made up of 502 females and 501 males.

Kimberly Cowden, marketing and communications specialist at Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania, said in a statement that “despite the global pandemic and its economic impact, teens appear to be very enthusiastic about shopping this holiday season, even if they may have to do it differently from past years.

“The holidays are a good time for parents to talk to their kids about personal finances. Budgeting, making informed choices, and even the proper use of credit cards or money apps can all be part of those conversations.”

The coronavirus outbreak, according to 53% surveyed, has caused them to alter their holiday shopping strategies. More than 36% said they are likely to do all of their shopping online.

As for the amount they plan to spend on holiday gifts, 37% said it would be less than $100; 20% said $100 to $249; and only 12% projected they will spend more than $250.

Clothing (55%) was the top gift idea, followed by gift cards (45%); accessories such as hats and shoes (44%); and video games (43%).

MVH award

Monongahela Valley Hospital has received a Women’s Choice Award for having one of Best Mammogram Imaging Centers in the United States.

The Carroll Township hospital is one of 1,605 award winners that have earned the Breast Imaging Center of Excellence seal from the American College of Radiology and are accredited for mammograms.

The American Cancer Society estimates that about one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in women.

Louis J. Panza Jr., MVH’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement: “It’s been nearly six years since we began offering 3-D mammograms, which improve the ability to detect breast cancer earlier. We are confident that this technology is helping to save lives in our community.”

Business Writer

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won eight individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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