Human resource organization to expand to local service area

LEWISTOWN – Every business has at least one common denominator: humans. Whether it’s a solo operation or a corporation big enough to need an entire department dedicated to them, someone somewhere has to be responsible for the day-to-day, year-to-year management of its people. Interviewing, conflict resolution, filing paperwork – these are all aspects of human resources handled by small business owners and designated HR professionals.

The Human Resource Association of Centre County, an affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management, is expanding to include Mifflin, Juniata and Huntingdon counties as a member service area. The group will offer networking opportunities and professional development workshops that focus on current HR issues.

“It’s not just for human resources personnel. It could be, for local business owners, a way to understand the whole world of human resources in general, if they become involved,” said Kathy McCool, of Lewistown. McCool is a human resources consultant and the member service area chairwoman.

Cher Harpster, business consultant for PA CareerLink Mifflin County, said while many professionals in the area are SHRM members, there were no local connections to the organization in the area.

“The idea is basically to look at what HRACC is doing and bring the same ideas here,” she said.

“We here in Mifflin County are spearheading this,” McCool said. “Cher recognized a need in the area that there was not a way for human resource professionals in the three counties to connect. There was no forum for that.”

So far this year, HRACC has held events focusing on job matching – that is, pairing candidates with positions that are right for them and consequently, good for the business – as well as health care reform and leadership, among others.

Harpster, who serves as the group’s membership chairwoman, said local programs will likely be held quarterly to start, with additional events added as the group grows; however, those who become members can attend any HRACC event outside the tri-county service area.

A free informational luncheon about the group will be held at noon on July 23, at PA CareerLink Mifflin County in the MCIDC plaza. To register, contact McCool at mccoolhrconsulting@ or Harpster at For more information on HRACC, visit