For years, STEP Inc. has provided residents of Clinton and Lycoming counties with resources covering every stage of life from early childhood education to programs for seniors citizens.
There was one area where the agency was nearly invisible, however. Its website was outdated and contained little information about the agency or its programs.
The agency recently stepped into the 21st Century by launching a completely modernized website at www.stepcorp.org.
"We had a website, but it was not what it is today," agency President and CEO Terry Roller said.
"It's really a whole revamping of the entire site," said Rachelle Abbott, agency director of planning. "It's more community friendly and user friendly."
It took about six months to create the site using in-house information technology staff working under an advisory committee, Abbott said.
According to Roller, the agency has for years faced a challenge as to how to best let the community know the various types of services it provides.
"One of the objectives I have is helping people understand the breadth and depth of what we are," Roller said. "We're hoping to achieve that through the website."
"Sometime, when you are a social service provider, you get so focused on providing that service," he added. "It's just as important to get the information out there as it is to provide the service."
The site provides information on the agency's programs in early learning, housing options, workforce development and employment, community collaboration and independent living, according to Abbott.
Under those program headings, the agency administers programs that include Head Start, Early Head Start, home weatherization, Homes in Need, home ownership counseling, welfare to work transportation, child care information services, Americorps, Office of Aging programs such as Meals-on-Wheels, and transportation for the elderly, disabled and Medical Assistance recipients.
Videos also are posted on the site to illustrate the agency's programs, Abbott said.
"As an organization last fiscal year, we brought in over $40 million into the community," Roller said. "This is a way for people to access those resources."
The site provides information about the Homes in Need Flood Recovery Program, which allows homeowners needing repairs not covered by insurance or disaster assistance to have those repairs made in order to return to their homes. Another program provides helps pay for temporary housing while flood victims' homes are being repaired.
The site also contains an events calendar and links to news stories related to the agency.
Roller said the site is a "work in progress" that continually will be updated.
"Very soon you will see employment opportunities posted on it," he said.