It’s free. One of the biggest and ostensibly most creative music and arts fests in the country, and still… it’s free. From day one – that’s June 7th this year – and for ten straight days, the Three Rivers Arts Festival will entertain hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe. And in case you missed it, it’s free!

This year, stars like India.Arie will be added to the long list of those who performed or presented at Three Rivers. Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Wilco and the Black Keys are in the books alongside Allen Ginsberg, Spalding Gray, Keith Haring and Nam June Paik as those who helped make it the festival it is today. As a matter of fact, #TRAF has been delivering world-class visual and performing art since 1960.

How can Pittsburgh do that? They have a lot of help. Sponsors, such as title sponsor Dollar Bank. Add donations and the government money that goes to Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. But the biggest reason they can keep it free and do such a great job?

Volunteers.

Volunteers are at the heart and soul of almost every great festival. There are parking lots to manage, guest questions to answer, artists to assist and children to entertain. But those are only some of the jobs done – during the event itself. Many, many volunteers are added to the staff throughout the planning year, helping recruit vendors and determine which food truck goes where on the site. With three locations across downtown Pittsburgh, it’s a big task.

People volunteer for a number of reasons – giving back, getting free tickets, camaraderie, experience – you name it. When organizers are looking for volunteers, there’s one kind of person that sticks out: the ones that want to do this year after year. That’s because volunteers are entrusted with a lot of information and having to retrain a new team can be costly.

Worse yet: when data leaves with the person who donated their time. It can take days or weeks to try and recreate the knowledge that departs when the person does. That’s why PS Solutions created an inexpensive system to manage the entirety of what’s happening on the back-end of a festival.

It’s called Chute Festival. And if you are a volunteer, ask the team if they use our system. It can save a lot of headaches and help them operate more efficiently. Because if you care enough to donate your time, you care enough to ensure that the festival survives and remains healthy.

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When startups reach the key milestone of securing Angel or Venture Capital, their new partners are looking both for a series of deliverables but also a great return on their investment. One of the many questions they ask during the pitch process is generally ‘how long before you’ll need another infusion of capital?’ They love it when the response is … “a long time.”

Once that infusion is safely secured, how do smart entrepreneurs make the most of it? STRETCH. Find the best value for the money on every project. And that includes custom developed software.

In the early 2000s, the key to this savings was to off-shore development. Fast and inexpensive services sprung up across Asia and Eastern Europe, putting hundreds of thousands of software engineers to work… outside of the US.

“Americans are just too expensive,” was the cry.



What we learned, however, was that it’s not really American developers that are so untouchably expensive, but the US major cities that pushed up the prices. The developers in rural areas and small cities are actually quite affordable. Plus – they speak your language, understand your culture, and live somewhat near your time zone (if not in your time zone).

The Whole

Entrepreneurs often judge the viability of outsourcing based on hourly rates they are paying. This can be misleading. When you pay for the least expensive person to do the job, you seldom get the best. Then you wind up paying more for senior team members to work through the problems created by the less-experienced.

Here are three other ways that the whole can end up bigger than the sum of its parts (ie: it’s more expensive to offshore than it looks):

The Where

Where you are does make a difference. If your developers are in major cities with high cost of living, you’ll simply spend more than you will when the teams live in places where the cost of living is lower. It’s just logical. And it’s been proven out time and time again on projects we’ve delivered.

But it’s not just the cost of the developer. It’s the cost of your time. That’s why we encourage you to take advantage of our US-based developers, and keep from going:

  • Time Zone Zany: I’ve never met an entrepreneur that wasn’t exhausted. Burning candles at both ends, they manage their business, their product, their employees… they have a hard time managing developers who live 12 hours away.
  • Partner Panicked: I’ve also never met an investor who preferred that the code she just invested in be developed or stored over seas in a distant land, subject to different law and different court system.

    Just because you need to stretch your investment dollars, don’t cheap out on software development. Be responsible. Keep development in the US by working with rural and small city teams. Consider the whole of your investment, and give us a call.

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    Strummer Bob Fields Heads Up Sales in Pittsburgh

    When you’ve been serving the IT industry since 1981, have deep roots in your region and throughout the Midwest, and, to quote Chuck Berry, can play guitar like ringin’ a bell, well, you’re bound to be a rockin’ success.

    PS Solutions’ Robert (Bob) Fields may have taken a brief hiatus from IT during the Y2K hangover, but we’ll forgive him for that and chalk up 35 years to his investment in the tech industry. He actually started in IT recruiting for an IT consulting firm, but they soon uncovered his true talent.

    “I still remember the day, sitting in Pittsburgh, when I sold the highest billing rate for a consultant in the history of the company to a client in Washington, DC,” reminisces Fields. “I found that I really enjoyed the sales side of the house and spent the next ten years with that company advancing in that role.”

    He joined PS Solutions in November of 2015. It was a great fit from the get-go, with IT services and the oft-desired tech recruitment. Earlier positions with big companies kept pigeon-holing him into doing things he was good at but didn’t love. He loved account management and the people/problem solving balance it offered. And that’s the role he was looking for.

    “Moving to PS Solutions gave me that opportunity,” he said. “It also provided a bit of a homecoming back to a more agile, entrepreneurial, smaller, quality-oriented, regional IT consulting firm. The strong values make such a difference, in my happiness and in the satisfaction of our clients.”

    The Bob Special Sauce

    What is it, really, about being an account manager that Bob loves? It’s solving problems for the people within the companies he serves. When we asked him why he thought he excelled, he told us it came down to one thing:

    “I listen,” he said. “Many people are too quick to talk, to sell what they want to sell. But if you develop the skill of listening, you’re more certain to understand what is needed. If you have listened, your questions are much more on point, and the client knows that you get it.”

    Of course, you have to get to that meeting, right? The one where you get to listen? Opening that door can be a tough nut to crack.

    “I have been told by clients that they have given us a chance because of my persistence. In some cases, it was persistence over the space of years,” he says with a smile.

    The Band Behind the Man

    He may have spent his first three years in Erie, but Bob’s a Pittsburgher through and through. In high school he fell in love with writing, and only became a guitar player at 17, once he realized he would like to be able to play the music he wrote. Like every good teenage guitar player, he formed a band, and like every good sales person, he stays in touch. After all these years, and across a myriad of time zones, Bob stays in touch with different members of the band.

    Even with more than 30 years of teaching, recording and live performances under his belt, Bob still finds the magic of playing for a crowd. At one particular performance at PPG Paints Arena, PPG Place, he performed for about 500 people during a summer arts festival. “It’s like a glass castle, and when you catch it at sunset, with fountains reflecting the colors, it’s just magical.”

    Sometimes it seems that magic is his middle name. It’s actually Boyle, however, which leads him to play a lot of Irish tunes. This means that St. Patrick’s week can be especially busy, as he tries to give back to people of all ages. He developed a way to use new music technology, using a loop pedal to record and play rhythm parts and guitar synthesizer to represent the bass, fiddle, bagpipes, pennywhistle and other instruments. He involves his audience, looping in the seniors at retirement homes and the partakers at the bars. And getting them to sing along is half the fun!

    He especially enjoys serving the underserved. “It brings validity to what you’re doing. When you’re playing music it’s not about you – it’s what can you do for others.”

    You’ll often find him playing in contemporary music services at church, but he can play classical, rock and folk. He finds what his audience is hungry to hear, and that’s what he delivers.

    You could say that Bob is a listener and a problem solver, whether he’s at work or performing. It’s what makes him great at what he does, at home with this family, in the clients’ offices, or on the stage. To Bob, what you can do to make others’ lives more rich is the thing to do.

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    Trevor Hughes Joins the PS Solutions Wilmington Team

    PS Solutions has increased their Wilmington headcount… and it’s about to get much bigger if Trevor Hughes has anything to say about it.

    After five years in sales and business development for technology companies and recruiters, Trevor is putting his love of helping individuals and businesses achieve success to work for PS Solutions. Most recently with Proficient Learning, one of Inc. 5000’s fastest growing companies in 2018, he’s anxious to put the Wilmington office of PS Solutions on the tip of every North Carolina company’s tongue. After all, PS Solutions was also on the Inc. list before they opened the Wilmington office two years ago. He’d like to seem them regain that listing in the next year or two.

    “It’s exciting to be in a position to help young companies grow, especially focusing on the Cape Fear region,” said Hughes. “I’m researching all the companies from startups to those over $2 million in annual revenue, because that is where I think the software development services offered by PS Solutions can have the greatest impact.”

    Hughes will be focusing on three areas: recruiting technology talent; connecting PS Solutions’ developers with companies that need custom software; and promoting a new software product that the company is launching this spring, called Chute Festival.
    “I was drawn to the position because I love recruiting and selling technology solutions; both are needed in our region,” he said. “It’s rare to have a chance to also help launch a new product, so I’m really excited to reach out to the festivals across the southeast, too.”

    Chute Festival is a Cloud-based service that makes it easier for people who run fairs and festivals to be more efficient, managing their vendors, customers, team and invoicing. PS Solutions is officially introducing it this spring, with Hughes being at the center of the sales activities. He pointed to the incredible number of festivals in the Carolinas as a huge opportunity.

    When not networking, you’ll likely find Hughes where you find so many of Wilmington’s transplants: on the beach. Along with surfing, Hughes is a competitive open water swimmer. He regularly competes in the Pier to Pier swim on Wrightsville Beach, and takes part in the Swim the Loop event, which is 3 ½ miles of open water.

    “Like most people who choose to make Wilmington their home, I’m really excited to help keep it a great place to live,” said Hughes. He has two sons with his wife, who is a special education teacher in a Topsail Elementary School.

    “Wilmington is a great place to raise a family. We see more and more people choosing to want to live where they vacation, and the quality of life here is outstanding. I’m looking forward to helping PS Solutions offer more people a high standard of living through technology.”

    PS Solutions takes a creative approach to solving companies’ technology problems, employing a diverse group of software and project management professionals to keep software development in the USA. They focus on growing cities as a way to keep costs down without having to off-shore.

    For more information, contact info@PSSolutions.net

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    Trade shows, County fairs. Film festivals. Street fairs. Flea Markets. Job fairs.

    Events like these are a compendium of thousands of details. Vendors, payments, marketing, invoicing… keeping it all organized and easily accessible can be exhausting.

    PS Solutions to the rescue! We’ve recently released our own vendor management system, and we call it Chute – as in, parachute – because it eases your entry into the event. We were working with a Pennsylvania County Fair which faced problems when volunteers left the organization. The result was increased difficulty tracking and managing billings. The team at PS Solutions saw an opportunity to help event managers across the country easily organize, communicate about and manage their interaction with vendors.

    Here are just a few things we took into consideration when creating our event management system for festivals:

    A Bird’s Eye View: Event maps

    Chute Festival provides you with a computerized interactive version of your festival or fairground layout. It’s easier than ever to determine which spaces are still are rented and quickly pinpoint where each vendor will reside. Of course, it’s also easier to show which spaces are open and left to be sold, allowing you to quickly close the deal. Vendor reservations are laid out in color, making it a snap to identify who’s where.

    Better Communication: Email Systems

    Keep up communications with potential, current and even former vendors through our simple email management system that ties directly to the data in your system.

    Get Paid Faster: Cloud-based Invoicing

    Let Chute Festival take the stress out of billing. Generate customized Invoices on the fly to track and manage payments and accounts. With a few clicks, you can generate all invoices for a given event. And all the information is tied back to each vendor, giving you greater insight into where you stand financially.

    And if you use a different accounting – or event database — package, that’s no problem either. Chute provides easy export into PDF, .xls and CSV. With only a few clicks you can export an entire section of data in a pain-free process.

    Always On: Cloud-based Software

    There are so many advantages to having a cloud-hosted software solution. For example:

    No Limits: Host Scores of Events

    We don’t believe in capping your creativity or your success. So, go ahead. Host two events this year. Or three. Even if you want to expand your mapping footprint or layout, the costs for new maps are available at extremely low rates, allowing you to expand or reorganize without worrying about excessive costs. Whether you host one event or a dozen there are no caps when you use Chute Festival to manage your projects.

    Feel confident. As you grow, Chute Festival will grow with you.

    Want to learn more about how Chute can help you? Connect with us at info@chutefestival.com

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    Wilmington, NC – April 9, 2019 — PS Solutions, a software development firm with offices in Wilmington, NC, as well as Pittsburgh and Altoona, PA, last month released a new app designed to help identify those at risk for committing suicide which utilizes the renowned Columbia Protocol. This free smartphone app provides instant access to simple questions which have been successful in helping identify suicide risk. Blair County, PA was the first to develop an app using the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) and provide local contact information to nearby crisis centers. The app is now offered in North Carolina and can be customized to connect directly to local crisis centers.

    “North Carolina’s suicide rate is higher than the national average,” said Wayne Hippo, co-founder of PS Solutions. “That’s one of the reasons we wanted to bring this free app to the attention of our citizens and those who serve this community. It’s a way to help members of our community who need it most.”

    The free iOS and Android app provides access to the C-SSRS, which prompts a few simple questions that gauge when an individual is at risk for suicide then recommends an appropriate level of mental health support. The list of questions can be answered within a few minutes. App users are also offered contact information for crisis centers, which can be customized to include local contacts.

    “We need to get everyone in our communities asking these questions,” said Dr. Kelly Posner, Director of the Columbia Lighthouse Project, “Just think of how many lives we can save if every parent, police officer, teacher and neighbor downloaded and used this app.”

    More than 20 years of research validates relevance and effectiveness of the C-SSRS. Seen as the gold standard in assessing suicide risk, it is globally. For people who have thought about suicide, simply being asked these questions can come as a relief. One study found that asking the questions reduced distress in depressed respondents.

    According to a March 2019 study conducted for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the increase in the national suicide rate from 2016 to 2017 was the largest annual increase in nearly 20 years. Suicides rose by 4% from 2016 to 2017 and 22% from 2008 to 2017. Worldwide, almost 1 million people die by suicide each year; one life lost every 40 seconds.

    The idea for the app came from Blair County Pennsylvania, and it is the first county to offer customized local information. Other regions are encouraged to provide local crisis centers contact information, which is based on a user’s phone location. Information on app customization is available through email: info@PSSolutions.net.

    PS Solutions is a software development firm headquartered in Altoona, Pennsylvania, with offices in Pittsburgh and Wilmington, North Carolina. PS Solutions takes a creative approach to solving companies’ technology problems, employing a diverse group of software and project management professionals to develop software in the U.S.

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    Seems baseball can really influence a lot. It’s been known to develop more than one leader – and more
    than one leading developer. It requires a clear understanding of math, statistics, teamwork and a keen
    eye for those who can be coached.




    PS Solutions’ co-founder Joe Merilli has had baseball in his blood since he was in Little League. He
    wanted to pass along his love of the game once he had kids, but with three daughters he switched to
    softball. One of his daughters (Miranda) started playing t-ball when she was four years old and later
    started pitching with Dad in the back yard. Dad coached the t-ball team and went to coach’s clinics to
    make sure he was teaching the correct softball mechanics to his teams as instructed by the best college
    coaches in the game.




    Eventually, Joe started one of the first local travel teams (Altoona Express) for 10u, 12u and 14u players.
    The Altoona Express allowed the players to see a higher level of competition and travel all over the east
    coast. Altoona Express teams traveled as far as Disney World in Florida to compete. Miranda
    eventually out grew the local scene and the decision was made she would try out for a larger travel
    organization in Pittsburgh and she made it. Dad eventually was asked to coach one of those teams and
    they traveled from Michigan to Florida to tournaments.




    By the time high school came around, Merilli was hired to coach that team and took a perennial losing
    team to winning 59 out of 71 games and a date in the Western State Finals and were among the best
    teams in the State in their Division. Miranda finished her high school career as one of the most
    decorated pitchers in Blair County History.



    On to College: The stakes grow

    When Joe’s daughter went off to pitch for NYU Polytechnic’s softball team, he stayed home coaching his
    winning Bishop Guilfoyle team. But that wouldn’t be for long. The head coach at NYU Polytechnic had
    lost one of his coaches and asked if Joe would be interested?




    “You’re asking the wrong guy,” Joe replied. “You really should ask your star pitcher.” When she said yes,
    he became NYU Polytechnic’s pitching coach. After a couple of years there, and while being courted by
    Hunter College to be their pitching coach, Guilfoyle called to request he return. Apparently, they hadn’t
    won since he left, so Joe stepped in for a season and lead the team back to playoffs, losing only by one
    run in the District playoffs.




    During that year, the Head Coaching Position had opened at Joe’s alma mater – Penn State Altoona —
    and it didn’t take long for the two to get together and announce that Joe would be the next head coach
    of Women’s Softball at the school. In his first year at PSU Altoona, the team surprised everyone by
    finishing tied for first place in the conference with a 15-3 record. Over the past 4 years the team has
    been regularly at the top end of the conference and this year looks very promising also, even with four
    first year pitchers.



    Technology and Baseball

    When asked why he’s such a good softball coach, Joe always starts with the love of the game. But in
    college coaching, he swears that success is about recruiting the right players. It’s about getting the right
    talent, those that understand team play. Interestingly enough – that’s what he does at PS Solutions, too.
    Joe says that team sports are different today than they’ve ever been, that technology and social media
    play a huge role now. It’s not all the bad stuff – like having the discipline to put down that phone when
    you’re in team-time. Merilli has a strict rule: no cell phones at practice, when eating together, nor at
    games. He swears that no team can win if they don’t talk to each other, creating relationships and
    bonding as a team.




    But technology also helps them win. It’s about the strategies developed – and about the data generated,
    tabulated, and analyzed.




    “I always have used spreadsheets and charts to know my team and my competition,” said Merilli. “I
    chart every pitch we throw. We know how every batter we face hits. We take that data and determine
    what pitch to call against every batter. It’s a combination of teamwork, talent and data that lets us have
    fun while attempting to outmaneuver the other team.”



    There’s no crying in this baseball

    In A League of their Own, Jimmy Dugan (played by Tom Hanks) ‘coaches’ the girls to tears. Joe used to
    coach a lot like Dugan…especially with his daughter and the talented high school teams he had. But
    times are changing and Joe will regularly tell you that he has mellowed a bit on the field. He still expects
    a lot from his players, especially from the most talented ones. He will tell you that he loves a well
    pitched, well fielded game. But this year, the team is scoring more runs and winning some games with
    the bats.




    “We have a really good team this year, with four really good first year pitchers. But this may be the best
    hitting team we have had a long time. We won six games in a row in Florida, because we hit well all
    week.”




    For Merilli, the game looks at all sides of the players, and lets everyone develop strong skills in new
    ways. Just like the developers he works with all day, who might be great at Java but surprising him
    when they take on other object-oriented systems.
    From all of us at PS Solutions, we wish the Penn State Altoona Lions 2019 roster a world full of luck.
    Go Lions!



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    When you own a software development company and you lead a foundation that encourages young
    girls to learn to code, you’re often asked about how we can get enough coders among our population. In
    fact, it seems that at most dinner parties we attend there’s at least one parent in the room that asks
    about how to help teach their children to develop technology skills. One team at Carnegie Mellon
    University (CMU) must have been asked the same thing, as they’ve come up with one option. They call it
    Alice.




    According to their website, Alice is designed to teach logical and computational thinking skills,
    fundamental principles of programming and to be a first exposure to object-oriented programming. It’s
    used by teachers but can easily be led by parents-as-teachers as well. Most start at middle school level,
    although it has regularly been used with younger children – and even those at university level.




    Designed to provide the basics coding and software design, it includes game development but is also
    used to expand understanding of both logical and creative thinking. Studies done at CMU found proven
    benefits in engaging and retaining diverse and under-served groups in computer science education.




    In and of itself, Alice is a fabulous teaching environment. The Alice Project as a whole, however, also
    provides supplemental tools and materials for teaching using Alice across a spectrum of ages and
    subject matter. They have established an active community, wherein teachers of all sorts interact to
    provide ideas and applications and talk through concerns or questions.


    Alice starts with a simple drag-and-drop approach, to make the concept of programming less daunting.
    Students (and teachers!) progress quickly to develop stories through animation and sound, and
    ultimately even build games.

    Why is it called Alice?

    If you’ve ever had to name a product or a company in the past 20 years, you know how difficult it is to
    settle on something that’s not already taken. While many girls could be Alice Smith, there’s only one
    alicesmith.com, and acquiring the registered trademark is a complex process.
    As the creative folk at CMU tried to express this program, they thought, of course, of storytelling. Who
    better to embody the idea of Alice in Lewis Carroll’s The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland. Carroll, a
    mathematician, novelist, and photographer, could do intellectually difficult things but also realized the
    most powerful thing was to be able to communicate clearly and in an entertaining way. This inspired
    CMU’s efforts to make something complex (programming) easy and fun.
    As they describe on their site, the name is also a very practical choice. The artwork associated with the
    Alice books is now in the public domain, its copyright having lapsed. Also, the name “Alice” has several
    other advantages: easy to spell and pronounce, it shows up at the top of alphabetized lists. Great
    marketing forethought!



    What does it cost?

    It’s so important to offer programming as a key still today that CMU has found a way to make this
    project a gift. In other words, it may cost you in time and energy, but there is no financial outlay. It’s
    free.

    So, no matter the age of your children, go take a look at Alice. There may be a great storyteller inside
    your child’s mind, once they have the tools. You’ll find a link to it on our Foundation website, under
    Classroom Materials.



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    PS Solutions Software in a Different Language




    In an earlier blog post we discussed the benefits of custom software to help businesses establish a
    competitive edge. Yet designing, testing, installing and training can be a significant battle for the team
    leader.


    Organizations quite often conclude that their in-house development team is either already overworked
    or that they don’t have the necessary skills required to complete the project. Coders and app developers
    have specialties, generally in different languages like HTML, Java Script, C++ — the list goes on. If the
    new system calls for Python and that’s not in the programmers’ wheelhouse, you’ll likely outsource the
    work.


    Outsourcing in the US likely means the computer language is the primary concern. Outsourcing offshore,
    however, will invariably add a few layers of complexity to the project, including the spoken and written
    language. Having your team work in different development languages is one thing. Having them try to
    understand a second language and envelope that into the system may be the breaking point for a
    successful endeavor.

    Dialect, Accent, Colloquialisms

    When folks from the northeast move to southern states, they often found themselves having a hard
    time understanding the accent, especially in the deep south. Are they hearing a foreign language? Even
    those with a rather well-developed ear, who’ve traveled extensively ask people to repeat themselves.
    There are so many English dialects that misunderstandings occur regularly. Accents among Americans
    are difficult enough but add accents of English speakers from across the globe and it’s likely that the
    work to decipher meaning can confound situations. Non-native speakers often slip into the sentence
    structure of their native language and confuse inferences due to colloquial speech and slang that
    dominate today’s communication style.

    Tech Translation

    A friend of one of our co-workers lives in Poland. His Facebook feed recently had a cute picture of a child
    and a description written in Polish. Not speaking Polish himself, he decided to use one of the many
    translation apps available. Apparently, the way it was translated made our colleague shudder that his
    Polish friend was speaking so negatively about his son…
    Of course, when asked directly, the translation software had not interpreted the comment correctly.
    Imagine a situation like that when teams are trying to work on projects as complex as a software system.
    It’s not enough to outsource to an English-speaking team. Communication among those working on the
    project can make or break its success, so consider the clarity of working with an astute team here on US
    soil. Don’t let any part of your system get lost in translation.



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    America’s first app designed to help save those with suicidal thoughts has been developed by PS
    Solutions and introduced first in Blair County, Pennsylvania. Based on the Columbia-Suicide Severity
    Rating Scale (C-SSRS), the Columbia Protocol App provides instant access to a few simple questions that
    can help save the life of someone considering suicide.




    “Our county’s crisis line has 200 to 400 calls every year,” said Jim Hudack, director for the Blair County
    Department of Social Services and person responsible for the initial idea. “This app is another way to
    offer help to the members of our community who need it most.”
    Users download the iOS or Android app to access questions that gauge when an individual is at risk for
    suicide; it then recommends an appropriate level of mental health support. The list of questions can be
    answered within a few minutes, after which users are offered contact information for local and national
    crisis centers.




    “We need to get everyone in our communities asking these questions,” said Dr. Kelly Posner, Director of
    the Columbia Lighthouse Project, “Just think of how many lives we can save if every parent, police
    officer, teacher and neighbor downloaded and used this app.”




    With over 20 years of research to validate its relevance and effectiveness, the C-SSRS is seen as the gold
    standard in assessing suicide risk and is used by governments, schools, and communities across the
    globe. For people who have thought about suicide, simply being asked these questions can come as a
    relief. One study found that asking the questions reduced distress in depressed respondents.




    Blair County operates one of the busiest crisis centers in the state of Pennsylvania, despite having a
    population of 124,000. In Blair County, 23 residents took their own lives in 2018, a 64% increase from
    the 2016 total and above the national average of 14.5 deaths per 100,000.




    According to a March 2019 study conducted for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the
    increase in the national suicide rate from 2016 to 2017 was the largest annual increase in nearly 20
    years. Suicides rose by 4% from 2016 to 2017 and 22% from 2008 to 2017. Worldwide, almost 1 million
    people die by suicide each year — equal to one life lost every 40 seconds.




    PS Solutions, headquartered in Altoona, Pennsylvania, with offices in Pittsburgh and Wilmington, North
    Carolina, was chosen by Blair County to develop the app. The app will work as-is nationwide, sending all
    callers to the national hotline; it can also be customized by PS Solutions to include contact information
    for hotlines in other counties, cities, and states, which would be delivered based on the user’s phone
    location.




    TO DOWNLOAD: Search the app store for Columbia Protocol. It will say it’s by “PROFESSIONAL STAFFING SOLUTIONS, LLC.”.




    It can be found on the Play Store for Android or the App Store for iOS



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  • At PS Solutions, we believe that software and technology are important in our day-to-day lives. Our goal is to ensure that the computer code running everything from banking to healthcare to national security is written, protected and stored right here in the USA. We hire top-flight software developers who creatively solve problems and we put them to work here in the USA. Let’s tackle your software projects together, using American creativity and “know how”.

    FIND OUT MORE


    Altoona Development Center
    1601 Eleventh Avenue
    Ste. 201
    Altoona, PA, 16601
    814-942-7888

    Pittsburgh Development Center
    1500 Ardmore Boulevard
    Ste. 500
    Pittsburgh, PA, 15221
    412-731-2123

    Wilmington Development Center
    2109 Capital Drive
    Ste. 170
    Wilmington, NC, 28405
    910-399-6820