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Lehigh Valley Talent Supply Study Featured in Connections Magazine

By Colin McEvoy on January 10, 2018

The below story, about the LVEDC Education and Talent Supply Council and the ongoing Lehigh Valley talent supply initiative, originally appeared in the January 2018 issue of Connections, a magazine by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Businesses need three essential ingredients to succeed: access to capital, a building to call home, and a ready supply of workers.

This article was featured in the January 2018 issue of Connections, a magazine by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

This article was featured in the January 2018 issue of Connections, a magazine by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

In the Lehigh Valley, and across the country, labor supply issues are growing more prominent as employers seek to hire and hold onto people who have the talents, skills, and attributes necessary for success in the workplace.

In fact, the availability of trained workers is now the single biggest factor driving company location decisions, according to the Site Selectors Guild’s annual survey report. It has even surpassed total operating costs, which has traditionally topped the list in previous years.

To that end, an Lehigh Valley initiative is underway that will identify talent supply and demand issues in the region and create a strategy that results in a broader, ongoing understanding of the regional workforce among employers, educators, and other stakeholders.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into recruiting and retaining employers by marketing the Lehigh Valley’s economic assets,” said Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) President & CEO Don Cunningham. “To continue the success we’ve had, it is imperative we know our region better than other regions know themselves, and that begins with understanding the challenges of our talent supply.”

The initiative stems from a 2014 study, “Bridging the Workforce Gap,” which analyzed the region’s labor supply pipeline. That study was commissioned by LVEDC and the Workforce Board Lehigh Valley, and led to the creation of the LVEDC Education and Talent Supply Council, which is a major driver behind the talent supply initiative.

“That is all part of an ongoing new Lehigh Valley-wide effort to ensure greater alignment of the education talent supply and employer workforce needs of the region,” said Nancy Dischinat, Workforce Board Lehigh Valley executive director. “Developing data-driven, innovative and cost-effective workforce strategies has always been a priority for us.”

As part of that initiative, focus groups, surveys, and roundtable discussions have been conducted with businesses within targeted industry clusters, and interviews have been held with such stakeholders as education and training institutions, workforce development organizations, and sector/professional associations.

“It’s not just about gathering and reporting data,” said Karianne Gelinas, LVEDC Director of Talent Supply. “We are building a process that we will use to refresh information from employers and educators, and sustain a world-class talent supply pipeline.”

The study is being led by the Toronto-based MDB Insight, which is working closely with LVEDC and Workforce Board Lehigh Valley on consultation activities. Preliminary data from the study is expected to be available to the LVEDC Education and Talent Supply Council by this month, and a final report and strategic action plan will be released by June 2018.

“The Lehigh Valley has the structure in place to take the strategy that will come out of our research and roll up your sleeves to implement it, monitor its progress, and make adjustments,” said Trudy Parsons, Executive Vice President of MDB Insight.

The targeted industry clusters include bio and life sciences; health care; transportation, warehousing, and logistics; manufacturing (advanced and food & beverage); finance and insurance; and professional office and business services, according to MDB Insight.

The mission of the LVEDC is to market the economic assets of the Lehigh Valley and to serve as a regional shared services and resource center to help businesses to come, grow, and start here.

The mission of Workforce Board Lehigh Valley is to ensure an employer demand-driven, world-class workforce system aligned with economic development, education, and the community, focusing on targeted industry clusters.

LVEDC Talent Supply Update: A Timeline of the Ongoing Lehigh Valley Initiative

Each week, Karianne Gelinas, Director of Talent Supply with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), will provide an update and additional information a[...]

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