Data Collection Complete for Lehigh Valley Alumni Survey
By Colin McEvoy on March 8, 2021
A survey to gauge perceptions of the Lehigh Valley among alumni of the region’s colleges and universities is progressing well, and a report of the final results is expected to be released next month.
Lehigh Valley educational institutions have partnered with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation on the survey, which also explores alumni’s priorities related to careers and location preference, and helps direct LVEDC’s marketing efforts to continue to attract a strong workforce to the region.
“Alumni perceptions of Lehigh Valley as a place to live and work are important to LVEDC’s efforts to attract and retain a talented workforce for employers,” said Karianne Gelinas, LVEDC Vice President of Business Development and Talent Supply.
The data collection portion of the survey has been completed, with more than 4,000 survey responses collected from Lehigh Valley colleges and universities. The firm Maguire Associates will now gather and analyze the data and share the results with LVEDC, Gelinas said, and a final report is expected to be released in mid-April.
“We chose to focus on alumni and understand alumni perceptions and priorities because we know from previous studies that people with the most familiarity with the region are most likely to stay, live, or work here,” Gelinas said. “The perceptions of an audience that has a connection to the region and is familiarwith its quality of life and career opportunities are critical to LVEDC in understanding talent attraction trends, strengths, and challenges.”
The survey included broad questions that wereasked of all alumni, but was also designed so that individual schools added their own institutionally-specific questions targeted exclusively to their alumni, Gelinas said.
In addition to gauging perceptions of the Lehigh Valley among alumni, the survey evaluated whether there were any specific groups or cohorts of individuals, whether by occupation or current residence, who view the Lehigh Valley in a particularly favorable light.
Among the participating educational institutions are DeSales University, East Stroudsburg University, Lafayette College, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Lehigh University, Moravian College, Muhlenberg College, Northampton Community College, and Penn State Lehigh Valley.
More than 4,000 alumni responded to the survey, illustrating the strong sentiments that alumni have for their alma maters and the substantial partnership between LVEDC and Lehigh Valley colleges and universities, Gelinas said.
LVEDC began meeting with educational institutions and stakeholders in 2019 to gauge interest in this survey and begin laying the groundwork. It was nearly ready to launch in March, but was delayed until October due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The LVEDC Education and Talent Supply Council is a partnership of Lehigh Valley educational institutions, major employers, and economic development and workforce agencies focused on creating and executing regional strategies that help the Lehigh Valley maintain a competitive workforce and talent supply.
The new alumni survey follows a previous study the Council engaged in 2018 to increase the understanding of the perceptions of the Lehigh Valley among people from outside the region.
The results showed that people with no connection to the region had either no perceptions or incorrect perceptions about the Lehigh Valley. It also showed that people who are at least somewhat familiar with the region are also more likely to consider relocating to the Lehigh Valley for a job that met their career and compensation objectives.
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