Back

Lehigh Valley Career and Technical School Students Have ‘Signing Day’

By Colin McEvoy on May 17, 2022

Signing day events are usually associated with student athletes, but in the Lehigh Valley this week, one such event was held for students from regional career and technical schools preparing to enter the workforce, military, or post-secondary institutes related to their trades.

The SkillsUSA Council hosted its third annual District 11 Signing Day event at DeSales University in Upper Saucon Township on May 13, where nearly 150 students donned red suits and ties, and signed papers to signify the next steps in their careers or life paths.

“As a result of their studies, these young adults are prepared to take on jobs and continue their education, and have been given a solid foundation on which to build,” said Andy Hammer, SkillsUSA Council Executive Director.

“Local employers keep telling us what their needs are,” Hammer said. “There’s a huge demand. They require a steady flow of future talent that’s trained and ready to maintain operation with flexibility to change and grow.”

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation was a sponsor for SkillsUSA Council signing day. LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham called the event an inspiring celebration of career and technical education students reaching success.

“We are so fortunate to have three fabulous career and technical schools here in the Lehigh Valley,” Cunningham said. “You can’t have an economy anymore without skilled workers, and whether you are going on to serve our country in the Armed Forces, going on to another level of education, or going right into the workforce, you have chosen a path that is worthy of our recognition.”

Promoting and coordinating a skilled and prepared workforce is one of the priorities of LVEDC, which included “Talent Strategies Development” as a key initiative in the organization’s recently-approved three-year strategic plan.

“There’s nothing more important to employers right now than availability of talent and the alignment of workers with the right skills for the jobs that are being created,” Cunningham said. “The Lehigh Valley has been ahead of the curve on this, and we’re going to continue to invest our efforts in this area.”

Schools that participated in District 11 Signing Day included the Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School, Career Institute of Technology, Lehigh Career and Technical Institute, Monroe Career & Technical Institution, and Upper Bucks County Technical School.

“You are about to head out to college, to careers, (or) to the military with a well-defined career path because of the energy, and the enthusiasm, and the commitment you put into your career and technical education,” said Laurie Gostley Hackett, Director of Community Relations & Philanthropy at Air Products, and chair of the Workforce Board Lehigh Valley.

Fifty-seven of the students participating in the Signing Day event are proceeding to post-secondary education, including two-year, four-year, and technical schools. Seven students are entering the U.S. military, while another 36 students are going straight into the workforce.

“Jobs are waiting for you,” Hackett said. “According to the latest report, there are 11.5 million jobs available right now in the United States. That’s the highest number on record, so the future is yours.”

Students joining the workforce are entering such industries as construction trades, biomedical, technical engineering, business management, nursing, automotive, and culinary arts, among others, Hammer said.

“You all have already proven you are adaptable,” Hammer said. “You have persevered over the last two years of COVID, maintained strong grades, stayed focused, and are ready to graduate and move on to the next stage of your careers.”

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. A nonprofit national education association, SkillsUSA serves middle-school, high-school and college/postsecondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical, and skilled service occupations.

Nationally, SkillsUSA serves more than 333,527 students and instructors annually. This includes 19,019 instructors who join as professional members. SkillsUSA membership totals over 394,000 including alumni, and the organization has served nearly 14 million annual members cumulatively since 1965.

Soltech Solutions, Lehigh University SBDC Win SBA Awards

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Eastern Pennsylvania District Office has announced its 2022 Small Business Week Award Winners, and two of the winners are based ri[...]

Continue to Next Page

Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

By the Numbers
$43.3 Billion

2020 Gross Domestic Product

Investor Spotlight
City Center Lehigh Valley
Industry Spotlight

10.6% of Labor Force
Employed in Manufacturing

Investor Spotlight
Lehigh Valley Health Network
By the Numbers
$3.8 Billion

Exports in 2019

Investor Spotlight
Air Products
Investor Spotlight
Lehigh Valley Electricians
By the Numbers
$66,865

Median Household Income

Investor Spotlight
PPL Electric Utilities
By the Numbers
676,700

Population

Investor Spotlight
Olympus
By the Numbers
347,612

Labor Force

Industry Spotlight

26.6% of Labor Force
Employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

By the Numbers
5,073

Technology Patents

Investor Spotlight
Mack Trucks
Investor Spotlight
UGI
Investor Spotlight
Magestic Realty Co
Investor Spotlight
NFI
Industry Spotlight

14% of the total community college degrees awarded in PA

Investor Spotlight
Wells Fargo
By the Numbers
$7.1 Billion

Manufacturing Contribution to GDP

Investor Spotlight
Truist
Industry Spotlight

69th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. by population

Investor Spotlight
Key Bank
Industry Spotlight

10,754 degrees awarded by Lehigh Valley colleges (2017-18 academic year)

Investor Spotlight
St. Lukes University Health Network
Industry Spotlight

82,270 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

Investor Spotlight
Workforce Board
By the Numbers
149,000

Population between ages 18 and 34

Investor Spotlight
FirstEnergy