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Lehigh Valley Talent Partnership Honored Again for Excellence

By George Lewis on June 20, 2022

Lehigh Valley’s Talent Strategies won the 2022 Best Project Supporting Collaborative Community and Regional Initiatives award from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER).

For the third time in the last 12 months, Lehigh Valley’s Talent Strategies have been recognized for excellence by a leading economic development organization.

The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) selected the regional strategic partnership as the winner of its 2022 Best Project Supporting Collaborative Community and Regional Initiatives. The award was presented to Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) at the C2ER Annual Conference and Forum on June 16 in Columbus, Ohio.

LVEDC directs the Talent Strategies initiative, a public-private coalition with around 200 partners representing employers, higher education, career and technical schools, public school districts, community organizations, and local government. The partnership focuses on addressing talent supply challenges and promoting a career-ready workforce that is prepared to serve a diverse range of industry sectors.

The partnership has racked up impressive results through a series of initiatives including:

  • The regional Made Possible in Lehigh Valley branding campaign aimed at attracting talent
  • Internship summits to help Lehigh Valley employers start or expand internship programs with regional colleges and universities
  • Internship resource guides for employers
  • Hot Career Guides to help students, parents, teachers, and guidance counselors understand in-demand occupations, as well as the educational requirements and earnings potential for each occupation, based on actual Lehigh Valley job postings
  • Expansion of employability skills curricula in Lehigh Valley schools

The C2ER award specifically recognizes how research contributes to the success of regional economic development. Lehigh Valley’s Talent Strategy got its start from a recommendation in a 2015 study of talent gaps in the regional workforce. Its actions have been driven by research and data ever since.

The partnership has directed three comprehensive studies of the Lehigh Valley talent market that have been commissioned jointly by LVEDC and Workforce Board Lehigh Valley, the most recent in 2021. That study explored how the Lehigh Valley is responding to changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The results, released in March 2022, were based on interviews, focus groups, and surveys involving more than 400 employers, educational institutions, and other key stakeholders.

“Our Talent Strategies are built on the power of partnerships,” said Karianne Gelinas, LVEDC Vice President of Regional Partnerships and Talent Strategies. “Our work in this area has forged stronger relationships between employers and educators and established programs that have produced measurable progress in addressing talent-market issues.”

The Lehigh Valley Talent Initiative received two prestigious awards in the fall of 2021. It won the top award for Talent Development and Retention in the International Economic Development Council’s Excellence in Economic Development program and was named Economic Development Program of the Year by the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association.

C2ER, based in Arlington, Va., is a national organization, established in 1961, that supports community prosperity by promoting excellence in community, economic, and workforce research. LVEDC is a C2ER member organization.

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