LVEDC Education and Talent Supply Initiative Wins Excellence Award

By Colin McEvoy on December 10, 2018

LVEDC Director of Talent Supply Karianne Gelinas (left) accepted an Excellence Award from the Association for Talent Development (ATD) on behalf of LVEDC.

LVEDC Director of Talent Supply Karianne Gelinas (left) accepted an Excellence Award from the Association for Talent Development (ATD) on behalf of LVEDC. (courtesy photo)

The education and talent supply initiative of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) has received an Excellence Award from the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

The award was presented on Dec. 5 by the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of ATD, the world’s largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations.

Wendy Whiteash, Vice President of Finance and Excellence Award Committee for the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of ATD, said LVEDC’s initiative “embodies the true spirit” of the Powerful Partnerships award category.

“The committee felt the initiative demonstrated a robust collaboration between Lehigh Valley employers, educators and other stakeholders in order to address the local talent challenges, both present and future,” Whiteash said. “The award committee was particularly impressed at the level of data collection, analysis and action planning that has transpired.”

LVEDC received the 2018 Excellence Award in the category of Powership Partnerships for the initiative, which seeks to create partnership that involve employers, educators, and stakeholders to address talent market issues in the Lehigh Valley.

“We are deeply appreciative for this recognition,” said Karianne Gelinas, LVEDC Director of Talent Supply. “Our ongoing education and talent supply initiative will help us sustain a world-class talent pipeline and establish the Lehigh Valley as a region that other communities look to as a leader in understanding talent supply.”

Gelinas accepted the award on behalf of LVEDC during the ATD Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter’s Excellence Awards ceremony on Dec. 5 at the Kingfish American Bistro & Wine Bar in Bethlehem.

The initiative seeks to increase the understanding of the talent market, provide information to the community about labor supply and demand on a regular basis, and establishing an ongoing, adjustable strategy for addressing current and emerging talent supply issues.

Two years ago, LVEDC formed the Education and Talent Supply Council, an unprecedented partnership between Lehigh Valley educational institutions, major employers, and economic development and workforce agencies.

The council’s mission is to develop current workforce supply and demand data, and to create and execute regional strategies that help maintain a workforce and talent supply.

That has included the September release of a year-long study to assess the regional talent market and identify wide-ranging strategies to grow, recruit, develop, and retain talent in the Lehigh Valley.

“The robust data set validates the need for this important work in our community and illuminates specific gaps in order to prioritize a plan of action,” Whiteash said. “Such a well planned and executed program is bound to have significant and sustaining impact.”

For that study, LVEDC and the Workforce Board Lehigh Valley (WBLV) commissioned MDB Insight to conduct a regional study involving interviews, focus groups, and surveys with businesses from five targeted industry sectors and other stakeholders across the region.

The study has resulted in the development of a strategic action plan that will guide strategies to improve the Lehigh Valley talent market, create new approaches for developing workplace skills, and prepare students and adults to compete and succeed in high-demand careers.

“The challenge of growing and recruiting talent is not unique to the Lehigh Valley; all regions are dealing with this,” said Don Cunningham, President & CEO of LVEDC. “But bringing all parties to the table and taking a deep dive to look for a solution puts us ahead of a lot other markets who are experiencing the same challenge.”

The origins of the education and talent supply initiative can be traced two studies commissioned by LVEDC: a 2013 study by Garner Economics to conduct a comprehensive economic development analysis of the Lehigh Valley, and a 2015 study by Oxford Economics to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the regional workforce.

ATD members and customers are professionals from more than 120 countries who help others achieve their full potential by improving their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the workplace, according to the association.

Members include talent development managers, trainers, instructional designers, performance consultants, frontline managers, workplace learning professionals, and other professions in organizations of all sizes and in all industry sectors.

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