LVEDC Hosts Virtual Meeting with Lehigh Valley Legislative Delegations
By Colin McEvoy on April 27, 2021
Though still unable to meet in person due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) hosted a virtual gathering of the region’s legislative delegations to discuss pertinent issues and strategies related to economic development in the region.
Nearly two dozen local legislators and staff members attended the April 22 meeting via Zoom, during which LVEDC officials discussed economic and workforce data, major development projects, ongoing development initiatives, projects currently in the pipeline, and other topics.
LVEDC hosts these meetings annually to maintain its strong working relationships with regional legislators, inform them of key initiatives the organization is working on, and to continue to be a resource for them if any constituents have economic development issues.
“LVEDC has always had excellent communication and cooperation with the Lehigh Valley’s legislative delegations,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham.
“Even if we can’t meet in person now as we’d like to, we remain committed to continuing those strong relationships and keeping our elected representatives informed about the economic development in the region and the key initiatives of our organization,” Cunningham said.
Among those in attendance were state Sen. Mario Scavello and state Reps. Bob Freeman, Milou Mackenzie, Ryan Mackenzie, Michael Schlossberg.
Other attendees included representatives of state Reps. Joe Emrick, Ann Flood, Zachary Mako, and Jeanne McNeill; state Sen. Lisa Boscola and Pat Browne; U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey & Bob Casey; and U.S. Rep. Susan Wild.
“I am always grateful to the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation for its meaningful updates and guidance as we work to increase regional economic development,” Wild said. “Their staff are great partners to me and my team, and I look forward to further conversations about how we can continue to support small businesses, promote investment, and create good-paying jobs for families across the Lehigh Valley.”
Cunningham and other LVEDC officials highlighted how the pandemic has impacted the region’s top economic sectors, and discussed recent major projects like A.P. Deauville, Follett, OraSure Technologies, Sharp, U.S. Specialty Formulations, and more.
Karianne Gelinas, LVEDC Vice President of Business Development and Talent Supply, provided an overview of the organization’s ongoing talent supply initiative, and the recent hiring of the firm Camoin 310 to provide research for a talent supply study and strategic plan.
That new effort will provide an in-depth analysis of the Lehigh Valley’s talent supply and demand, how regional workforce needs have been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, what top skills employees need now and will need in the future, and other insights, Gelinas said.
“As companies reposition themselves for the post-pandemic market, continued economic success will depend on a workforce with the credentials and skills that employers value,” Gelinas said. “This talent supply study will help us by providing the foundation for data-driven collaboration to ensure that Lehigh Valley’s workforce is equipped with those skills.”
Joseph Uliana of J.M. Uliana and Associates also spoke during the meeting, providing an overview of legislative priorities and state support for economic development. He noted that it is becoming increasingly challenging for Pennsylvania to compete with states like Michigan and Ohio that have allocated significant funding for economic development.
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