LVEDC Launches New Study to Analyze Evolving Talent Market Trends
By Colin McEvoy on April 26, 2021
A new effort is underway to conduct 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 that will ultimately lead to a revised strategic action plan guiding regional talent initiatives.
The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) and Workforce Board Lehigh Valley (WBLV), received numerous competitive proposals and, after a rigorous interview process, have hired a firm that will update the research that previously informed a talent supply study and strategic plan conducted more than three years ago.
The firm Camoin 310, in partnership with the labor market analytics group EMSI, will update LVEDC’s & WBLV’s existing research, reassess employers’ talent needs, and validate the strategic approaches the region is using to address the most important talent supply issues.
“Talent has become the primary factor in attracting and retaining business, and the COVID-19 pandemic has done nothing to change that,” said Karianne Gelinas, LVEDC Vice President of Business Development and Talent Supply.
“As demand for talent evolves and 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 updated 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.”
Employers across multiple industries in the Lehigh Valley will be surveyed as part of this effort. This will include a limited number of focus groups with regional companies, the education community, and other talent-impacting organizations to validate data.
Camoin 310 will conduct these surveys, as well as review and analyze current and historical labor and talent supply data from regional economic development, workforce, and educational partners, Gelinas said.
Based upon the data collected, the firm will analyze Lehigh Valley’s current workforce talent pipeline as well as make projections, in addition to the effects of COVID-19 on the regional economy. Once this analysis is complete, it will produce a written report with its findings and recommendations.
“Lehigh Valley is a diverse economic region with excellent access to Philadelphia, New York City, and the East Coast,” said Jim Damicis, Senior Vice President at Camoin 310. “With strong institutions of higher education and supportive economic and workforce development organizations, Lehigh Valley has the resources to succeed.”
LVEDC and WBLV first commissioned a study in 2015 that examined the pipeline of training providers and workforce supply, cataloged the region’s workforce support service providers, assessed resource efficiency, and recommended implementation strategies.
That study led to the creation of the LVEDC Education & Talent Supply Council to strengthen existing collaborations between education and business. The council is focused on maintaining a strong pipeline of skilled workers, using gap analyses to support curriculum and training development, and conducting data-driven research of the Lehigh Valley talent market.
In 2017, LVEDC and WBLV directed a second talent market study by the firm MDB Insights, which defined trends and shortfalls in workforce and talent supply in specific industry clusters within the Lehigh Valley. This enabled the region to develop new and improved economic, workforce development, and education strategies.
“These new strategies complemented existing plans to ensure that people can develop the skills they need to meet regional employer needs and that the region can fill skills gaps by attracting talent from outside the Lehigh Valley,” Gelinas said. “The Lehigh Valley is implementing these strategies.”
Founded in 1999, Camoin 310 has completed over 1,000 projects in over 40 states. Its staff works diligently to analyze and understand data and manage complex situations, and has an expertise in COVID-19 response and resiliency planning, entrepreneurship growth strategies, and workforce development.
Camoin 310 has undertaken similar projects in the past, including a city-wide reindustrialization strategy and master plan in Allentown, regional workforce development strategy in Atlanta, a wind energy sector strategic plan in Rhode Island, and a post-COVID regional reopening plan in the New York State Capitol Region, according to the firm.
This talent study refresh project is partially funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
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