LVEDC Meets with State Coalition About Best Practices for Attracting Workforce

By Colin McEvoy on November 9, 2020

LVEDC spoke to a group of state and regional leaders during a virtual meeting of the Career Ready PA coalition.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) was invited by the commonwealth to speak with a statewide coalition of education and workforce champions this week to discuss the Lehigh Valley’s talent initiatives led by LVEDC as a best practice in advancing career pathways and building a strong regional workforce.

Karianne Gelinas, LVEDC Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Research, spoke to a group of more than 50 state and regional leaders during a virtual meeting on Nov. 5 of Career Ready PA, a coalition formed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

Karianne Gelinas

LVEDC Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Research Karianne Gelinas

The coalition includes regional and statewide stakeholders from education, advocacy and non-profit organizations, business and industry, STEM ecosystems, workforce, military, libraries, and state and local government agencies, among others.

“Career readiness takes all of us working together: schools and academic institutions and libraries working together to prepare the next generation of workers, leaders, and economic developers,” said Glenn Miller, PDE Deputy Secretary & Commissioner for Libraries.

During her presentation, Gelinas discussed the ongoing efforts of the LVEDC Education & Talent Supply Council, a partnership of Lehigh Valley stakeholders focused on creating and executing regional strategies that help the Lehigh Valley maintain a competitive workforce and talent supply.

“We really view our role as helping understand what the talent demand is from our employers and provide that data to the broader community,” Gelinas said. “These partnerships enable us to expand and grow that information sharing, and then result in different actionable items that lead to creating career pathways in our region.”

Gelinas highlighted several initiatives of the Council, including its recent alumni survey, the Made Possible in Lehigh Valley initiative, its internship toolkit and directory, the annual internship summit, and the Lehigh Valley Hot Careers guide.

“These are things that we absolutely needed this partnership for,” Gelinas said. “With all of the moving parts that go into these projects and initiatives, we needed the support and expertise from all parts of our community. It’s been collaborative work.”

The Council includes major employers, economic development and workforce agencies, and educational institutions, including Lehigh Valley’s K-12 school districts, colleges & universities, and career and technical schools.

The Lehigh Valley Hot Careers guide, first released last year, highlights in-demand occupations, wage ranges, education level requirements, and other information about a wide range of careers in the Lehigh Valley.

The Council is currently working on refreshing the data for the release of an updated guide, Gelinas said. The current version is available on the LVEDC website, as are the internship toolkit and directory.

The second annual internship summit was held virtually during two separate sessions on Sept. 10 and Sept. 17. It focused upon how to start remote internships, recruit interns, create a virtual experience, and operate internships during the pandemic and post-pandemic economy.

Gelinas also discussed a new alumni survey, launched last month by LVEDC in partnership with Lehigh Valley’s colleges and universities. It seeks to gauge alumni perceptions of the region, explore their priorities related to careers and location preference, and help direct LVEDC’s marketing efforts to attract a strong workforce.

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