LVEDC Partners with Lehigh Valley Colleges, Universities on Alumni Survey

By Colin McEvoy on October 20, 2020

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation is partnering with the region’s colleges and universities on an alumni survey that will gauge perceptions of the Lehigh Valley, explore alumni’s priorities related to careers and location preference, and help direct LVEDC’s marketing efforts to attract a strong workforce to the region.

LVEDC is working with nine colleges and universities to distribute a survey to develop a greater understanding of the priorities and opinions of alumni who attended institutions in the region, including whether they have a favorable view of the Lehigh Valley and how they evaluate the region’s career opportunities and quality-of-life offerings.

Karianne Gelinas

LVEDC Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Research Karianne Gelinas

The written survey, first issued this month, is an initiative of the LVEDC Education and Talent Supply Council, and is another sign of the growing partnerships between LVEDC and the region’s many high-quality colleges and universities.

“Alumni perceptions of Lehigh Valley as a place to live and work are important to LVEDC’s efforts to attract and retain a talented workforce for employers,” said Karianne Gelinas, LVEDC Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Research.

“We chose to focus on alumni and understand alumni perceptions and priorities because we know from previous studies that people with the most familiarity with the region are most likely to stay, live, or work here,” Gelinas said. “The perceptions of an audience that has a connection to the region about its quality of life and career priorities are critical to LVEDC in understanding talent attraction trends, strengths, and challenges.”

The survey includes broad questions that will be asked of all alumni, but was also designed so that individual schools can add their own institutionally-specific questions targeted exclusively to their alumni, Gelinas said.

In addition to gauging perceptions of the Lehigh Valley among alumni, the survey will evaluate whether there are any specific groups or cohorts of individuals, whether by occupation or current residence, who view the Lehigh Valley in a particularly favorable light, Gelinas said.

The survey has been provided to participating colleges and universities, with distribution starting as early as this month, although it will be up to each individual school when it is sent. Surveys can be distributed as late as through February 2021.

Among the participating educational institutions are DeSales University, East Stroudsburg University, Lafayette College, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Lehigh University, Moravian College, Muhlenberg College, Northampton Community College, and Penn State Lehigh Valley.

To encourage participation in the survey, LVEDC will award a limited number of $25 Amazon gift codes to alumni who submit a completed survey. Click here for official rules of the incentive drawing.

LVEDC began meeting with educational institutions and stakeholders last year to gauge interest in this survey and begin laying the groundwork. It was nearly ready to launch in March, Gelinas said, but was delayed until October due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The LVEDC Education and Talent Supply Council is a partnership of Lehigh Valley educational institutions, major employers, and economic development and workforce agencies focused on creating and executing regional strategies that help the Lehigh Valley maintain a competitive workforce and talent supply.

The new alumni survey follows a previous study the Council engaged in 2018 to increase the understanding of the perceptions of the Lehigh Valley among people from outside the region.

The results showed that people with no connection to the region had either no perceptions or incorrect perceptions about the Lehigh Valley. It also showed that people who are at least somewhat familiar with the region are also more likely to consider relocating to the Lehigh Valley for a job that met their career and compensation objectives.

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