LVEDC Strategic Plan: “Targeted Recruitment” Initiative
By Colin McEvoy on January 24, 2022
This is the third of a series of six stories highlighting the 2021-2024 LVEDC Strategic Plan. Each article will highlight a different aspect of the report in detail. This story will be updated with links to the other articles as they are released. See also our overview story and story about the initiatives “Telling Our Story,” “Talent Strategies Development,” and “Knowing Thyself and Seeing the Horizon.”
The new strategic plan of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) reaffirms the organization’s commitment to continuing its efforts to market the high-quality assets of the Lehigh Valley and to attract and retain employers in the region.
This commitment is highlighted by the “Targeted Recruitment” initiative, one of the five major initiatives in the new three-year plan. It specifies four high-value target sectors for which LVEDC will continue to concentrate its marketing and recruitment efforts.
“This is the core work of LVEDC, as we were created to serve as the regional organization in the Lehigh Valley that works to attract new employers into the market,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham. “We go through a very thorough process to decide where to focus our resources. We put our stakeholders’ money and our effort into finding and recruiting companies and jobs that people want to see in the region and that can be successful here.”
Those sectors include life sciences and pharmaceutical, professional and creative services, advanced manufacturing and high-value production, and food and beverage products.
Per the strategic plan, LVEDC will pursue this targeted recruitment through a variety of methods, including target marketing campaigns aimed at specific audiences of influencers and asset managers with compelling, relevant asset information on each target sector.
“In addition to these new efforts, LVEDC will continue its relationship building with site selectors, location advisors, and industrial and commercial real estate brokers who are at the forefront of decisions about corporate locations and business expansions,” said Karianne Gelinas, LVEDC Vice President of Business Development and Talent Supply.
The strategic plan also calls for LVEDC to produce video “virtual tour” of the Lehigh Valley for prospects and to use on the website, as well as to re-engage with opportunities for foreign direct investment (FDI) marketing as foreign companies increasingly look to establish operations close to consumers in the United States.
“LVEDC already has a large presence of companies from its four target sectors, an important foundation upon which to attract further growth,” Gelinas said.
Lehigh Valley is home to 170 life sciences businesses, employing more than 6,000 people in the region with an average annual wage of $94,100. Manufacturing is the region’s second-largest sector by economic output and a Top 50 manufacturing market in the U.S., with nearly 670 firms employing 35,000 people in the Lehigh Valley.
Lehigh Valley’s employment among food and beverage manufacturers is 1.5 times larger than the typical U.S. region, and the Lehigh Valley is the corporate home of two Fortune 500 companies – Air Products and PPL – and many more high value business services.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has created many questions about the future, LVEDC is still committed to the professional and creative services sector and to attracting companies that employ office workers, which is particularly important to the downtown neighborhoods in the Lehigh Valley’s cities, Cunningham said.
As per LVEDC’s usual practice, the strategic plan’s “Targeted Recruitment” initiative does not call for specific marketing efforts among transportation & logistics or for large-footprint industrial buildings. Although they have some economic benefits, growth in those areas is market-driven and LVEDC instead focuses its attention on high-value target sectors.
However, Cunningham has noted that the Lehigh Valley has a need for smaller-footprint industrial space in the 20,000 to 80,000 square-foot range. Demand for such space is high, and LVEDC supports efforts by municipal government bodies to support growth in that area.
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