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New LVEDC Strategic Plan Outlines Organization’s Mission, Initiatives

By Colin McEvoy on January 11, 2022

This is the first 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 stories about the initiatives “Telling Our Story,” “Targeted Recruitment,” “Talent Strategies Development,” and “Knowing Thyself and Seeing the Horizon.”

The new three-year strategic plan of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) outlines the mission, vision, values, principles, and initiatives that will guide the organization as the region navigates through the end of the COVID-19 crisis.

The plan’s creation was a year-long process based upon a detailed analysis provided by national consultant Garner Economics, which was hired to assess the Lehigh Valley’s competitive strengths and weaknesses, as well as based upon input from the LVEDC Board of Directors and other regional partners and coalition members.

Don Cunningham

Don Cunningham

“Our board includes representatives from the large governments of the Lehigh Valley and a high-level cross-section of private sector employers in the market,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham. “In the end, because LVEDC is a coalition, this strategic plan has really been shepherded by the Board and developed through input from the coalition.”

The mission of LVEDC, as specified in the strategic plan, is “to market the economic assets of the Lehigh Valley and to create partnerships to support the recruitment, growth and retention of employers and the creation of jobs for people of all skills and educations.”

“Our vision is of a diverse Lehigh Valley economy that provides economic growth and opportunity for people of all skills and education and strengthens all our cities, boroughs, and townships,” the plan states.

LVEDC’s values are to find a way, build the team, collaborate, inspire trust, and focus on results first. Its principles are to create value and use what we’re given, to know thyself, to tell our story, to always get better, and to advocate and coordinate.

The strategic plan also highlights the priorities of LVEDC for the next three years. They include:

  • Market the economic assets of the Lehigh Valley
  • Recruit companies in targeted economic sectors
  • Support the growth and retention of new and existing employers
  • Promote and help to coordinate a skilled and prepared workforce
  • Provide intelligence and data on the Lehigh Valley economy
  • Expand public and private LVEDC investment and build partnerships for economic growth

The economic initiatives of LVEDC are broken into five distinct categories within the strategic plan. LVEDC will be publishing a new story about each individual category each week over the next five weeks, providing more details and insight about how these initiatives will be accomplished.

“Some of the work outlined in this plan will remain unchanged in a broad sense, like marketing the region, working to recruit companies, and working with employers on talent supply issues,” Cunningham said. “But our efforts and areas of concentration also must evolve as the landscape of the Lehigh Valley economy changes, particularly following two years of global economic transformations due to the pandemic.”

The five initiatives are:

  1. Telling Our Story: Tell the story of the Lehigh Valley’s quality of place and assets to improve understanding of the region to support recruitment of talent, visitation, and new employers
  2. Targeted Recruitment: Market the high-quality assets of the Lehigh Valley to attract and retain employers in four high-value target sectors: Life Sciences and Pharmaceutical, Professional and Creative Services, Advanced Manufacturing and High-Value Production, and Food and Beverage Products.
  3. Talent Strategies Development: Continue the partnership between the education, training, and workforce community with employers of all sectors and sizes to understand the region’s skills gaps and workforce needs and to help match supply and demand.
  4. Knowing Thyself and Seeing the Horizon: Provide research and data to increase understanding of the Lehigh Valley economy and its competitive position while staying ahead of new developments and economic and social change driving economic opportunities and challenges.
  5. Focusing on the Hard-to-Do: Advocate for and support more challenging economic development work in the areas of entrepreneurship and startups, urban asset growth and brownfield reuse, and planning and zoning tools to balance e-commerce and distribution with much-needed facilities for production, manufacturing, or life sciences through zoning, tax abatements, or set-aside requirements.
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