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U.S. Senator Bob Casey Visits LVEDC to Discuss Lehigh Valley Economic Activity

By Colin McEvoy on August 27, 2019

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey speaking during LVEDC’s 2019 Annual Meeting on March 19. (photo by Marco Calderon)

U.S. Senator Bob Casey stopped by the offices of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) on Aug. 21 for a discussion about economic activity in the region.

“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with the region’s economic development leaders to learn about their work and discuss how the Lehigh Valley is strongly positioned for economic growth,” Casey said. “I will continue to fight in the Senate to ensure that LVEDC and communities across our state have the necessary funding to create jobs, spark economic growth, and increase wages for workers.”

“It’s fantastic to have a U.S. Senator take a deep interest in the issues involving economic growth in the Lehigh Valley,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham. “We work hard to coordinate our legislators and officials at all levels of government, but for Sen. Casey to take time out of his busy schedule to stay informed and be involved in regional economic development is a particularly great asset for the Lehigh Valley.”

During Casey’s visit, Cunningham discussed the region’s growing economic sectors, the continued demand for manufacturing space, and LVEDC’s newly-launched Made Possible in Lehigh Valley initiative. Casey watched the organization’s Made Possible launch video, which was recently nominated for an Emmy Award.

Cunningham and Casey also discussed the role the Made Possible campaign plays in talent attraction to the Lehigh Valley, as well as Lehigh Valley’s growth in population and the importance of population growth for the regional economy, particularly in the 18 to 34 age demographic.

Lehigh Valley is one of the few regions in the state to see population growth over the last eight years, with Lehigh County’s population growing by 18,424 and Northampton’s by 7,113 from 2010 to 2018.

Lehigh Valley has also seen a larger portion of growth in the 18 to 34 age demographic than other areas of Pennsylvania, Cunningham said. The state of Pennsylvania’s percentage of population in that age group is 22.4%, compared to 31.1% in Bethlehem, 30.5% in Easton, and 28.2% in Allentown.

“Access to talent is one of the top factors that influence where employers locate new operations or expand existing ones,” Cunningham said. “In the competition for new jobs and economic expansion, the Lehigh Valley’s advantages include its growing workforce and the increasing population in this crucial 18 to 34 age demographic.”

Casey visited several Lehigh Valley companies during his time in the region last week, and help at town hall-style meeting with citizens at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem Township.

Casey also spoke during LVEDC’s 2019 Annual Meeting on March 19, during which he applauded the spirit of regional cooperation between LVEDC and its various regional partners.

“We in Washington could learn from your agenda, based upon the work you have done,” he said at the meeting.

During his Aug. 21 meeting at LVEDC, Casey asked about which regional sectors were creating the most jobs, and what Lehigh Valley’s technical and vocational schools were doing to align training with job needs. Cunningham discussed the LVEDC Education and Talent Supply Council’s ongoing efforts in this area.

He also highlighted recent project announcements in the Lehigh Valley, including Air Products’ newly-announced global headquarters in Upper Macungie Township, Air Liquide’s expansion in Upper Mount Bethel Township facility, ADP occupying ten office floors in downtown Allentown, and Freshpet breaking ground on a new expansion project.

Other projects included B Braun’s expansion in Hanover Township (Lehigh County), Evonik’s expansion in Upper Macungie Township, FedEx Ground’s newly-opened Lehigh Valley megahub, Hearst Publishing occupying a new Easton space, and the Gateway at Green Park project in Southside Bethlehem.

Casey met with Cunningham and Andrew Kleiner, LVEDC Community Outreach and Redevelopment, who is responsible for municipal and government outreach for the organization. Casey was joined by Connor Corpora, Lehigh Valley regional manager for Casey’s office, and a regular attendee of LVEDC events and programs.

LV Spotlight: Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA)

This article originally appeared in the August 22, 2019 issue of “LV Connections,” a quarterly newsletter LVEDC distributes to municipal officials in the Lehigh Valley. [...]

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