Virtual Expo Highlights Creative Workers in the Lehigh Valley
By Colin McEvoy on October 20, 2022
Creative workers are not limited to the arts and entertainment sector alone. In fact, creatives are in high demand from employers across a wide range of job sectors, including health care, education, professional services, manufacturing, finance and insurance, and much more.
The first-ever Lehigh Valley Creative Workforce Virtual Expo was held on Oct. 18. It highlighted how to attract and retain a creative workforce, sought to connect viewers with regional employers seeking creative workers, and showcased why the Lehigh Valley is an attractive place to live, work and play, with a vibrant diverse community and a quality of life.
“Fortunately for us, the Lehigh Valley has always been known for its creativity and innovation,” said Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC).
“From our steel-making heritage to our modern economy of tech companies and manufacturers, we’re a region that makes things and thinks outside the box,” Cunningham said. “The workforce here has never failed to show what’s made possible in Lehigh Valley.”
The entire virtual expo can be viewed online. It was organized by the Lehigh Valley Inter-Regional Networking & Connecting Consortium (LINC), Workforce Board Lehigh Valley (WBLV), Discover Lehigh Valley, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, and LVEDC
It featured research and data that LVEDC and WBLV conducted for LINC as part of a grant that organization received from the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts to foster attraction and retention of creative workers in the Lehigh Valley.
The expo featured insights from current creative workers on why the Lehigh Valley is a great place for fellow creatives, and provided networking opportunities before and afterwards that allowed employers to connect directly with workers in the creative fields.
Jobs for creative workers include graphic designers, public relation specialists, audio and video technicians, journalists, writers, software designers, and more, according to data presented during the expo.
Currently about 350 creative jobs are posted in the Lehigh Valley, and the most in-demand jobs are marketing, graphic design, public relations, and the trades. Additionally, occupations like film and video editing are expected to see double-digit growth in the next six years.
“Employees are looking for more than a full time job,” said Orville Trout, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Crayola. “They want an engaging community that offers a variety of entertaining jobs, exceptional educational opportunities, and interesting places to visit and experience with families and friends.”
The Lehigh Valley has more than 11,000 creative workers, earning an average of $70,000 per year, which is greater than the overall average of $54,000 per year, Cunningham said. More than 600 employers have posted job openings for creative workers in the region over the last 12 months.
LVEDC provided labor market analysis and research into occupations and industries that employ creative workers, which aligns with the organization’s overall strategy for attracting and retaining talent. Those efforts were recently discussed at the LVEDC Education and Talent Supply Council meeting last week.
“Time and time again, we’ve heard from employers that the number one factor driving company location decisions is the availability of trained, talented workers,” Cunningham said. “Simply put, companies will go where they can find the workforce, and providing that talent is essential for maintaining the strong economic growth the Lehigh Valley has experienced in recent years.”
The expo also featured a WFMZ’s Business Matters panel discussion hosted by Chamber President Tony Iannelli, with panelists Holly Kosek, Senior Manager at Lutron Electronics; Bret Ludlow, Executive Vice President at Liquid; Monique Moreno, Assistant Director of Community Investments at Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, and Lindsay Watson, co-founder of FIA NYC Employment Services.
“We have great educational systems in the Lehgih Valley, so we find a great pipeline of talent,” Ludlow said. “Internships, new hires from all of our colleges and universities and community colleges, and just the balance of work and life that you can find here.”
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