Thursday, January 19, 2017

Manufacturing Industry Partnerships taking the lead....

Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board

Yesterday the Lehigh Valley Diversified Manufacturing Industry Partnership (LVDMIP) meet at B.Braun Medical Inc, in Allentown.

Over 40 manufacturers meet to discuss and learn about resources available for employee training dollars, future talent pipeline education programs and consortium employer training.

LVDMIP is taking the lead to offer employers training dollars for incumbent workers. $$$$ Money for employees already in your facility $$$$ Of course there are requirements but a quick call to Gina Kormanik will explain if your company is eligible.

I would like to personally thank Mary Frances Mika, Trainer, B.Braun Medical Inc for hosting the partnership.  B.Braun is a pillar in the Lehigh Valley region and always such a supportive partner.  So supportive that they offer consortium training for other manufacturers at their facility. In the coming months, they will host The People Code and 5 Levels of Leadership for employers. Information on these sessions are below.
If you would like to register please contact Gina Kormanik, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board at 610-841-1006.

The Manufacturing Industry Partnership is evolving and achieving more and more each year.  Next week I will share another evolving program that will offer assistance to the workforce and employers.....Micro-credentials!!We are the one stop shop for employers and employee contact us today!

Friday, January 6, 2017

We are your ONE stop shop!

Yesterday Channel 69 News interviewed me regarding the issues surrounding PA Unemployment Offices closures.  Our facility has always been a resource for individuals who are needing assistance for unemployment compensation and job seekers.  We are happy to continue to serve the community.

Contact our offices if you are in need of assistance.
Allentown Full Service Office Location:
PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley
555 Union Boulevard
Allentown, PA 18109
610-821-6760 (TTY)
610-434-4122 (Fax)

Satellite Office:
Allentown Employment and Training CenterDonley Center
718 West Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA 18101


Here is a copy of the article

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - At CareerLink in Allentown, people seeking unemployment benefits are playing the waiting game. Some are looking for employment, while others are trying to get the unemployment office on the line.
Ronald Hermann waited nearly five hours, along with 150 other people, to use one of two phones linked directly to the state office.
CareerLink centers in Allentown, Reading and Lancaster say they have seen a dramatic increase in people using these phones.
"I am happy for the resource of the UC phone line because you can't get through to them at all," said union worker Jeff Hale.
Hale, like others waiting in line, say they tried to reach the UC office on their home phones to no avail.
"You could get through on the lines here quicker than you can on your home phone so we came down here to call and we are still waiting," said a woman named Linda who was waiting in line with her husband Paul, a construction worker.
Officials say the phone line spike came after the unemployment compensation offices in Allentown, Altoona and Lancaster were closed last month and their workers laid off.
The closures are casualty of what Representative Peter Schweyer says is a funding battle between Governor Tom Wolf and Senate Republicans leaders.
He says the bill to fund the offices was passed by the house, but stalled in the Senate.
Schweyer says he will submit a bill to fund the shuttered offices when the legislature resumes January 23rd.
He says the problem is because the funding was allowed to lapse, building lease expirations, the rehiring process and training could slow momentum.
69 News contacted Senator Pat Browne's office seeking his take on funding the unemployment offices. Our calls were not returned before this article was posted.
Until the funding issue is resolved, Careerlink officials say they anticipate the phone lines will remain long and has this advice for anyone wanting to use them.
"The earlier, the best time to come is certainly early. The earlier you come the lower number you get," said Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Nancy Dischinat.
Dischinat says the Allentown office has been doing its best to make sure those waiting in line are able to make good use of their time.

"We just tried to put out some refreshments and talk to them and tell them what are the services we have going on and make sure they understand we are trying to help in any way possible," said Dischinat.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Employers: Get Involved in Lehigh Valley’s Industry Partnerships!

Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc.

We are pleased to announce that the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board recently received $400,000 of Industry Partnership funds from the PA Department of Labor and Industry to upskill workers in two crucial Lehigh Valley industry sectors: $200,000 for Diversified Manufacturing and $200,000 for Transportation, Warehousing and Logistics.

These high-demand, high-growth industries are critical drivers of Lehigh Valley’s economy, making up 17 percent of jobs in our region.  Industry Partnership resources give businesses in targeted sectors the opportunity to train their current workforce, increase skills, improve productivity, and allow employers to remain profitable in a highly competitive marketplace.

To understand local workforce needs and how these valuable resources can be directed based on business demands, the LVWDB in partnership with the Chamber hosted an Employer Roundtable in November to identify common training and workforce needs.  The discussion uncovered training needs such as leadership, supervisory, team building, continuous improvement, Lean principles, problem solving, communications skills and more, as well as occupational training such as machining, Commercial Driver’s
License (CDL), forklift, quality, safety, electrical, and industrial maintenance, to name just a few.  Employers expressed the importance of increasing career awareness of their industry, ensuring the transfer of knowledge, upskilling their current workforce, and building a future workforce pipeline. 

If you are a Diversified Manufacturing, Transportation, Warehousing or Logistics company, we invite you to get involved, share your workforce needs, and join our Industry Partnerships.  Please contact me at 610-841-1122 or email and help build Lehigh Valley’s world-class competitive workforce.  

The Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board recently invited over 35 manufacturing, transportation, warehousing and logistics companies to a roundtable discussion.  Industry leaders identified over 50 training needs and discussed programs that provide resources for Lehigh Valley Industry Partnerships.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Why should your business make the LEAP?

Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc.

Why your business should make the LEAP!
Linking to Employment Activities Pre-release (LEAP) Project

It costs taxpayers an average of $42,339 a year to house a prisoner in Pennsylvania. What can employers and businesses do to lessen this burden on taxpayers?  HIRE Ex-Offenders! Some employers may be apprehensive about hiring people with criminal backgrounds but there is a program that is inspiring and equipping offenders with job readiness and employability skills which make them better prepared to enter or rejoin the workforce.

The Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board and Northampton County Executive John Brown applied for and received a $500,000 U.S. Department of Labor grant to partner with Northampton County Department of Corrections to provide transitioning offenders from the County Jail with the critical job readiness and employability skills needed to get and keep a job and to lower recidivism rates, resulting in safer communities, reduced costs to taxpayers, and better prepared employees.
There are two components to the LEAP Project – a pre-release program and a post-release program.  The pre-release program is built around the creation of a mini-CareerLink Center right inside the jail called the LEAP Center.  The Northampton County Jail provided three rooms in the facility for the LEAP Center – a classroom that can accommodate 12 students, a computer lab, and an office area.  The post-release program helps returning citizens seamlessly transition to PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley where they can connect to all the programs, training and supports offered. 

The Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board has four people at the Northampton County Jail to staff the LEAP Project – a project manager, two instructors and a re-entry navigator who splits her time between the Jail and CareerLink.  LEAP staff actively screen and recruit potential LEAP participants as soon as they enter the Jail.  Participation in the LEAP Project is strictly voluntary and no one is sentenced to attend the program.  In addition, to participate in LEAP offenders must meet the eligibility requirements of the program.  Basic eligibility requirements include:   offenders must be sentenced, have a minimum of 10 weeks until release and a maximum of 25 weeks, must have a high school diploma or GED, and must be misconduct-free for at least 30 days. 

Once an offender is accepted into the program, he or she is assessed to determine baseline measures of his or her job readiness and risk of re-offending.  Participants then receive individualized case management and an Individualized Development Plan is developed to map out a career pathway and action plan to help ensure job placement and successful re-entry into the workforce and community.
A keystone of the LEAP pre-release program is the core curriculum used with participants in 28 two-hour classes where they learn practical job-finding skills, practice positive and professional behaviors, and explore their own strengths and values.  In addition to the classes, LEAP participants go to the computer lab to learn keyboarding and basic computer skills, register on JobGateway® (the state’s on-line job matching system), and research and apply for jobs.  A critically important component of LEAP participants’ time in the computer lab is the one-on-one mentoring they receive from Society of Human Resource Management/Lehigh Valley Chapter (SHRM), an important partner in the LEAP Project.  SHRM professionals provide LEAP participants with assistance exploring careers, preparing their resume and cover letters, and conducting mock job interviews.
Once a LEAP participant completes the pre-release component of the program and is released from jail, the LEAP re-entry navigator sets-up an initial appointment and meets the participant at CareerLink.  These participants will have access to all the services offered including case management, job coaching, workshops, career services, job fairs, occupational training opportunities and support services.            

Since the first LEAP participants began classes in January 2016, 121 offenders were enrolled in the LEAP program and to date, 63 have been released from jail.  Of these 63, 43 are already working and two have enrolled in vocational training. 

What the LEAP participants did not expect when enrolling in the LEAP program was the emotional and physical benefits.  They are breaking down barriers not only for workforce issues but emotional barriers that have caused them to be incarcerated in the first place.

One LEAP participant stated, “This is much more than job readiness, this has taught me about who I am and what I have been doing wrong.”  He went on to say with much emotion and pride “I have nothing but positive things to say about this program, it helped me get support and resources I never had before.” This particular LEAP participant has two young children and a wife living with family since his most recent incarceration left his family homeless.  Now he hopes to get a job as a forklift operator when he gets released from jail and then work towards becoming a welder. He knows now that he needs a job right away to start paying fines and take care of his family.  These are all realizations that he discovered while in the LEAP program. He now has a plan he will aspire to meet, plans he would not have without this program.

What do LEAP participants want employers like you to know next time they apply for a job at your company? “We are not bad people and we need a chance.” Hiring a LEAP participant may make your business eligible for a Work Opportunity Tax Credit.  And for those businesses that are afraid of liability issues from hiring a job applicant with a “risk” factor, the PA Department of Labor and Industry has a no-cost federal bonding program that protects employers from any loss of money or property due to employee dishonesty. 

For more information about the LEAP Project, contact Bill Bartle at the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board at 610-841-8323.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

3 Resources for Job Seekers

I know my message is always geared to the employers but I am betting that many people know someone who is either looking for a job or thinking about a career change.

Please watch our episode with The Peak TV regarding resources available to all Lehigh County and Northampton County residents who are looking for a job or need training.

The PA CareerLink® LVhas just about all the resources you need!

Plus you can follow the available jobs and events on our social media sites....Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

My testimony.....

Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc.

A few months back I testified before the House Select Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness.  It was a pleasure to represent the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc. (LVWDB) to Chairman Grove, Chairman Harkins, and members of the committee. 

I am providing the testimony in order to stress that no matter the political climate or arguments surrounding jobs we at the LVWDB are your workforce partner that is working hard to provide programing and training for our residents in order to determine:

  1. Where are the jobs ?
  2. What are the skills necessary?
  3. What are the education requirements?

This particular testimony focused on the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) laws. The Goal of WIOA is to improve the quality of the workforce, reduce dependency on welfare, increase self-sufficiency, meet the skills requirement of employers and enhance productivity and competitiveness.

For more information on the House Select Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness please visit:

Do you see something missing?  Contact me at NANCY DISCHINAT, Phone 610-841-1122 or drop me a line at 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Education and Talent Supply Council

Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board Inc.,

Just a few months ago, representatives from the Lehigh Valley’s educational institutions, major employers, and economic development and workforce agencies gathered in the meeting room of the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board (LVWDB), rolled up their sleeves, and got to work.
This unprecedented partnership marked the inaugural meeting of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) Education and Talent Supply Council, a group of stakeholders from various entities all sharing the same goal: developing current workforce supply and demand data, and creating and executing regional strategies that help maintain a workforce and talent supply.
“The availability of trained workers is now the number one factor driving company locations, even more so than the total operating costs,” said Don Cunningham, President and CEO of LVEDC. “The regions that best solve the talent supply equations are the ones that will score the big wins in economic development competition.”
In addition to LVEDC and the LVWDB, this council includes representatives from the Lehigh Valley’s wide array of educational institutions including research universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, school districts and career and technological schools, as well as major regional employers like Ocean Spray, Mack Trucks, and Olympus Corp.
Bringing these entities together to better connect the Lehigh Valley’s labor supply and demand is such an innovative concept, it’s beginning to develop interest statewide as a potential model to be emulated.  Cunningham and Northampton Community College President Mark Erickson, who chairs the council, were invited to Harrisburg in September to testify about the effort before the Pennsylvania House Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness.
“The first step in understanding the gap between the education talent supply and workforce needs of employers is to gather accurate and timely data, and to code that data in a way that is consistent across institutions,” Erickson said during his testimony. “The second, and most critical step, is to assess potential gaps, and ultimately assure alignment with the workforce needs of the region we serve.”
The council has begun to identify areas of focus to prioritize, discussing such topics as establishing internships, standardizing terminology in job descriptions to ensure more candidates are found, testing and verifying workforce data, and creating more intensive employer engagement.  The objective is to have each Lehigh Valley college and school provide information on the pipeline of talent preparing to enter the local labor market.
Developing data-driven, innovative and cost-effective workforce strategies has always been a priority for both LVWDB and LVEDC. That why we’ve partnered on the formation of the Education and Talent Supply Council, which itself stems from a Workforce and Economic Development Strategic Plan both organizations commissioned last year from Oxford Economics.
Understanding labor supply is only half of the battle.  The other half is understanding the specific labor needs of Lehigh Valley businesses.  The goal is to make sure the region is supplying the right number of workers, with the proper skills demanded by present and future companies.  This is no easy task, but we have now begun to put into place a process that we believe can be successful.