Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What Congress and the President did this month.....

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

Congress and President Obama supported legislation to boost funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). This funding will allow the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc., to expand on our already extensive and advanced programming for youth, adults and dislocated workers. 
The article below from the National Skills Coalition expands on details of the spending bill.
The Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board Inc., is committed to offering progressive
workforce opportunities and solutions for our 21st century businesses. 
Please visit our website for services offered for employees and employers www.lvwib.org

On Friday, December 18th, the President signed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 “omnibus” spending bill that will fund government operations through September 30, 2016.
The legislation includes critical funding increases across a range of key workforce and education programs, as well as new funding to support apprenticeship.

The omnibus provides a boost in funding for WIOA formula state grants, including nearly $39 million in funding above current funding levels for WIOA Adult, roughly $42 million above current funding for WIOA Youth and a modest increase for formula funding for Dislocated Worker grants. The funding levels are consistent with the levels included in President Obama’s FY 2016 budget request, although below the statutorily authorized levels under WIOA. The spending package also restores the Governor’s reserve under WIOA to the statutory level of 15 percent, which will allow states to carry out an expanded range of statewide activities, including implementing WIOA requirements relating to the support of sector partnerships and career pathways strategies.

The bill includes $90 million in new funding for apprenticeship programs. These funds are intended to expand activities under the National Apprenticeship Act and will be used for competitive grant programs and other arrangements with States. The President has included a request for $100 million for apprenticeship expansion in his budget request.

Funding for the Workforce Data Quality Initiative is increased to $6 million, $2 million higher than 2015 levels but well below the President’s requested $37 million.

For more information please visit http://ow.ly/Wc5DA


Monday, December 21, 2015

The Scoop on Pets - Valley Central Animal Blood Bank

The Scoop on Pets
Animal Blood Bank
Has your pet ever had an accident or illness, which caused him to require blood?  Did you wonder where the blood came from?  Just like human blood banks, there are many animal blood banks across the country.  Veterinarians and Pet Emergency centers can acquire blood from these centers, just as hospitals get their blood products from human blood banks.  We are very lucky, living in the Lehigh Valley, to have the Valley Central Animal Blood Bank as a resource.  My Maggie was a donor for several years, and was recently retired, due to a need for daily medication.  Sherman now donates.
Pet blood donation is key to keeping the blood banks stocked with blood.  Once the whole blood is collected, it can be separated into packed red blood cells and fresh frozen plasma, depending on the particular need.   The blood and its parts are used for snake bites, pancreatitis, surgeries, accidents, clotting disorders, anemia, and much more.
The actual donation process is quite painless for the pet.  Maggie enjoyed going to donate.  After the donation is complete, the pet is offered vitamins and a can of wet, tasty food and water, instead of the juice and donuts offered to human donors.  The blood bank does a required yearly blood testing, which checks for Lyme, Heartworm and other blood diseases, at no cost to the donor, saving on vet bills.  Most banks provide a free toy, bag of treats and heartworm meds and Frontline, also at no charge to the donor.  They also provide lots of love to the pet.
If you are considering having your dog donate blood, he must meet the following requirements:
·         1-8 years of age
·         Use flea & tick preventative
·         Use year-round Heartworm preventative
·         Current on all required vaccinations
·         At least 50 pounds
·         Able to be still for 5 minutes without squirming
·         Not on prescription medication
Generally, before your pet’s first donation, he will have an orientation appointment.  During the appointment, the initial blood testing will be done, and he will meet the staff, in order to evaluate his comfort level with being kept still for the 5 minutes.  Any questions that you have will be answered by the staff, and hopefully, you will be able to schedule your pet’s first blood draw. 
If you would like to sign your pet up to donate, contact the Valley Central Emergency Blood Bank at 610-435-5588 ext 110. 
Denise Cassidy-Dietsch

Doodie Calls, LLC

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Elmer Gates is My Hero!!

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

Elmer Gates is my Hero!
I never had a Hero until I met Elmer Gates. Although my definition of Hero is probably different than yours, the word Hero has a connotation that I believe we all innately understand.
It is not that he saves the day for me, or eliminates tall buildings that obstruct my path, or even comes to my defense when craziness forces its way into my life and career.   

My Hero does not fix issues, oh no, as Elmer coaches me, issues are homework that need a lesson plan.   I imagine by now you understand that Elmer has assigned me many lesson plans.  Oh drat, I have enough work without homework Elmer!  Another lesson?  My Hero always helps me complete my lesson plans.

My Hero recently released a book called U-Turn Leadership that “takes the reader through a tour of his leadership experiences.”  Well, actually, Elmer Gates is the ghost writer of life chapters for many people, chapters that end as his book begins with “Results count!”
Elmer wrote in my copy of U-Turn Leadership that “you are never satisfied Nancy.” True.  Elmer taught me that results do count, but yesterday’s results are over, so what are your results for today and for tomorrow?  Oh boy.

I know this man, he is my Hero.  Once I tried to buy him a birthday gift and then realized that… he is a gift.  I love you Elmer Gates.

Biography of Elmer Gates

Mr. Elmer D. Gates served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Fuller Company ("Fuller") since 1982. Mr. Gates served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Fuller. He served as the Chairman of Embassy Bancorp, Inc., until June 2009 and its subsidiary Embassy Bank from 2001 to June 2009. He served as the Chairman of the Board at Paragon Technologies Inc. Mr. Gates served as a Vice Chairman of Fuller until 1999. Prior to Fuller, he has a thirty-one year career at General Electric Corp. Mr. Gates served as the Chairman of the Board of SI Handling Systems, Inc. Until December 1999, he served as Vice Chairman of Fuller Company, Bethlehem, Pa. He has been a Lead Director of Embassy Bancorp, Inc., since June 2009. Mr. Gates has been a Director of Embassy Bancorp, Inc., and of Embassy Bank since 2008 and 2001 respectively. Mr. Gates serves as a Director of PPL Corporation, the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, and President of the Lehigh Valley Partnership. He served as a Director of PPL Electric Utilities Corporation since 1989. He served as a Director of Ambassador Bank. He has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson College.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

3,700 new hires!

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

The Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board is continually sharing labor market data to assist job seekers and employers in the Lehigh Valley and our surrounding communities. 

This month the PA MONTHLY WORKSTATS from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor mentioned our "Driving to Close the CDL Gap" event at the PA CareerLink LV in October. As I blogged before, this round-table discussion brought together industry leaders, employers, education and training agencies to brainstorm solutions for the gap in transportation jobs.

In “Lehigh Valley tries to steer more people into trucking jobs” (Allentown Morning Call, October 27), the reporter discusses an evident labor gap in the trucking industry. As the trucking industry is experiencing a boom, it’s having a difficult time finding drivers to meet this increased demand. However, companies have still been hiring available drivers, which could partially account for the uptick in jobs in October. From the article: “[Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp.] has noted that the trucking sector is one of the Valley’s largest with jobs needing to be filled. Trucking jobs are expected to grow by nearly 20 percent over the next decade, creating 3,700 new hires.”

You can read the entire Morning Call article HERE! in case you missed it.

I will continue to share labor market information and always welcome your feedback and comments.  Please feel free to contact our office at 610-841-1122.

click above to read the entire document

Friday, December 11, 2015

IRS Increases Some Deductible Amounts for Small Business Purchases

IRS Increases Some Deductible Amounts for Small Business Purchases

repair_regs150.jpgSince the inception of the Internal Revenue Code, the IRS and taxpayers have been at odds over whether expenditures on tangible property should be expensed in the year incurred or capitalized and depreciated over time.
Historically, the distinction between deductible repairs and capital improvements has been a tangled mess, and it has mostly been left up to the “facts & circumstances” discretion of each tax auditor. To provide some clarity, the IRS issued “repair regulations,” which became effective January 1, 2014. These new repair regulations provided a “bright line test” for the auditors when making the distinction.
The safe harbor election, which is just one part of the repair regulations, allows taxpayers to write off small dollar (de minimis) expenditures for the acquisition or improvement of property. Originally, this safe harbor threshold was set at $500, but after much discussion and feedback from various groups, the IRS has recently decided to increase it to $2,500.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

How WIOA Performance Data Works??

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

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was created to provide state and local areas the flexibility to collaborate across systems in an effort to better address the employment and skills needs of current employees, jobseekers, and employers.

Last week I blogged about how data could change lives, the graph below shows that the data collected along with localized and personalized planning shapes the programs that the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc. offers to job seekers and employers.

Each of WIOA’s four titles authorizes different job training programs intended to upskill the U.S. workforce and align labor market supply and demand. A key feature of WIOA is its emphasis on program accountability.

Employers are encouraged to call my office 610-841-1122 to see how WIOA programs can benefit their company and their workforce.  We provide a WIOA link on our website if you would like to read more WIOA information.  Feel free to visit the Workforce Data Quality Campaign website for more information on this chart.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

What if data could enhance your life??

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

The Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board is continually sharing labor market data to assist job seekers and employers in the Lehigh Valley and our surrounding communities. This month the PA MONTHLY WORKSTATS from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor #PALaborindustry offers interesting statistics regarding the decrease of PA Unemployment Rates and the increase of leisure and hospitality jobs available.... to just name a few.

"The month of September saw all time high jobs numbers for the “Leisure and Hospitality” industry with a total of 552,100 jobs. This sector also had the largest jobs numbers increase of any since August, 2014 with 14,600 new jobs."  (page 7)

Often times, data and statistics could be viewed as tedious but what if valuable current employment statistics could help a family member or friend find their next #dreamjob, or if job growth figures could help an employer determine if they want to expand here in the Lehigh Valley #lvjobs.  These resources along with the free services provided at the the LVWDB and PA CareerLink LV can assist potential employees and employers.

We will continue to share labor market information and always welcome your feedback and comments.  Please feel free to contact our office at 610-841-1122.

(click above to view the full document)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Recruiting is sales and ignoring job applicants is the quickest way to spurn qualified talent

Why "Ghosting" in Recruiting Needs to Stop

by Ira Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions

After clicking submit on a job application, more than half of applicants sit and wait like abandoned lovers waiting for the phone to ring. Many companies seem to have adopted the foolish practice of “ghosting" when it comes to dealing with job applicants.
What's ghosting you ask? Ghosting is a newly popular term for the practice of disappearing from a relationship and ignoring texts, phone calls and other attempts at making contact. The New York Timesrecently highlighted ghosting in personal relationships, but the phenomenon is happening in professional ones, too.
What's unique about ghosting in recruiting is that many employers are vanishing from the process even before they've met a candidate! Ex-lover's might get away with such antics, but employers will live to regret it.
The candidate experience has gotten so frustrating that many potential employees refer to the online job search as a “black hole," where they submit resumes and applications, never to be seen or heard from again.
When skills are in short supply and positions are increasingly difficult to fill, ghosting in recruiting is, simply put, insane.

Knock, Knock. Anyone Home?

How out of touch are employers? Typically companies blitz customers with discounts and incentives to lure them in. But imagine a business that engages customers like they do candidates: When the customers show up, the business goes dark and employees duck behind the counters.
That scenario might sound far-fetched, but it mirrors the job-seeker experience: 82 percent of employers think that a bad candidate experience has little or no effect on the company, according to a recent Careerbuilder survey. Subsequently, a majority of employers respond to less than half of the candidates who apply.
On the other side, 84 percent of candidates expect a personal email response, and more than half anticipate a phone call. Thanking a potential employee for taking the time to apply for job at your company is a small courtesy. But what many get is a brush-off akin to last night's date sitting by the phone, waiting for the call that never comes.
Like the neglected lover, candidates remember when companies don't respond or keep in touch with them: the same articles shows 58 percent are less likely to buy from a company if they don't get a response and 69 percent shun the company after a bad interview experience.
In a world where disappointed candidates can send their plight viral with a few keystrokes and the click of a button, it's time for employers to stop mimicking the three wise monkeys who don't see, don't hear and don't listen. Here, three solutions to the recruiting “ghosting" phenomenon:

First Impressions Count

The first interaction with a candidate must be interesting, inviting and interactive. Yet a recent study by Dr. John Sullivan and Associates revealed that more than 90 percent of candidates who reach a company career site do not apply! That's a staggering statistic, and one that would not be tolerated in any other function of business. Boring and transactional career pages are a recruitment killer.
Solution: Employment branding is more than a buzzword. It begins with HR giving at least as much attention to the design, content and marketing of talent acquisition as it does to its customer acquisition strategy.

Recruiting Is Sales

When it comes to recruiting, top candidates are probably interviewing with, if not already working for, your competitors. It's a recruiter's job to entice them to apply and then quickly engage them in an experience they don't want to relinquish. That places the keys to a positive candidate experience squarely in the hands of communication.
Solution: From first contact to the job offer (or no offer), the candidate should never be asking or thinking, “What's next?" Develop a process for every possible touch point with a candidate and send updates, whether it's an email, phone call or thank you note. To accomplish this, some of the process must be automated—but don't replace the personal call or email with full automation.

Recruiting Doesn't End With the Job Offer

New employees decide to stay or leave within the first three weeks, according to a study by the Wyndhurst Group. In fact, 22 percent of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment. But if employees participate in a structured onboarding process, they're 58 percent more likely to be with the organization after three years, according to the study.
Solution: Continual communication means continual—a recruiter's responsibility does not end when an employee signs the job offer and shows up for work on the first day. Onboarding is as much a part of recruitment as prospecting for applicants.
Ghosting is bad for candidates and employers, whereas a positive, responsive candidate experience not only fills open positions, but also benefits the bottom line: 77 percent of employees are willing to accept a salary that is 5 percent lower than their expected offer if the employer created a great impression through the hiring process.
At a time when industry leaders and managers clamor for more qualified skilled workers, it doesn't pay for companies to be invisible and ignore job seekers. Candidates expect more. And they deserve better.
Photo: Shutterstock

Drive to Close the CDL Gap- Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board

Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board

CDL Transportation Roundtable, Driving to Close the CDL Gap

The Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc. recently completed a comprehensive study with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation and Oxford Economics called Bridging the Workforce Gap stating that the Lehigh Valley will add 22,150 new jobs over the next five years.  The Transportation and Warehousing sector will be adding 3,700 or 17% of these new jobs.  Right this minute in the Lehigh Valley, employers report that they need 1,128 heavy and tractor trailer truck drivers!  Nationally the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the number of truck driver occupations at 2.8 million.
Even before the study was complete, PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley, our workforce system, directed resources of $396,380 in one year to train 86 individuals in Commercial Driver’s License training and provide training support for physicals, permits and fees.  The Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board is dancing as fast as they can to bridge the transportation industry gap, but industry needs to step into this growing workforce issue. 

More than 60 commercial truck and transportation employers were invited to a CDL Transportation Roundtable sponsored by Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board and the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce on October 27th at PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley.  The Roundtable brought together employers, representatives of workforce and economic development, and education and training providers to discuss marketing job opportunities in the transportation sector and what we need to do to attract, recruit and retain workers.  Legislative staff led a discussion with employers on regulations and legislation that impact the industry. The outcome of the Roundtable provided clear expectations of transportation jobs, the need for increased hands-on work experience, development of a pipeline that increases career pathways in this sector, continued alignment of training curricula based on industry standards, and the agreement of employers to participate in strategies to close the gap.

Several employers offered solutions to bridge the CDL gap like Bob Dolan, representing Con-way Freight and the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, who offered to work on a day-in-the-life video for job seekers.  Many of the 60 transportation industry leaders agreed to work with community colleges, career and technical schools and private training providers like McCann School to provide career awareness opportunities for students and to promote the industry as a sector strategy. 

This Roundtable was first in a series and is a culmination of phase one of bridging the CDL transportation gap.  If you want to be part of the solution to close the gap, please contact me at ndischinat@lvwib.org.  

John Lamirad, LVEDC
Commercial truck & transportation employers attended the CDL Transportation Roundtable 
Nancy Dischinat and LVCTI

Friday, November 13, 2015

Dynamic vs. Static - Keep your Website Active

Dynamic vs. Static Marketing

Online Marketing is Dynamic Marketing!
You are done developing your website. Great, check that off the to do list, enjoy the moment, appreciate the accomplishment.
Does that mean that you don’t have to look at it again for a while, set it and forget it? Absolutely not!
When you finish a printed brochure, you put it on the shelf, and you don’t look at it until you start to run low, or until you have a major change.  Printed materials can be expensive to update…how many times have you seen stickers on old brochures with new addresses, phone numbers or emails?
Unlike Printed Materials, Online Marketing is DYNAMIC!
Your website is a live connection to the public.  When something in your business changes, your website can be updated immediately.  Simple website updates are easy and efficient.
Facebook and Twitter posts can be shared immediately, and reach your target audience in seconds. These posts don’t have to be lengthy, or cover all the details. They are signposts that direct traffic to your website & blog…where you have more specific information.
Blog posts can highlight your new and existing services, focus on your areas of expertise, and feature your staff and their accomplishments.  Your blog is an excellent opportunity to promote your business as a source of reliable information.  Do you have an opinion about a specific topic, guidelines for making choices, or insights into products?  Use your blog post as a means of sharing that message in a thoughtful way.
Take Advantage of the Online Opportunities!
The more active your website is, the higher your site will rank in search engine listings. When you post regularly, the search engines recognize that your business is current and engaged.
An active website presents an opportunity to stay current, and offers you the benefits of a higher ranking…which increases your visibility.
This information is provided by CareLink at info@carelinkcom.com.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Is your company really free from employee fraud?

Don’t Wait Until You Suspect Employee Theft – Take These Steps to Prevent Fraud
You may think your company is free from employee fraud and theft.
Unfortunately, it’s probably not.
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimates that a typical organization loses 5 percent of revenues each year to fraud.
The AFCE Report to the Nations from 2014 put the median loss due to fraud at $145,000. However, more than 22 percent of those cases included losses of at least $1 million.
In the Lehigh Valley alone in the last five years, there has been more than $30 million in fraud losses, according to media reports.
I’ve investigated and even testified in many fraud cases. But I prefer – and I’m sure you would, as well – to help prevent fraud before it starts.
Our firm has helped many companies proactively prevent fraud by completing internal control reviews and making recommendations regarding fraud prevention practices.
Here are some steps companies can take:
·         Create a culture of honesty and high ethics: Provide employee education and training on fraud. Emphasizing high ethics also will benefit your company in many ways beyond just fraud prevention.
·         Segregate duties: Companies should segregate duties, especially for a company’s cash-conversion cycle, including paying vendors, approving vendor invoices and receipt of customer payments.
·         Cross-training: Rotate jobs so employees are cross-trained and share duties. This will prevent one employee from having too much sole oversight over money matters.
·         Ditch the rubber stamp: Using a rubber stamp to sign checks can open companies up to fraud. A rubber stamp does not allow an individual to see a difference in signatures.
·         Duplicate bank statements: Business owners should obtain a duplicate copy of the company’s bank statements sent to his or her house. Business leaders should be skeptical that the statements could be modified if they are only looking at those arriving from employees and not the statements sent directly from the bank.
·         Mandatory vacation: Fraud often can be detected when the employee who is committing the theft is not there for one to two weeks. Mandatory vacation is especially effective for employees that are part of the cash-conversion cycle.

·         Fraud insurance: I strongly recommend purchasing fraud insurance. A company I worked with got wiped out of $300,000 in about 16 months and did not have insurance. Recovering fraud losses without insurance is very challenging because the fraudster probably doesn't have the ability to repay the company. Afterall, why would he or she have committed theft to begin with?
Shared with the Chamber by Concannon Miller,

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board- Data Snapshot

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

Our objective at the LVWDB is to not only build a workforce delivery system for the Lehigh Valley but provide valuable labor market information and data.  This information and ensures an employer demand-driven world class workforce system aligned with economic development, education and the community focusing on targeted industry clusters.

I will be sharing data and statistic that are developed and personalized for the Lehigh Valley periodically through out the year.

Lehigh Valley Snapshot
(please click above)

For more information please contact the PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley Business Engagement Services Team (BEST) at 610-841-1006.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Scoop on Pets - Be Ready- Pet First Aid Kit

The Scoop on Pets
By Denise Cassidy-Dietsch

Be Ready- Pet First Aid Kit
As pet lovers, we like to take our pets with us, whenever we can.  Whether we are on vacation, on a long hike or walk, or out for a simple car ride, accidents and injuries can happen.  You have a first aid kit for your family. Why not for your pets?  Although there are many ready-made pet first aid kits available at your local pet stores, you can also make your own.  I keep one in my vehicle, in the event that we run into an emergency while travelling.  It can be made very light-weight, to pack in your back pack, for hiking with your dog.
Lightweight, foam, zippered containers (shown in the picture) can be purchased at your local pharmacy.  Some even offer the container for free, if you purchase a few of the items on the list below.  The following items should be included in any pet first aid kit:
*     Copies of your pet’s current rabies vaccine certificate.  The tag is not adequate proof, if something were to happen
·         Copies of your dog’s current county license.  Again, the tag is not adequate proof, if something were to happen
·         Instruction card for pet CPR
·         Your veterinarian’s emergency contact info and phone number
·         Latex, or latex free surgical gloves
·         Antiseptic wipes to clean your hands before and after treatment
·         Sterile pads
·         Vet Wrap
·         Compression pads or a maxi pad, to apply pressure when required
·         Stretchy gauze
·         Diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl), for allergic reactions
·         Diphenhydramine spray or cream
·         Adhesive tape
·         Stethoscope, to locate a pulse
·         Styptic stick or powder, to stop the bleeding of cracked toenails
·         First Aid Cream
·         Iodine
·         Hydrocortisone cream
·         Tweezers, to remove ticks or splinters
·         Scissors, preferably with a rounded tip
·         Cotton swabs
·         Eye wash
·         Ace bandage
Most of the items on this list can be purchased in small quantities, to keep your kit light-weight.  The purpose of having a pet first aid kit is to provide minor treatment to your pet, or to stabilize him before transporting him to your veterinarian for professional, medical treatment.  It is not to replace proper, medical treatment.  For major injuries, pick up your cell phone, and call your vet’s emergency number for guidance.

, Doodie Calls www.doodiecalls.us

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board- Do you like stats?

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

Our objective at the LVWDB is to not only build a workforce delivery system for the Lehigh Valley but provide valuable labor market information and data.  This information and ensures an employer demand-driven world class workforce system aligned with economic development, education and the community focusing on targeted industry clusters.

If you like stats... then you will enjoy the PA Department of Labor PA Monthly Workstats report. This document offers labor market highlights for PA and Lehigh Valley specific information.


To view the entire report please visit The Chamber website

For more information please contact the PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley Business Engagement Services Team (BEST) at 610-841-1006.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Bridging the Workforce Gap -Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board

Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board

A comprehensive new study assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the Lehigh Valley’s workforce, provides key strategies for how to improve upon them, and lays the foundation for a new council linking local educational institutions and economic development agencies in a way that has never been done before.

The study, commissioned by LVEDC and the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board (LVWDB), finds the overall forecast for the Lehigh Valley is very good. A total of 22,150 new jobs are expected to be created over the next five years, and the report found the region’s workforce and talent development system is generally well-aligned to meet the needs of employers.

But, like any region, there is always room for improvement, and the study’s skills gap analysis identified several occupation and career areas that were either underserved or overserved by the existing current education and talent system. These findings will inform the creation of the Education and Talent Supply Council, which will take action on some of the study’s recommended strategies.

“Our partnership is serving as a model for workforce and economic development, not just in the state of Pennsylvania, but for the entire nation,” Cunningham said. “The quality of a region’s workforce and talent supply has quickly become the leading factor in attracting and retaining companies and growing jobs. This requires that we understand both supply and demand.”

The study was conducted by Oxford Economics, a New York City-based economic consultant, and is entitled “Bridging the Workforce Gap: Lehigh Valley Workforce & Economic Development Strategy.”

Oxford Economics gathered empirical data on the skills and training gaps and strengths of the current Lehigh Valley workforce. Among the goals of the strategic plan were to examine the pipeline of training providers and workforce supply, catalog the region’s workforce support service providers, assess resource efficiency, and recommend implementation strategies and best practices.

“This is not a once-and-done effort; the workforce strategic plan was just the beginning,” said Nancy Dischinat, LVWDB executive director. “This council will ensure that economic development is working closely together with the region’s producers of talent, and that the pipeline of skilled workers in the Lehigh Valley is strong.”

The study was funded by a Pennsylvania JOBS1st grant that LVEDC and LVWDB jointly applied for and received. While LVEDC and LVWDB have always enjoyed strong collaboration and a common vision for a thriving Lehigh Valley, it is an unusual occurrence for an economic development organization and workforce entity to work together to gather substantial data about a region’s workforce gap.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board- LV Snapshot September

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

Our objective at the LVWDB is to not only build a workforce delivery system for the Lehigh Valley but provide valuable labor market information and data.  This information ensures an employer demand-driven world class workforce system aligned with economic development, education and the community focusing on targeted industry clusters.

Every month I will be sharing data and statistic that are developed and specialized for the Lehigh Valley.

September numbers offer insight to the growing needs and trends in the Lehigh Valley. Driving on a local highway you will see help wanted signs for CDL.  No surprise that we site that there are over 1,000 openings for heavy truck drivers.  Click on the image below.

For more information to assist employers please contact the PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley Business Engagement Services Team (BEST) at 610-841-1006.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Member News: A Different Approach to Weight Loss - The HCG Diet

A Different Approach to Weight Loss - The HCG Diet
by Beth Davis

Losing weight can be difficult—whether it’s 5 pounds or 50 pounds. At MJA Healthcare P.C., in East Stroudsburg, Dr. Mikhail Artamonov and his staff offer medically supervised weightloss programs designed to get results.

The HCG Diet, based on Dr. A.T.W. Simeons’ manuscript “Pounds and Inches,” consists of a very low calorie diet (500) in combination injections of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is the “natural” hormone the body makes during pregnancy. HCG can reset one’s metabolism, allowing individuals to lose as much as a pound a day without feeling hungry or weak.

How? HCG helps to burn the fat that is stored around the hips, thighs, belly and upper arms. During the treatment, individuals take a small amount of the hormone daily. The HCG used in the diet protocols is a variation of the HCG used in infertility treatments, but in much smaller, minute doses. All HCG used for medical purposes is synthetic, created in laboratories from sterile cells. It is not extracted from women or animal urine. Artamonov says HCG itself does not cause weight loss, but rather modifies eating behavior. “We will provide details of a low calorie, low fat and practically starch-free diet to obtain optimum results,” he says.

“It’s crucial for patients to understand that this doesn’t solve the physiology of why they are gaining weight and why they are eating,” notes Artamonov. “That’s much more complicated than HCG. We have a deeper, functional medicine program that can help support people from that standpoint.”

The doctor says one of the things he likes best about the HCG diet is that it is designed with one’s personal goals in mind—whether they want to drop a few pounds or have a significant amount to lose.

The HCG diet begins with something called “loading days.” These generally make up the first two days of the diet. Some people call them “binge” days. During these two days, individuals begin taking daily doses of HCG diet drops while eating fattening foods to capacity.

According to Artamonov, some informal studies have shown that those who follow the HCG loading days correctly lose more weight overall. Dr. Simeons never mentioned this benefit, but there are several reasons why this might be so.

One is that those who follow the HCG loading days correctly have a much easier time during the first week, which establishes the pattern of things to come. The less hunger and irritability one might feel, the easier it will be for them to stick to the diet. Second, the HCG loading days have the added benefit of breaking some of the mental addictions one may have developed over time. Finally, by gorging on one’s favorite foods for several days, cravings are satisfied while simultaneously making the food less desirable.

What can people expect to happen to their weight during the HCG loading phase? The doctor says most people gain weight fairly quickly, sometimes as much as 4 to 6 pounds in the first day. The next day a person will likely gain less. Regardless, the whole amount is usually lost within the first two days of the 500-calorie diet.

Some people are surprised to find that they don’t gain any weight at all during the HCG loading phase, and some even lose weight. Often, this is caused by a loss of water weight, especially for those who haven’t been getting enough protein.

While 500 calories a day may not seem like much, it is common that HCG dieters often find it hard to consume the total 500. It’s common to have mild hunger during the first few days, but over time it will pass and by the second week, patients typically find even tiny servings to be completely satisfying. “This is partly due to your hypothalamus adjusting your metabolic rate, but largely due to the amount of calories circulating in your body from the released fat,” explains Artamonov.

Most dieters report an average loss of 1 to 2 pounds per day. However, everyone is different and results may vary. He says both men and women can use HCG injections for weight loss, and there are rarely side effects reported while using HCG diet shots.

Once the weight is off, a common concern is keeping it off. Artamonov says former HCG dieters often report a change for the better in appetite and a natural course of modified eating behavior. They also report the program as an ideal situation for easily transitioning into a healthy relationship with food.

To maintain, a minimum amount of activity is recommended, including yoga, 20 minutes of cardio or any other activity that gets the heart moving.

“This is one of the most diversified programs on the market,” says Artamonov. “We investigate every individual case and provide a plan that fits their needs for optimal results. Ultimately, our goal is to help people not only look good, but also feel good.”

MJA Healthcare, R.C. has one location in East Stroudsburg and two locations in the Lehigh Valley. For more information, visit MJAhealthcare.com.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What Happened to Lower Gas Prices?

Economic Outlook
by Dr. Kamran Afshar, Chamber Chief Economist
The Chamber’s Finance Committee

What happened to the 25¢ a gallon gasoline?

Oil prices dropped rapidly during the 2nd half of last year through January of this year. Falling from more than $107 a barrel in June 2014 to $46 in January 2015. A whopping drop of 56% in 31 weeks. During that period gasoline prices dropped by 45%, this is an exceptionally large decline generally the drop in gasoline prices is close to half the drop in oil prices. However, gasoline prices have already risen by 34% since their January lows and appear to be continuing to rise.

The reason for the collapse of oil prices last year was the oil glut on the international market. The U.S. is producing more oil at home while the other major producers have not attempted to curb their production; nobody wants to lose any market share.

While it may make us feel good that gasoline prices have dropped, we shouldn’t get too comfortable with it. Many of us remember that this is not the first time we’ve seen a huge drop in oil prices to be followed with prices going back up again.

In 2012, oil prices dropped by 25% inside of 4 months, with a subsequent 15% drop in gasoline prices. A time prior to that was in 2011 when oil prices dropped by more than 27% in a 6 month period. This was accompanied by only a 14% drop in gasoline prices. However, the longest period of decline in oil prices since the 1970s, happened during the 1997-99 period when oil prices dropped by a whopping 57% during a long 100 week period, with an accompanying 27% drop in gasoline prices.

Oil prices have been rising since January, however, and as of this writing, oil prices are still 45% below their June 2014 level. Gasoline prices are now 26% below last June’s level.

An old friend of mine, well, older than me, asked what happened to the 25¢ a gallon gasoline. I checked the numbers and discovered that in the first place my friend is a lot older than I thought; that is because the last time gasoline prices were that low was in 1949. And gasoline prices held below 50¢ a gallon all the way to 1973. From then on prices started to go up rapidly. These numbers however, are grossly misleading, back then the price of everything was lower, so were wages and salaries.  On average, prices have risen 10 fold since 1949. And when adjusted for inflation gasoline prices were $2.66 a gallon in 1949 in today’s dollars.

A more interesting find in the review of gasoline prices over the last 65 years was that gasoline prices, in today’s dollars, have oscillated between 2 to 3 dollars a gallon for most of this period. The average inflation adjusted price of gasoline for the last 65 years was $2.47 a gallon. Contrary to appearances, gasoline prices, after adjustment for inflation have been very stable over the last 65 years. And when adjusting gasoline prices for inflation, the average per gallon price of gasoline for the first 5 months of 2015 drops to 23¢ in 1949!