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!    

Friday, September 18, 2015

Welcome Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board Directors!

I am pleased to introduce the directors of the newly-appointed Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board!  Thank you to all the directors for their time and expertise.   
If you are interested in serving as an ad-hoc committee member please call my office at 610-841-1122 or email ndischinat@lwwib.org

Patricia Hartwell, Chair
Director, Corporate Human ResourcesB. Braun Medical Inc

Luke Cunningham, Vice Chair
West Side Hammer Electric

John MacDonald, Secretary/Treasurer
Allied Personnel Services


John Allen
Executive Vice President/Region President
Santander Bank

Paul Anthony
Business Manager/Financial Secretary
IBEW Local 375

Stephen Bailey
Operations Resources, Inc.

Dr. Ann Bieber 
Lehigh Carbon Community College

Anthony Biondi
Merchants Bank of Bangor

Don Cunningham, Jr.
President and CEO
Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation

David Davies
Head of NAFTA/Warehouse Network
OSRAM Sylvania

Phillip Davis
Greater Shiloh Church

Dr. Mark Erickson
Northampton Community College

Daniel Farrell
Executive Director
Allentown Housing Authority

Frank Frey
Greater Valley YMCA

Vito Gallo
Assistant Vice President for State Relations
Lehigh University

Fidel Gonzalez
Project Manager

Kelly Gould
Vice President of Development & Marketing
Fellowship Community

Laurie Hackett
Community Relations and Philanthropy
Air Products 

Laura B. Haffner
Area President
Wells Fargo Bank, Lehigh Valley Division

Sara Hailstone
Director of Community and Economic Development
City of Allentown

Jim Harbaugh
Vice President
City Center Investment Corp.

Constance Hood
Director of Human Resources
Concannon Miller & Co.

Tony Iannelli
Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce

Ellen S. Kingsley, Esq.
Solo Practitioner
Law Office of Ellen S. Kingsley

Janice Komisor
ProJeCt of Easton

James Kostura
Deputy Warden Northampton County
   Department of Corrections
Northampton County Jail

Dr. Alexander J. Lemheney
Administrator, Division of Education
Lehigh Valley Health Network

Kevin Lott 
Business Agent
Lehigh Valley Carpenters, Local 600

Denise Maiatico
Vice President
Meyer Jabara Hotels of the Lehigh Valley

Timothy Mulligan
Communities In Schools

Lisa Nesbitt
Executive Director
Northampton County Department of Human Services

John Nespoli
Sacred Heart Hospital

Jim Nichols
Assistant Regional Director
Bureau of Workforce Partnership and Operations

David Olson 
Walton Consulting

Owen O’Neil
Executive Director

Thea Phalon
Executive Director
SkillsUSA Council

Gregg Potter 
Lehigh Valley Labor Council AFL-CIO

Mary Ann Przekurat
Executive Director
The Literacy Center

James Reilley
President/Business Agent
International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 542

Debora Roberson
Roberson Butz Architects

Dr. Joseph Roy
Bethlehem Area School District

Sharon J. Scheirer
Director of Recruitment
St. Luke’s University Health Network

Melinda Stumpf
Regional Community Relations Director

Richard Thompson

Richard Walters
Regional Manager
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

Larry Wiersch
Cetronia Ambulance Corps.

Carol Young
Vice President, Personnel
Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Chamber's Public Policy is Working for You - What We Do and How You Can Help

by Barry Fisher, 69-WFMZ-TV & wfmz.com
Chair, Chamber Board of Governors, barryf@wfmz.com

The Chamber’s Public Policy Team is fighting for you!

The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber works diligently on many public policy issues. Understanding the needs of our members helps us make policy recommendations and participate in ongoing conversations with elected officials at the local, state and federal level. Chamber policies are developed by the Public Policy Committee, which is made up of over 25 representatives from the Chamber’s various chambers, councils and committees.  Each member brings the viewpoint of those groups to the process to draft well thought out and balanced policies to present to legislators for consideration. 

The Public Policy Committee and its subcommittees have created position statements on a wide variety of issues including Right to Work, Immigration, Minimum Wage, the PennEast Pipeline, Marcellus Shale, Pension Reform, Healthcare Legislative Policy, Tax and Regulatory Policy, and Transportation Policy; Additionally, they are currently preparing comments on the EPA Clean Air Act. 

It may surprise you that at times, the Public Policy committee may choose to pass on developing a Chamber policy.  No policy is adopted when the committee cannot arrive on a super majority consensus.  In those cases, the Chamber may simply provide forums to discuss the issue.

The Chamber excels at providing a wide variety of opportunities to interact with legislators at summits and forums throughout the year.  In fact, in 2014 and 2015 the Public Policy Committee hosted the annual Lehigh Valley Mayors’ Reception, a Lehigh Valley Congressional Forum (4 congressman from our region), live audience tapings of our Business Matters TV show with Governor Corbett, Senators Toomey and Casey, and all 2014 gubernatorial candidates, as well as forums with Wolf administration Cabinet Secretaries Rivera (education), Manderino (labor and industry), Richards (Transportation) and Wetzel (Corrections).

Subcommittees of The Chamber’s Public Policy Committee include The Tax & Regulatory Committee, The Healthcare Committee, The Manufacturing Council, The Energy and Environment Committee, and The Transportation Committee.  We also work with our partners at Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board.

Interested members can follow each committee in the pages of Connections every month and when you’re ready to get involved, contact Michelle Young for board member opportunities.

The Chamber's Tax & Regulatory Committee informs municipal officials, the PA General Assembly, and U.S. Congress of our member’s taxation concerns. We review annual fiscal plans and tax legislation at the local, state, and federal levels to assure that tax burdens are minimized, and we fight for actions such as positive state and municipal pension reform and fairness for Main Street brick and mortar stores in the ever-growing on-line marketplace.

The Healthcare Committee’s focus includes personal accountability, transparency, tort reform, consumerism and free-market policies that encourage competition in health care. The Committee hosts an annual Summit, coming up on October 9th, to help employers understand their choices for high-quality, cost-effective healthcare insurance for their employees.

The Manufacturing Council works to elevate the perception, and promote the importance of manufacturing in the Lehigh Valley. The Council partners with the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board and the Manufacturers Resource Center to host recurrent Summits to share new ideas, legislative updates, money-saving programs and best practices.  The next Manufacturers Summit is on October 29th.

The Energy and Environment Committee works to develop business-friendly policies and strategies that respect the environment.  The Chamber recently signed on to the US Chamber letter opposing the EPA’s Clean Power Plant regulations because of the excessive and unnecessary hardship they create for our member businesses. The Energy 7 environmental innovations Summit is on October 14th.

The Transportation Committee fights to ensure a safe transportation infrastructure that supports growth and serves businesses and residents.  The Committee hosts forums with legislators and other government representatives to hear their views and voice those of our members.

The Chamber is also actively involved in workforce and education issues, partnering with the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board. Together we help identify skill gaps, promote the importance of early childhood education, foster industry partnerships and internships, and help create community college courses to meet the needs of businesses and organizations in the Valley.
Then we communicate all finalized policies and statements to our members and to the appropriate legislators and send media advisories after each policy statement is finalized.

As you can see, a large number of Chamber members participate in developing policies.  This is one of the premier services the Chamber provides its members. You are welcomed to participate in the process.

What Business Owners need to know about Digital Marketing, the Internet, and Online Internet Solutions

By Robert Schuett of Dutchman Enterprises, a Market America’s WebCenters Representative

There are many elements to Digital Marketing that include Online Strategy, Mobile Websites, Marketing & Design Statistics, Website Management, Search Engine Optimization & Marketing (SEO SEM), Google Advertising, and Social Media.

Here are some statistics that might help you with some perspective before launching a campaign:

  • As of April 21, 2015 Google launched new algorithms to find more mobile-friendly ‘responsive’ websites.
  • 67 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase from a mobile-friendly site
  • 74 percent are more likely to return to mobile-optimized sites
  • There are 10.3 billion Google searches every month
  • 78 percent of Internet users research products and services online
  • 88 percent of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours
  • 70 percent of households now use the Internet when shopping locally for products and services
  • 50 percent of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results and 61 percent of those searches result in a purchase
  • 62 percent of emails are opened on a mobile device
  • Social Media budgets are projected to double in the next five years
  • 40 percent abandon a website if it takes too long to load
  • Companies with active Blogs receive 97 percent more leads
  • 70 percent of customers prefer to information about a company from content rather than ads
  • Content Marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional Marketing
  • 61 percent of global Internet users research products online
  • 85 percent of customers expect businesses to be active in Social Media
  • Social Media has a 100 percent higher lead-to-close rate than outbound Marketing
  • Market America’s WebCenters is an innovative Internet Marketing company specializing in business Website design, eCommerce, hosting services, Search Engine Optimization and Marketing (SEO & SEM), and Social Media capabilities.

You can contact Robert Schuett via email at bobschuettmaweb@yahoo.com or by phone at (610) 297.5493.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Scoop on Pets, Animal Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley

The Scoop on Pets
Animal Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley
By Denise Cassidy

We are all aware of our local food banks and food pantries, which help families and individuals in need, put food on their tables.  But who feeds their pets?  We are very fortunate in the Lehigh Valley to have an Animal Food Bank.  The Animal Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley began in 2005, as a Girl Scout project.  They distributed pet food out of the Trinity Soup Kitchen in Bethlehem, to pet parents, on a monthly basis.  As the need grew, so did the number of volunteers and Animal Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley received its non-profit status in 2009.  It is currently located on 3rd Street in Bethlehem, in the Fowler Family Southside Center.
Currently, there are 6 regular volunteers, and high school students also volunteer their time to fulfill their community service requirements.  200 clients are currently registered, and the food bank feeds over 6000 pets per month.  Federal poverty guidelines are used to determine financial need for the pet food.
Along with emergency pet food distribution, the Animal Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley also offers monthly food distribution, pet supplies and toys (when available), information on low-cost spay/neuter & vaccines, educational information and pet food coupons.  Regular food distribution happens on the 2nd, 3rd & 4th Fridays of the month, between 1-5PM.  Each registered client can attend one distribution per month.  When there is surplus food available, pet food is also supplied to area no-kill shelters, animal rescues (501C3) and feral cat colonies.  The first priority is to supply pet food to families/individuals with pets, in order to keep them out of the shelter system.  Dogs must maintain a current county license, and dog and cats must maintain a current rabies vaccine to continue to receive food.
The Animal Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley’s Mission is simple:  “To keep pets with their families and alleviate animal hunger by soliciting, collecting, packaging and distributing pet food to individuals and families in need.”  Achieving that goal is no simple task, and requires the efforts and generosity of the community.
If you would like to help, donations can be made on their website www.animalfoodbanklehighvalley.com
Or by mail: 
PO Box 5215
Bethlehem, PA  18015 

Items needed:
·        Monetary donations
·        Pet Food Coupons
·        Volunteers
·        Pet Food
o   Dry Dog & Cat Food
o   Canned Dog & Cat Food
o   Pet Bird Food
o   Rabbit, turtle, hamster, fish, chinchilla foods
o   Cat Litter
o   General pet supplies

Please consider supporting the Animal Food Bank in any way that you can.  The Lehigh Valley’s pets need our help.  Denise Cassidy-Dietsch, Doodie Calls www.doodiecalls.us

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board- LV 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.

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

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.