Thursday, January 28, 2016

GLVCC Economic Outlook & first ever ND SUPERHERO Award!

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

On Tuesday, I presented at The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Lehigh Valley Economic Outlook & Community Development Awards.  700 people attended the luncheon forum located at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem.

My friend,  Wells Fargo Global Economist Dr. Jay Bryson, provided current and relevant economic data, expert insights and a financial outlook for the coming year from a macro perspective.
The Chamber’s Chief Economist, Dr. Kamran Afshar provided detailed local information, Lehigh Valley Economic Survey results and insightful analysis
The Morning Call Editor, David Erdman, presented The Morning Call Annual Business News Review. Attendees also heard from Coordinated Health CEO Dr. Emil DiIorio who presented the impact of healthcare on the economy.

My report included the Lehigh Valley Jobs and Employment Outlook and my first ever “Nancy Dischinat SUPERHERO AWARD!”  If you were unable to attend, don’t worry, I am sharing my  report below.

As we continue on the economic recovery highway in the Lehigh Valley and face a tightening of our supply of labor which is a result of economic recovery….you, Lehigh Valley employers, are holding steadfast in your requirements for a qualified and skilled workforce.
You also are searching for education and training that delivers the skills you need to compete and grow.  As a PA region we are known throughout the country for our alignment of economic development, workforce development, education and the community.

So, let’s see where we stand in our Lehigh Valley economy…boasting a 95% employment rate which mirrors the national employment rate.

The LVWDB and LVEDC (Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation) initiated a Bridging the Workforce Gap Study focusing on:
            Examining the regional talent pipeline,
            Cataloging the region’s workforce providers,
            Identifying the target sectors and future workforce needs, and
            Completing a gap analysis of education talent output compares to demand

Our Lehigh Valley Snapshot indicated that we have 15,281 employers providing 283,000 jobs.  The average employer in the Lehigh Valley has 18 employees. 52% of the workforce is female and 48% is male.  Nearly 46% of our workforce is older than 45.  32% of Lehigh Valley’s workforce have Bachelor’s Degrees or above.  31% have Associates Degrees or some college.  31% have high school diplomas and 6% have less than high school diploma.

The demographics of the Lehigh Valley’s workforce are expected to change over the next five years, so get ready!  There will be a rise in workers who are 55-69 years old but a decline in the numbers of workers 40-59 years old.  A very disturbing projection shows a decline in grade 12 enrollments in Lehigh Valley’s high schools, which will reduce the pool of young people continuing onto post-secondary education, like community colleges.

So, what do we need to do? We have to change our strategies to increase our work with youth earlier to ensure that all young people enrolled right now in high school continue to post-secondary education to ensure we have a trained talent pipeline for the Lehigh Valley.  And we need your help!

US Labor force projected trends show our growth has continued to decline since 2000 and is only projected to grow at an average annual rate of 0.5%.  And that’s a big deal…that means fewer people will be available for work!

About 35% of the Lehigh Valley’s workers commute out of the region for work where they can earn more money….toward Philadelphia and New Jersey.  Data indicated that half of these commuters earn $30,000 more per year than they would in the Lehigh Valley in the professional, technical and scientific services.  Talk about competition for workers!

Projections are that the Lehigh Valley will add 22,150 NEW jobs over the next five years.  Although manufacturing jobs are projected to decline, output and productivity are on the rise.  In addition, certain manufacturers in the Lehigh Valley are adding more than 600 new high-tech jobs.  This means a higher trained and educated workforce.  , Because you need the best in class to fill these jobs—we need your help!

In addition to the awards The Chamber presented, I imparted my first ever SUPERHERO Award to Congressman Charlie Dent for exhibiting these three criteria:
1.      I like you!,
2.      You are willing to help me when asked!, and
3.      You don’t give me any lip!

Please stay tuned for my next Chamber Connection’s article for 10 ways you can help develop the Lehigh Valley’s talent pipeline.  If you can’t wait until then, please contact me personally at

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