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

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

It's a New Year but lets review the end of 2015!

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

Our objective at the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc. 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.

I have provided specialized data for the last quarter of 2015.  Please feel free to click on the links and images to view in more detail.  

Lehigh Valley Snapshot

Top occupations in demand?........Truck driver and registered nurses top the list!

Quarterly Monthly Workstats

Largest employment growth?.......Health care and social assistance.
No surprise here since Pennsylvania has the fourth largest senior population and elder healthcare is a growing business in Pennsylvania and nationwide.

Growing industries of Interest?......... Beverage manufacturing showed the second highest growth (9.0%) along side of promoters of performing arts and sports (9.7%).   Pennsylvania already has over 130 breweries and the list is growing!

For more information please contact me at

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

12 Things Every Manager Should Know about DISC (part 1)

By Dr. Ira Wolfe, president Success Performance Solutions,
(O) 484-373-4300 or 717-291-4640; (M) 717-333-8286

DISC is one of the most commonly used and popular employee assessments on the planet.  But as is the case with so many things, success attracts evangelists, dedicated advocates, and passionate naysayers.  This article attempts to set the record straight about what DISC is and isn’t.
  1. CriteriaOne DISCDISC describes 4 styles of human behavior.It’s a very practical but simple model. But despite all the hoopla, DISC is based on only 2 personality scales – task/people orientation and tendency to tell/ask (or if you prefer direct/indirect). The intersection of these 2 scales produces the 4 styles of Direct, Influence, Steady, and Conscientiousness (or Compliance).  While DISC is a wonderful first step into human behavior, it is hardly the microscope into human behavior, especially when it comes to job fit, that many people promote.
  2. DISC is as old as the ancient Greeks. Yes, that’s correct. It’s not some new thing that I/O psychologists or consultants recently created.  The DISC model was first proposed by none other than Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine.  And that was in the 4th century B.C. He believed that the body contained four fluids that effected a person’s mood and therefore responsible for different types of behavior. Hippocrates was the first to describe behavior in a systematic way. Thankfully, modern profiling does not rely on measuring the amount of blood, bile, and phlegm in a person to determine their style, but the ideas behind it can be traced back to Hippocrates’ theories.
  3. DISC is an observable language.  Despite the popular belief that DISC can reveal an individual’s deepest and darkest inner secrets, it is just not true. To identify someone’s DISC behavioral style, all one needs to do is observe and listen. Each of us has a preferred style that can neatly be described with a characteristic body language and tone. Some styles speak loudly, others softly. Some speak fast, others slow. Some communicate with distinct and expressive movements, while others are subtle and reserved. Even the words people use reveal a person’s behavioral style. Because DISC can be observed, others can be taught how to read another’s DISC style and adapt their communication accordingly in order to be heard and trusted.
  4. DISC is a neutral language – no good, bad, best, or worst style.  Another myth associated with DISC is that some styles are better than others.  That is completely untrue. DISC is neutral -it just reveals how an individual prefers to communicate and approach tasks and work. For sure, one style may be a better fit or more comfortable in different situations, but that doesn’t make the person good or bad. Fortunately behavior can be modified.  DISC is a language just like English, Spanish, Chinese, and French. The more languages you speak, the more opportunities you’ll find .As humans we can adapt to different experiences and situations when we want to…and then return to our “native” style.  By understanding the principles of DISC one can learn to communicate in his natural style as well as 3 additional behavioral styles.
  5. The father of Modern DISC is William Moulton Marston. While Dr. Marston may not be a household name because of DISC, most people will recognize the character he created -Wonder Woman. Marston was a bit of an eccentric genius and entrepreneur. His “day” job was as a psychologist, lawyer, and inventor. And when not writing his comic, he is credited with creating the systolic blood pressure test, which later became an integral part of the polygraph test. When he published Emotions of Normal People in 1928, he introduced DISC into the mainstream.
  6. Walter Clarke developed the 1st DISC assessment. Clarke too was an industrial psychologist who accidentally created an assessment called the Activity Vector Analysis based on Marston’s theory. He later teamed up with John Cleaver for an improved version which served as the foundation for many of the DISC instruments use today.
Is there one DISC that is better than the other? DId you know that DISC can be used to determine how an employee is motivated?  Those answers will be provided in a follow-up post: 12 Things Every Manager Should Know about DISC – Part 2.

Learn more about DISC – click here.

Don't forget your helmet when sledding this season

With the coldest months of the year upon us, it’s only a matter of time until the first snowfall of the season hits. Sledding, a seasonal favorite for children of all ages seeking thrills, is probably high on kids’ to-do lists as the first flakes hit the ground.

Though it’s one of the most exciting activities your kids can enjoy this time of year, Jennifer Janco, MD, Chief of Pediatric Medicine at St. Luke’s University Health Network, also says it’s a great idea to keep your head on straight when it comes to your child’s safety in light of the fact that 229,000 sledding injuries sent kids to emergency rooms across the country between 1997 and 2007.

Additionally, a 2007 study performed in upstate New York showed that kids reach an average speed of 19 miles per hour when sledding downhill—a pretty quick clip.

"Those are some serious figures, so it’s good to remember that sledding, while it can be a great time for the kids, should also be done safely, and supervised by adults,” says William S. Hoff, MD, FACS, Chief of St. Luke’s Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. “It’s also why I strongly recommend children wear helmets when sledding. It’s just as important as having them wear a bicycle helmet.”

Dr. Hoff says that, while fitting your son or daughter with a helmet before sledding may appear overprotective, you could be potentially saving them from very serious injuries that can occur. Of the 200,000-plus injuries mentioned above, 34 percent involved head injuries.

Other research, conducted several years ago at the University of Michigan also points to the need for children to be protected while sledding. Between 2003 and 2011, 52 children were admitted to his hospital with sledding injuries—20 of which were head injuries. More than 70 percent of them required admittance to the hospital’s intensive care unit. A full 10 percent ending in permanent disability for the child, according to the study.

“This research shows that, sledding accidents can cause life-changing injuries your child may never recover from,” Dr. Hoff says. “However, the same study showed that wearing a helmet can cut life-threatening sledding injuries in half.”

Dr. Hoff notes that there are a few other tips parents can follow to reduce head injuries during sledding:
Use a safe sled, preferably one that can be steered. Many tubes and toboggans can be unsafe because they travel at very high rates of speed when going downhill.
Sit face-forward on your sled, and avoid going down the hill headfirst. This can greatly increase the chance of head injury.
Make sure the hill your child is sledding on is free of obstacles (e.g. jumps, ramps) and isn’t too icy. These factors can also increase chance of head injury.
Supervise! Actively watch your kids and make sure they’re sledding in a safe and sensible manner.

“Make your kids wear helmets when sledding, particularly if they're 12 or younger,” asserts Dr. Hoff. “Helmets designed for winter sports work best, but at least be sure they at least wear a bike helmet or something similar. You could be heading off big trouble for your child.”  

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

WIOA affects us all! Please read how you can help the Lehigh Valley.

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

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires the governor of each state to submit a four-year Unified or Combined State Plan to the U.S. Department of Labor.  Governor Wolf will be submitting the Combined State Plan for Pennsylvania which will outline the commonwealth’s workforce development strategy including the six core programs: Adult, Dislocated Worker, Youth, Wagner-Peyser, Adult Basic Education and Vocational Rehabilitation.  In addition, the Combined State Plan will also address a number of optional programs including career and technical education, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Jobs for Veterans and Reintegration of Ex-Offenders, to name a few.

Here’s the link to the draft PA WIOA Combined State Plan:

The draft plan is currently posted for a 30-day public comment period which ends at 5:00 p.m. on February 1, 2016.  I wanted to be sure that you were aware of the draft State Plan and had the opportunity to provide public comments on the plan.   If you do have any comments on the plan, you may submit them in writing to:  I would also appreciate it if you would copy me on any comments that you submit.

In addition, the commonwealth will be conducting a Listening Session on the draft State Plan on January 21, 2016 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Northampton Community College, Room 220 of the College Center Building, 3835 Green Pond Rd in Bethlehem where people can provide verbal comments.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact me.



Nancy Dischinat | Executive Director
Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc.
555 Union Boulevard, Allentown, PA 18109
Phone: 610-841-1122| Fax: 610-437-3527 |

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Could you locate the Lehigh Valley Civil Service Testing Center on a map?

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

Could you locate the Lehigh Valley Civil Service Testing Center on a map?

That’s because there isn’t one!

The Pennsylvania General Assembly has been working on the state budget for months and although I eagerly anticipate the budget negotiations outcome, I am also looking forward to a decision by the State Civil Service Commission that will support our job seekers and workforce right here in the Lehigh Valley.

Lehigh Valley legislators are diligently working to reopen the State Civil Service Testing Center in Allentown.  Civil Service is a merit system of employment that hires, retains and promotes people based on their qualifications and ability to perform the job.  The Pennsylvania State Civil Service Commission administers the merit employment system for 37 state agencies and almost 57,000 civil service employees. Approximately 9,000 employees work for 300 local government offices that have contracted with the Commission to provide merit services.

Currently, the closest testing centers for Lehigh Valley residents are Harrisburg, Philadelphia or Scranton.  Some people may remember that Allentown used to have a testing location-- and believe me it was a robust center-- which assisted thousands of residents in finding public service positions.  In its last year of operation, the Allentown center administered over 4,700 exams. 

Thank you to Rep. Peter Schweyer and Rep. Mike Schlossberg for making the reopening of the Allentown Civil Service Testing Center a priority.  There is bipartisan support on state and federal levels to allocate funding that would reinstate the facility.  This testing center will provide essential services and opportunities for the residents of the Lehigh Valley.  Positions available through the State Civil Service Commission include clerical, engineering, financial, IT, nursing, science professionals, social services, trades and more.  That is a lot of opportunity for Lehigh Valley residents! Could having a testing center in the Lehigh Valley help you or someone you know find a career?

To hear more from our local legislators please visit the links below and contact them to express your thoughts on reopening the center here in Allentown.  Individuals interested in exploring merit service employment opportunities at the state and local government levels are encouraged to check the commission's  For more information please contact please contact me at

Rep. Schweyer       

Rep. Schlossberg