Thursday, May 26, 2016

WIOA? Where have you been?

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

By now you have probably heard me talk about WIOA.  If not, where have you been?  This is your chance to get involved and collaborate with the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc. to ensure that the Lehigh Valley has a private sector driven workforce system.

In 2014, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) providing a framework for states to make changes to their workforce systems.  The federal law sets parameters to enable better alignment of workforce priorities across multiple partners, training and service providers, employers and economic development and community partners, to ensure that together we are creating a skilled workforce.

Governor Wolf established five broad goals for Pennsylvania’s workforce development system.
1. Establish career pathways as the primary model for skills, credential and degree attainment and provide all Pennsylvanians, with an emphasis on Pennsylvanians with barriers to employment, an opportunity to obtain a job that pays.
2. Expand public-private investment in the state’s pipeline of workers and in incumbent workers for targeted industry sectors from entry-level skills to middle skills through Industry Partnerships, WEDnetPA, and other innovative strategies.
3. Increase opportunities for all youth to participate in work-based learning through summer employment, pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships, internships and similar experiences.
4. Engage employers through multi-employer workforce partnerships to improve the connection and responsiveness of workforce programs to the demand side of the labor market. Increase public-private investment in critical skills, and support the spread of employer practices that create jobs that pay.
5. Strengthen data sharing across state agencies and workforce development partners to better understand education and employment outcomes and rely more effectively on data to improve our target our efforts.

How does the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board respond to these challenges and goals? Stay tuned! Next month I will present the results from public comments on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Transitional Local Plan for Program Year. This plan presents our vision, mission, goals, and strategies necessary to support the work of our regional and state partners. 

This plan also outlines many of the programs and initiatives planned for Lehigh Valley's public workforce system through the services in the PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley centers.  

Lehigh Valley’s Plan is available for review at  If you have any questions or comments please email me at  

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

When they're searching for a leaders, will they call your name?

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

The Lehigh Valley Business Education Partnership a subsidiary of the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc is working on an initiative with employers to offer a college tuition assistance program for youth.  Employers are encouraged to offer a tuition benefit ranging from $.75 to $1.00 per hour for every hour worked as a co-op student, intern, apprentice or new employee.  The money in the escrow account can only be used for tuition at our post secondary institutions.  The money is an employer contribution for tuition not supplemental salary.  This program can yield tax credits for employers.  The sum of money can quickly grow from $1,500 to $2,000 or higher each year, which usually cover the cost of part-time enrollment to obtain an associate degree at a community or technical college.  Our goal?? Your associates degree debt free.

The Lehigh Valley Business Education Partnership has been working on another initiative with Bloomsburg University, Lehigh Carbon Community College and Northampton Community College to offer Lehigh Valley residents a Bachelor of Applied Science in Technical Leadership (BAS-TL). This program is geared toward the working professional, new graduate or returning adult student.

Evening Classes to Fit Your Schedule- Most Technical Leadership in-person and online courses are scheduled in the evenings, which offers you the flexibility to attend classes while still meeting your work and family commitments.

Transfer at Least 60 credits- Graduates of community college associate degree programs transfer at least 60 credits and move forward as juniors.

A High-Value Bachelor's Degree at a Reasonable Cost-Smooth transfer of credits from your associate degree, plus additional community college courses built into the program, make this an affordable path to your bachelor's degree.

Part & Full-Time Options- You make the choice! Select a part or full-time course plan that allows you to move through the program at your own pace.

Prepare for the New Connected Workplace-The evolving global economy requires us to work with others in both face-to-face and online situations. The Technical Leadership program prepares you for these new workplace demands by giving you experience in project work in a mix of online and face-to-face courses.

Need more information on BAS-TL?
Contact Dr. Carol Adukaitis at Bloomsburg University at 570-389-5135

Interested in hearing more about the college tuition assistance for career and technical school students and graduates?
Contact Clyde Hornberger from LVBEP at 610-657-1345.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"That's why I need their input; it's time to tell us what they think."

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

I recently spoke Anthony Salamone from the Morning Call to spread the news that we need employers input regarding the Transitional Local Plan.  Please visit to offer your comments and help our economic development in the Lehigh Valley.
The full article is provided below.

, Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call
 It's Nancy Dischinat's job to ensure the Lehigh Valley is working, but for years she has been preaching that it's a matter of integrating stakeholders — the unemployed, employers, educational institutions and more — and finding answers to residents' needs.
"Do we need to increase more bus routes with LANTA?" Dischinat said Wednesday. "Do we need to work more with dislocated workers, because maybe we're not finding them the right jobs or services?"
As executive director of the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board Inc., Dischinat also is charged with putting into place a "Transitional Local Plan" on the workforce, what she considers the most important "economic development" resource. The transitional plan will serve as the foundation for implementing federal law.
Dischinat is seeking comments on the plan until May 25. People who would prefer to comment publicly can do so during a meeting at 6 p.m. May 11 at the Workforce Development Board/Lehigh Valley CareerLink offices, 555 Union Blvd. in Allentown.
The federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 requires each governor to submit the transitional plan as part of a four-year roadmap outlining the state's workforce development strategy.
It's the first sweeping change in years, Dischinat said Wednesday. Boards such as hers, working with the state, are obligated to fill in people about the law. During the transitional year, which runs from July 1 through June 30, 2017, those agencies must also work with state and federal labor offices and "figure out all the nuances of the law and get ready," she said.
"I think one of the biggest challenges we have in implementing the plan is, is it meeting the needs of the employers and the customer population?" Dischinat said.
"That's why I need their input; it's time to tell us what they think."
People can see the 72-page draft plan at either or It is also available at four locations: the workforce development board on Union Boulevard; the Allentown Employment and Training Center, 718 Hamilton St.; the Lehigh County Government Center in Allentown; and Northampton County Government Center in Easton.
Comments can also be emailed to Dischinat at For more information call 610-437-5627.
Nancy Dischinat, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board Inc., is shown during a presentation in January at Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce's Economic Outlook event at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. Dischinat is seeking public comment this month on a draft plan that will govern the future of Valley job development. (APRIL BARTHOLOMEW / THE MORNING CALL FILE PHOTO)

to view the article please click on the link below

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Get Control of Shipping, Know Your Options: Ouch….the Small Parcel Bill, Isn’t so Small

by Rian Carr, Senior Partner at Lamprey Systems

What you may not know, is costing you. You’ve seen it, or you’ve felt it.  The swelling figure on your financial statements and P&L; the graphs and charts boldly pointing to the amounts of money you spend on shipping.  Or, maybe it’s just a feeling you have that the shipping bills are always creeping up.
Well, it’s not a hunch.  It’s reality.   According to Small Business Trends, USPS raised their rates an average of 9.5 percent, while UPS and FedEx each raised their rates 4.9 percent as of January 1, 2016.   These increases mean one thing, less money for your business.  So what can you do when you’re stuck with paying more and more for small parcel shipping, but can’t always pass that cost through to your customer and stay competitive?  What’s this rumor that you can’t afford professional logistics consultation?

Here are some answers:
1. Ask for help.  There are more and more logistics professionals and companies in your network every day.   The really good ones will give you great advice, they will work on contingency, not cost you any money and save you a lot.   Look for companies that have a long track record and preferably ones that have a local presence.   Good logistics people will be an asset to your company, not a cost.    
2. Get control.  Know what service you’re choosing and know if it’s the right one for your product and zone.  Have a clear understanding of your incentives, volume discounts and where you can leverage the best rate along with the right service type.  Just being aware of the basics will help you minimize time and error.

3. Talk to Neighbors.  Benchmark your rates against other businesses in your network.  It’s a great way to check if your rates are good, or not so good.   You can get professional benchmarking done with a good logistics company, or you can talk to businesses, friends and colleagues.  Either way, you’ll get a quick sense of where your company stands in relation to other businesses and maybe get some leverage for the next time you talk with your carrier rep.

4. Audit Audit Audit. If it’s important to your business, it’s probably being audited.  Your shipping bills are no different.   A small parcel auditor will give you amazing benefits, top-notch insider intelligence and will show you refunds from UPS/FedEx that you aren’t getting.  The best ones will work for free (contingency only) and they’ll usually find things you’ve never thought of.  It’s a no-brainer!

5. Use metrics to run your business, not your hunches.  Shipping is too costly, too risky, and usually a shipping problem, leads to a customer problem.  We don’t like those!  If you want to keep customers happy and grow at the same time, use people that live and breathe the business of shipping to bring you options, metrics, intelligence and most of all savings.
Shipping is becoming more complex and more costly every day.   You don’t have to outsource your shipping to stay competitive, but to be efficient, you must get control of it.

Rian Carr, Senior Partner
Lamprey Systems
60 West Broad Street
Small Parcel Auditing – LTL / Freight Management – Metrics – Transportation Management Systems

Employers can influence the change they want to see in the workforce! #CAREERFORCE

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

PA Careerlink® Lehigh Valley endeavors to provide effective, responsive, user friendly and valued programs that develop, deliver, and sustain a quality, regional workforce, and we recognize our youth
as an important part of that workforce.

CareerLink’s® CareerFORCE program serves out-of-school youth ages 16-24 with barriers to employment. “Our participants are provided with group peer development in areas of job readiness and employability skills,” said Heather Dulick, Youth Program Manager.  “They have the opportunity to receive funding toward work based activities such as occupational skills training, National Retail
Federation training and certification in Customer Service, On-the-job training, paid work experience and various off site activities to strengthen their foundation and gain exposure in the workforce,” She

The program also connects participants with community mentors who help them navigate their career path. “We would love to partner with more community based organizations,” said CareerForce Instructor, Melissa Wise. “We welcome guest speakers, potential mentors, opportunities for work experiences and more.”

Employers interested in participating with employable youth or CareerForce, contact our Youth Program Manager, Heather Dulick at or 610-841- 008.