Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Education and Talent Supply Council

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

Just a few months ago, representatives from the Lehigh Valley’s educational institutions, major employers, and economic development and workforce agencies gathered in the meeting room of the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board (LVWDB), rolled up their sleeves, and got to work.
This unprecedented partnership marked the inaugural meeting of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) Education and Talent Supply Council, a group of stakeholders from various entities all sharing the same goal: developing current workforce supply and demand data, and creating and executing regional strategies that help maintain a workforce and talent supply.
“The availability of trained workers is now the number one factor driving company locations, even more so than the total operating costs,” said Don Cunningham, President and CEO of LVEDC. “The regions that best solve the talent supply equations are the ones that will score the big wins in economic development competition.”
In addition to LVEDC and the LVWDB, this council includes representatives from the Lehigh Valley’s wide array of educational institutions including research universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, school districts and career and technological schools, as well as major regional employers like Ocean Spray, Mack Trucks, and Olympus Corp.
Bringing these entities together to better connect the Lehigh Valley’s labor supply and demand is such an innovative concept, it’s beginning to develop interest statewide as a potential model to be emulated.  Cunningham and Northampton Community College President Mark Erickson, who chairs the council, were invited to Harrisburg in September to testify about the effort before the Pennsylvania House Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness.
“The first step in understanding the gap between the education talent supply and workforce needs of employers is to gather accurate and timely data, and to code that data in a way that is consistent across institutions,” Erickson said during his testimony. “The second, and most critical step, is to assess potential gaps, and ultimately assure alignment with the workforce needs of the region we serve.”
The council has begun to identify areas of focus to prioritize, discussing such topics as establishing internships, standardizing terminology in job descriptions to ensure more candidates are found, testing and verifying workforce data, and creating more intensive employer engagement.  The objective is to have each Lehigh Valley college and school provide information on the pipeline of talent preparing to enter the local labor market.
Developing data-driven, innovative and cost-effective workforce strategies has always been a priority for both LVWDB and LVEDC. That why we’ve partnered on the formation of the Education and Talent Supply Council, which itself stems from a Workforce and Economic Development Strategic Plan both organizations commissioned last year from Oxford Economics.
Understanding labor supply is only half of the battle.  The other half is understanding the specific labor needs of Lehigh Valley businesses.  The goal is to make sure the region is supplying the right number of workers, with the proper skills demanded by present and future companies.  This is no easy task, but we have now begun to put into place a process that we believe can be successful.

Monday, November 21, 2016

$400K IP funding will help train....

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

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry recently awarded $4.6 million in Industry Partnership grants to fund 28 partnerships among 19 workforce development boards across the state.

What are Industry Partnerships (IPs) ???
IPs focus to bring together companies in the same industry sector to brainstorm innovative workforce skills needed to make their industry more competitive.  These formal meetings or forums allow regional businesses to discuss individual business needs, gaps they see in their industry and variety of issues not just worker training.  Discussions such as Wage gains, career advancement, entry-level employment and increased productivity are just a few ways that IPs provide a return on investment.

We are honored that the Lehigh Valley received $400K from PA Department of Labor and Industry.

• The Lehigh Valley Transportation, Warehousing and Logistics Industry Partnership received $200,000 for training and intermediary services for 115 participants in the logistics and transportation industry.
• The Lehigh Valley Diversified Manufacturing IP was awarded $200,000 for training and intermediary services for 138 participants in the advanced manufacturing Industry. 

These growing industry sectors in the Lehigh Valley are critical drivers of our economy, making up 17 percent of jobs in the region.

Industry Partnership resources give businesses in these targeted sectors the opportunity to train their current workforce, increase skills, improve productivity and allow our employers to remain profitable in a highly competitive marketplace.

Stay tuned!!  I will be updating you on the results of these investments into these valuable Lehigh Valley sectors.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


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

This week the nation is celebrating National Apprenticeships Week- November 14-20, 2016. The United States Department of Labor is celebrating the second year with 600+ events all over the nation. PA Governor Tom Wolf also added to the celebration a Commonwealth proclamation click here to see!

What is National Apprenticeship Week?

President Barack Obama proclaimed the week of November 2, 2015, as the first Annual National Apprenticeship Week, also referred to as NAW. Across the nation through over 300 events in 47 states, communities large and small recognized the important role Apprentices play in offering employers an opportunity to develop a highly skilled workforce to help grow their business and career seekers the chance to earn a salary while learning the skills necessary to succeed. 

There are many ways to join this National Apprenticeship Week Movement. Examples include:
  • Apprentice Graduations
  • Business Open Houses
  • High School Career Fairs
  • Apprenticeship Signing Days
  • Skills Competitions
  • Industry Roundtable Events
For more information check out the NAW website https://www.dol.gov/apprenticeship/NAW/ or email me ndischinat@lvwib.org for more ideas you can execute locally!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Do You Know Your Business Like You Know Your BFF?
Written by Guest Blogger:  Jeanine Villano-George, Co-Owner A&A Plumbing and Heating, LLC

Let me ask you this question…  and it might sound a little silly but …

Do you know your business like you know your BFF (Best Friend Forever)?  How well do you know your best friend?  Think about this for a moment; do you know your BFF’s favorite color, favorite drink, favorite restaurant … can you rattle that off pretty quickly?  How about if I asked you the same style of questions about your business, could you rattle off the answers with confidence and composure?  For example:  What are your quarterly gross sales?  What percentage of your business do you allow for community outreach?  How do you bring value to your customer base … What are you really good at?    

Do you know your business like a BFF?  Business relationships are like best friend relationships because they take time, work and investment to develop them and make them stronger.  When you meet a new person they are not your ‘best friend’ immediately, it takes time to foster that relationship and build trust before you can call him/her your BFF!  It takes time for you to trust each other.

Is your business your BFF?  Have you invested the time it takes to build that relationship between you and your business?  It might seem a little strange to think about your business as a relationship but believe me ladies and gentlemen the day that I realized that it is just like any other relationship and it takes time, belief and commitment to build a solid foundation was the day I realized that I am in the driver’s seat and in complete control of how my business succeeds.

Small business matters, for so many reasons, I believe we are and will continue to be the backbone of our great nation!  I believe that small business IS THE REASON we still feel we live in a nation of prosperity.  The ‘American Dream’ is still that…a dream, to many entrepreneurs like you and I who believe in Mom and Pop Shops and find value in building relationships with integrity, purpose and by using the Golden Rule as their guide!   When you know your business like your BFF and you are confident that your product or services can add value to someone else’s life you want to shout it from the rooftops, right?  There is no better contentment then realizing that you have enhanced someone’s life by offering your business and putting your reputation and name on the line.

KNOW YOUR BUSINESS LIKE YOUR BFF!  Know your strengths, opportunity areas and your worth to your community.  Shout it from the rooftops!!  This is what matters, YOUR business matters!  And I for one am forever grateful to be a part of a community of like-minded professionals who believe that relationship building is the key to small business success!

Friday, November 11, 2016

We honor all who served! #VeteransDay

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

Yesterday the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc.. PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley in partnership with Academics for Veterans (A’s for Vets) hosted the 2016 Veterans Employment and Education Fair.

Veterans and family members from across the Lehigh Valley attended the fair held at 555 Union Blvd in  Allentown.  This was an opportunity for veterans to meet with representatives face to face and discuss opportunities available.
Veterans and family members were able to:

  • Meet with recruiters from a variety of businesses 
  • Meet with representatives from higher education institutions in the Lehigh Valley
  • Network with other local veterans
  • Learn more about resources available

We were happy to host the following employers, high education and service providers
Employers.  We want to thank these organizations for hiring and inspiring our veterans.

  • B Braun 
  • C&S Wholesalers 
  • Cintas 
  • Continental Corp. 
  • Crayola 
  • Creative Kids Club 
  • Delta T Group 
  • Dempsey 
  • Diakon Lutheran Ministries 
  • Dixie-Georgia Pacific 
  • FedEx Ground –Breinigsville/Bethlehem 
  • Follett Ice 
  • Genco 
  • Jurin Roofing 
  • Kids Peace 
  • Kistler O’Brien 
  • Klover 
  • Lehigh Valley Health Network 
  • Lehigh Valley Phantoms 
  • MC2 
  • Millwood 
  • Muhlenberg College 
  • Nestle Purina 
  • PA State Liquor Control Board 
  • Phillips Pet 
  • Pitt Ohio 
  • RR Donnelley 
  • SSRS 
  • St. Luke’s Health Network 
  • Starbucks 
  • The Empire Company 
  • Tobyhanna Army Depot 
  • UPS 
  • Via of Lehigh Valley 

Educational Institutions

  • Cedar Crest College 
  • Moravian College 
  • DeSales University 
  • Muhlenberg College
  • Lehigh Carbon Community College 
  • Northampton Community College 
  • Lehigh Career & Technical Institute 
  • Penn State- Lehigh Valley 
  • McCann School of Business & Technology

Service Providers

  • Northampton Director of Veterans Affairs 
  • Lehigh Director of Veterans Affairs 
We look forward to more events that highlight organizations that are veteran and military friendly but most importantly finding employment for veterans. If you are interested in participating and helping our veterans and their family members, please contact me at nancyd@lvwdb.org