Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Interesting news for middle-skill jobs

The National Skills Coalition’s newly updated middle-skill facts sheets clearly show that demand for middle-skill jobs continues to remain strong in the nation. Middle-skill jobs, which require education or training beyond high school but not a bachelor’s degree, make up the largest share of the labor market in the United States overall, and in every state. Read the full blog here.

To see information specifically on Pennslyvania here.  Interesting to see that middle-skill jobs are 54%!

In the beginning of March, the National Skills Coalition held a webinar Skills Equity Policies in the States,  where state policy experts and NSC staff discussed policies that expand equitable access to middle-skill training, credentials, and careers, particularly for those who have faced barriers to economic opportunity.

Does your company have a workforce gap in middle-skill jobs area?  Please tell me more, contact me personally at 
Nancy Dischinat
Executive Director
Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board
555 Union Boulevard, Allentown, PA 18109

Phone: 610-841-1122 Cell: 610-390-7571 ndischinat@lvwib.org

Monday, March 27, 2017

Chamber CEO Tony Iannelli honored at LVEDC Annual Meeting

Lehigh Valley, PA – March 27, 2017:  The President and CEO of The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, Tony Iannelli, was awarded a Special Recognition for Regional Leadership this evening at the 2017 Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation Annual Meeting. The award recognizes Tony’s vision and hard work, during the last 20 years, spearheading and organizing the regionalization of the Valley’s business community and the role he has played in advancing economic growth in the Lehigh Valley.

During Iannelli’s 20 year career at The Chamber, he has overseen the regionalization of more than 30 local chambers, business councils and policy committees from across the Lehigh Valley, creating the largest chamber organization Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Don Cunningham, the CEO of LVEDC recognized Tony Iannelli, president and CEO of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce with a first special recognition award for regionalism.

Cunningham noted that Iannelli, in his 20th year at the helm of the chamber, built what was a patchwork of small organizations into one of the 10 largest chambers in America.

"He is the dean of regional leadership," said Cunningham. Recalling when he was Bethlehem's mayor, Cunningham said Iannelli, who then headed the Allentown Chamber, began its growth by merging with the Christmas City's Chamber.  Today, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber extends from Carbon County to Warren County, N.J., and is the seventh-largest business-boosting group in the country.

“It’s been a wonderful run …,” Iannelli told the audience, “and it’s because of all of you.”

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Carbon County Young Professionals Council

Alice Wanamaker, The Chamber, Carbon County Member Relations Director

When you hear about the Carbon Young Professionals Council, what do you think? Do you envision young people in suits standing around talking about their business endeavors? Or do you envision a group of motivated, passionate young people eager for an opportunity to make an impact in our communities? The Carbon YPC is both!

The CYPC is a highly driven group of individuals from around the county, working in different industries, all successful in what we set out to do and we are ready to grow as community leaders. Our common goals are accomplished through a shared passion we have for our communities, our county, and the future of our area. Collectively, our goal is to make a positive impact in our communities by utilizing personal and business connections but also by utilizing the Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corp. With a mission of philanthropy and involvement, the CYPC was excited to continue to grow! We bring high energy, creative ideas, and strength in numbers as we develop ourselves in this 21st Century Chamber and are always looking for opportunities to showcase our strengths.

The young professionals in Carbon County are here and are rising up to the challenge, ready to take on the responsibility of making sure Carbon County is a fun and safe place to live, work and play! We will be part of the growth of Carbon County, attracting new businesses while helping the current businesses grow and prosper ...and we want you to join us!

Meetings are hosted at the CCEDC office on the 2nd Monday of every month, and involvement commitments vary depending on your busy schedule. Be sure to find us on facebook (Carbon Young Professionals) and follow us on Twitter @DiscoverCarbonC .

Friday, March 24, 2017

Agility in the Face of Change

Charles Thiel, Communication Systems Inc., Allentown Chamber President

Business. People. Allentown. All are changing. Some slow and some fast, but if there is one thing we can all agree upon, it is certainly that change is constant. You can always depend on change. It seems that the pace of change has become much more rapid in 2017.

Change is always happening. We can choose to participate, proactively, or be the recipient of the changes that happen around us.

Albert Einstein has been credited with saying that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Einstein, the genius, clearly recognized that no one could change “change.” We are all “humbled” by change and the sooner we recognize the need to work iteratively and adapt to people, methodology and seasons, the faster we will see results.

Why the focus on “change” in this month’s article? Because the world, our country, and Allentown as a city and business community, is changing and everyone reading this article need only to look at the past few years to see its change.

Change happens in us and around us. We have so much more control of the change in us than around us, which leads me to an ever-increasing business topic in these “changing times.” Agility. The need to be personally, professionally and organizationally agile is increasing in our rapidly changing world. Over the past few decades, we saw an emphasis on change management. But change management is now giving way to agility as we realize that our ability to manage change has decreased with the rapid onset of greater and faster change.

Agility is defined as being quick and graceful. Change starts with me. Change starts with you.

Let’s focus on developing our agility and grow together

Thursday, March 23, 2017

IP created opportunities for employees to stretch their skills....

Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board

You have heard me talk about Industry Partnerships before...Industry Partnerships are consortia of employers in similar industries engaged by the LVWDB to address common workforce needs, gain access to valuable incumbent worker training resources, participate in peer-to-peer networking, ensure that education and training are aligned with business needs, and obtain labor market data and workforce intelligence. 

Representatives from education, economic development, PA CareerLink workforce system partners participate in partnership activities to understand first-hand your industry driven needs.

Industry Partnership resources give businesses the opportunity to train their current workforce, increase skills, improve productivity, and allow you to remain profitable in a highly competitive marketplace.  Examples of training may  include leadership, supervisory, team building, continuous improvement, Lean principles, problem solving, communications skills and more, as well as occupational training such as machining, Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), forklift, quality, safety, electrical, and industrial maintenance, to name just a few.   

The process to request training funds:

-  Training request forms including application, signature page, company match, training
    template and additional information can be found at www.lvwib.org under Industry
-  Training is to be aligned with the Industry Partnership Training Plan and High Priority
   Occupations and result in credentials/certificates.
-  LVWDB will consider training requests for this fiscal year occurring between October 16,
Training reimbursement is 50% of training cost.  

But maybe hearing about the advantages of participating in and from am industry giant like B. Braun Medical Inc. will give you difference perspective.

Mary Frances A. Mika, PHR, SHRM-CP is the Sr. Trainer - HR at B. Braun Medical Inc., in Allentown.  When asked why she has utilized IP from LVWDB she responded: "It would not have been possible for B. Braun to upskill our employees without Industry Partnership grants to offset the training costs."  

Mary Frances goes on to say that "Industry Partnership training grants have created opportunities for our employees to stretch their skills."

What do you have to lose? Call us now to see if you qualify!
For more information or to discuss your training needs, call 610-841-1006 or email gkormanik@lvwib.org

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Business on the Block: 36e Fitness

By: Sara Weidner 
Bethlehem is home to many business from elegant clothing boutiques to the famous Moravian Bookstore, the oldest in the world! However, despite all the culture and commerce that can be found in the Christmas City, there was a need that Evan Robinson, owner and founder of 36e Fitness, saw for Bethlehem, and knew that he could fill it. Robinson’s new business is a unique fitness organization that is unlike any other chain fitness group.

Located in the basement of the Bethlehem Commons, 36e Fitness officially opened to the public on January 5, 2017. The small, privately owned gym is perfect for those who are looking for a more intimate and private setting to start their exercise journey.

“You can’t force a person to sign up to go to the gym and work out-you just can’t. When a person goes to the gym, it’s cause they’re about 80 percent of the way there and they’re ready to work out,” said Robinson.

Robinson strongly believes that the unique aspect about 36e Fitness is that it’s a whole gym created just for the client.

“There’s no having to worry about somebody else being on a piece of equipment or you being stuck in someone else’s selfie,” Robinson laughed. “Whatever you like to do when you’re working out we can do to help you achieve whatever your fitness goal is.”

To Robinson, having one-on-one instruction is always better than being in a group environment.

“I’m here to answer any questions; I’m also here to lead you through any exercise. You always have somebody watching you. It’s kind of like having a private tutor. You get that individualized attention.”

Right now, Robinson offers packages that occur three times a week, twice a week, or once a week. Prices are as follows:
  • 3 X weekly=12 Sessions a Month=$ 480 / month=​$40/hr
  • Twice weekly=8 Sessions a Month=$ 400 / month=$​50/hr
  • Once Weekly=4 Sessions a Month=$ 240 / month=​60/hr

“I put together programs for the client’s goals. You get a personalized program for your fitness needs,” said Robinson.

With his program, you get a warm-up, workout, cooldown, decompress if you want to talk, or cardio if you’d like. And another perk-water and towels are free!

“If you’re working out, you need water. If you’re not working out, you need water. You need water to live! I don’t feel that it’s right to charge someone for water,” said Robinson smiling.

Starting next month, Robinson plans to expand upon his small studio and offer a spin class in the new expansion. He also wants to turn the back half of the room into a boot camp so people can drop by and work out over their lunch break.

Robinson, a New York native, mainly attributed his return to a smaller town because of the American Dream.

Beginning with the martial art of jujutsu, Robinson has always had a passion for exercise and an ambition to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“Being in and out of the gym has always been a part of me,” said Robinson.

Previously an employee at a commercial gym’s sales department, Robinson found that the quota was not being met, and this caused internal problems regarding financial matters.

“It was right then and there that I said, ‘when I get the opportunity or when I feel the time is right to open my own gym, I said I will never be stuck in a situation again like this.”

This roadblock in his career led him to thinking about opening his own business where he would do his best to run a fair, transparent company centered around helping people achieve their fitness goals.

“I just felt like, I can do better. I can offer a better service at a cheaper price and I feel people get robbed in commercial gyms.”  

Working out can be fun when you are in a comfortable setting. With Evan Robinson who proudly considers himself a social butterfly, he said the best part of his job is getting to talk to his clients. With his bright, fun, and outgoing personality, no one could feel self-conscious or awkward when working with him.

Make an appointment today and check it out for yourself! Even if you’re not an exercise buff, tell friends, neighbors, or relatives that a new business has arrived and that its programs have one focus-you! Visit their website http://www.36efitness.com/  or call 610-756-7700 for a free consultation.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Events with Young Professionals Council

Emily Ascani, Liquid Interactive, Vice-President of Young Professionals Council

Hello everyone! We are very excited about how this month has shaped up and how the next few months are coming together for the Young Professionals Council.

Our Lead to Succeed Panel will be held on March 23rd at Theatre 514 in Allentown. Listen to 5 big names in the Lehigh Valley discuss how they gained their success over the course of their career and what advice they have for young professionals in the Lehigh Valley. PBS39’s Brittany Garzillo will be moderating this year’s panel.

As spring nears, we are anxiously awaiting our Kentucky Derby Benefit on May 6th at Iron Lakes Country Club, in hopes of giving a sizable donation to The Children’s Home of Easton. If you are interested in sponsoring or attending, please register on the Chamber website or feel free to send me an email! There are plenty of ways to get involved with this great cause. Don’t forget that any money from purchasing one of our YPC Benefit Cards will go towards our donation.

There is lots to keep up with! Make sure you like our Facebook page, follow us on LinkedIn, and check out our Twitter & Instagram @lehighvalleyypc to receive event information, articles relevant to young professionals, and opportunities to get involved.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Best Practices for Sales and Marketing

Karen Duerholz, Boyle Construction, Inc., Small Business Council Board Member

Having been in the sales and marketing side of companies in the Lehigh Valley for over 20 years, I am sometimes asked if there are best practices when it comes to achieving top performing results in sales and marketing. I wish my answer sounded more profound, but it is simple, effective and available to every company large and small.

Market intelligence boils down to having your finger on the pulse of your current and potential customers, understanding their challenges, what is keeping them up at night, and how you can be a true and trusted partner for them in solving their problems and helping them achieve their goals.

Large corporations spend millions of dollars on this every year, but for the vast majority of companies, an army of market intelligence experts is not in the cards. Here is a three-step framework for how you can create a Market Listening structure of your own:

  1. Start internally with your management team, brainstorm the issues your customers are facing, match your solution sets, and identify gaps.
  2. Collaborate with other business owners in an informal, broad discussion of challenges facing your particular market segment(s). I have to do a Chamber MasterMinds plug, because they are an excellent resource on this front!
  3. Once you have done the above homework, reach out to your customer base and ask them questions: How is business going for you in general? What are your goals for this year? What are the issues and business risks you are facing? What value do we provide? What can we be doing better? What do you need that we are not providing?

Creating your own Market Listening capability will make your entire organization more customer focused, able to stay ahead of market needs, and lead you on the path to business excellence.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Legislative Orientation....the LVWDB way!

Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board

We recently hosted an Interactive Strategic Planning Session and Workforce System Legislative Orientation.  Sounds very formal but it was really an excellent opportunity to speak one-on-one with our legislators and their staff about the work we do here at the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board and PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley.

Our agenda was packed!  We took this time to present our Job and Labor Market data and statistics, the Governor's Budget update, current Grant Opportunities we are seeking, upcoming events and more!

 Our guest of honor was Owen O'Neil, Executive Director, of LANta who explained the ins and out of public transportation in the Lehigh Valley and how LANta works with employers to help employees get to work.

We ended our time together by hearing from the legislative offices how we can better serve them and their constituents.  Part of our mission is to help Lehigh Valley residents become employed!

Every year we look forward to this meeting.  Giving and getting perspective is a key component in our strategic planning.  We are lucky to have strong relationships with our legislators and never take that for granted.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Warm up to Collaboration with Nonprofit & Business Partners Council

Matthew J. Pye, Just Born, Nonprofit & Business Partners Council Chair

The Non-Profit and Business Partner’s Council has always tried to get more non-profit board members out to our events. We purposefully developed the 21st-Century Board Development “Changing the Table” Event specifically for board leadership, board members and those interested in joining boards. We had a great turnout for this event held January 18th which was sponsored by the NPBP Council and the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley. The focus was on developing non-profit boards to be more inclusive, responsive and reflective of the culturally diverse communities they serve. Many thanks to Sharon Zondag, NPBP Council Member, and Karen Smith, Volunteer Center CEO, for spearheading the program.

We have another great event coming soon:

4th Annual Collaboration Conference “Moving Forward” on April 19, 2017 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown This event features breakfast and networking on the stage, special guests Melba Tolliver, “Accidental Anchorwoman - Chance, Choice and Change,” Seth Price,” The Road to Recognition: Collaboration, Trust and Diversity,” LV Collaboration Award Presentation, and Funder Fair. Fight the cold winter and warm up to collaboration!

Monday, March 13, 2017

New Year, New Growth for the Hispanic Chamber

Luis Campos, City of Easton Chair, Hispanic Chamber of the Lehigh Valley
The Hispanic Chamber is coming out of the 2017 gate with all cylinders blazing!  A very relevant and passionate discussion was held at a recent board meeting regarding strategies to increase community engagement efforts with Hispanic businesses. The debate centered on ways to continuously engage and recruit new members to the Chamber. Board members Julio Guridy and Juan Vidal offered strategies that would augment membership and further highlight the benefits of joining the Hispanic Chamber. The Chamber continues to take on managing growth as a challenge. While managing growth is a good problem to have, it will require greater board, staff, and membership participation.  In 2016, a new staff member and several board members were added to the team. All have jumped into their roles contributing to the Chambers momentum. 

Most recently, the Hispanic Chamber Board voted unanimously for Carolina Martinez to serve as a new board member. Ms. Martinez is currently the Founder and CEO of the Puentes group and has served on various boards throughout the region. In January, the Hispanic Chamber attended the grand opening of the Northeast Carpenters Council New Training Facility in Allentown.  Many more good things are to come in 2017! As always, stay tuned! For more information regarding the Hispanic Chamber or how you can get involved, please contact Samantha CartageƱa at samanthac@lehighvalleychamber.org.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Black History Month Theme for 2017 Focuses on Equality in Education

Charles Everett, Lehigh Valley International Airport, African American Business Leaders Council Chair

National African American History Month began in February 1926 as Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson. The purpose of Negro History Week was for Americans to study and celebrate the heritage and contributions made by people of African descent to the nation. February was chosen because of the birthdays of two famous Americans who played a significant role in African American history, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial and a desire to increase awareness, the week was expanded into Black History Month. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Today, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History continues to promote African American history and sets the annual theme. The theme for 2017 focuses on the crucial role of education in the history of African Americans. Much still needs to be done to support equality in education through the allocation of resources and the delivery of opportunities. One of the program areas for the African American Business Leaders Council is education, including workforce training and professional development. The Council encourages all business and government leaders to explore what can be done specifically to support African American entrepreneurs and businesses and to help individuals and firms who may be interested in starting or expanding a business.

Monday, March 6, 2017

How to Get the Value out of Your Chamber Membership

Interview with Nate Kline, Senior Account Executive, Infradapt, LLC.

Why did you originally get involved with the Chamber?

Infradapt has been a Chamber Member for almost 10 years now.  Infradapt got involved with the GLVCC to help brand our name, network, and attract new customers.  We feel that the Chamber is a great vehicle to network and get our name out to local businesses in the Lehigh Valley. 

How did you originally get involved with the Chamber?

I was personally invited to become a Chamber Ambassador after I approached a fellow Ambassador, Larry Bernhard, to ask him about his services.  It was funny how it happened.  I was at a sales call and waiting to meet with my prospect, when I saw Larry come into the waiting room.  Larry was dropping off a new Corporate Images catalog for this year’s hottest apparel items.  I approached Larry and asked him about his company, and must have impressed him with my outward personality because he started to introduce me to the Ambassadors, which I expressed great interest in.  I reached out to him regularly asking him if I could come to the next meeting!  Once the monthly Ambassador’s meeting occurred, I learned that I knew about half of the existing Council and was voted in!

What volunteer positions have you held and/or do you hold?

I currently serve as the Events Committee Co-Chair and actively organize, plan, and execute events and local company tours to help meet our annual revenue goals!

How have you benefited from being a Chamber member either personally, professionally or from a company level?

I have benefited from being an Ambassador.  Every time that I am able to assist a fellow Chamber member on how to get the most out of their membership and provide advice on how to maximize exposure, I benefit from the satisfaction of being able to help and assist others.  Because after all, we are all here for one reason, and that is to expand our network and grow our business!  Additionally, I have come across a few good sales opportunities from fellow members that I am currently working on converting to new Infradapt clients.

How do you recommend others get involved to get the value out of their membership?

All Ambassadors recommend that other Chamber members actively attend Chamber events and get out to network!  It is like any other business relationship or relationship in general, it takes work!  Additionally, we recommend that members associate with one of the many Councils, and become more active within those Councils by regularly attending events and serving on a Council Committee.  Last but not least, attend a “Mastering Your Membership Orientation.”  This is a crash course on all of the ways to get the most value out of your Chamber Membership! 

What is your favorite aspect of the Chamber?

My favorite aspect of the Chamber is the close network and bond that the Chamber creates in business.  It is almost like a “fraternal brotherhood” for business.  Being the 7th largest Chamber of Commerce in the nation doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it happen without effort from the members.  Having each and every member regularly attend mixers, come out to lunch and learns,  attend company tours, and make appearances at all of the galas and summits is what makes the GLVCC so powerful.  The Lehigh Valley has already been put on the map.  Together, we can make the Lehigh Valley stay on the map and rise to the top 5!

What do you hope to gain from your continual involvement with the Chamber?

What I hope to gain from my continual involvement with the Chamber is to eventually say that I volunteer my time for the #1 largest Chamber of Commerce in the United States of America!  I also hope that Infradapt will one day become a well-known and trusted name in the Lehigh Valley for Outsourced IT and VoIP solutions. 

What do you wish new members knew about Chamber Membership?

I wish that new members could see the immense value and great business potential that this organization brings to the Lehigh Valley.  The GLVCC is like a glue that holds our local business community together and sanctions events to bring us all closer.  As your fellow Chamber Member and Ambassador of the GLVCC, I vow to show you the way, and provide you with the knowledge and tools to get the most out of your Membership!

How have you gotten the value out of your membership?  

I have gotten the value out of being an Ambassador.  Infradapt is a local technology company offering outsourced IT Solutions for SMBs here in the Lehigh Valley.  That being said, we are trying to increase brand awareness and let local businesses know that they have a friendly and knowledgeable IT Partner only a few miles away.