Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board.
Employers....Did You Know?
We have programs that can help your workforce...either current or future! If you have not used our services- you don't know what you are missing.
For all the programs available to your business please visit the link below- or better yet call me 610-841-1122 and we can discuss how we can help.
Posted by The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce at 4:38 PM
Dr. Kamran Afshar, Chamber Chief Economist, The Chamber's Finance Committee
Twenty-sixteen was a great year for people looking for work. Nationwide 2 million new payroll jobs were created during the first 11 months of the year, for a total of 15 million new jobs over the last 6 years. Lehigh Valley, however, was not that lucky. The total number of payroll jobs dropped by 3,000 in the Greater Lehigh Valley area, which also includes Carbon and Warren counties. This is despite the fact that layoffs are exceptionally low and the labor market is tight. To add to the puzzlement, all of this is happening when employers are telling us that they want to hire more people. There appears to be a large gap between the needs of the local employers and the skills and expertise of the remaining labor pool in the Valley.
Twenty-sixteen was also a great year if you were selling a property. The number of residential units sold in the Valley rose by a healthy 7% over last year’s level, while the average sales price of local residences gained a modest 2% over its previous year. However, considering that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate in 2016 averaged at 3.65%, housing affordability was still pretty reasonable.
The headline grabber for 2016, however, was the jump in stock prices. The DJIA rose by 13% in 2016. Most of the increase came after the election in November. Of course, it should be added that DJIA rose by 107%. It more than doubled between December 2008 and October 2016, just before the election. The average price of gasoline in 2016, despite its recent increase, was lower than 2015. On average, we paid $2.15 for a gallon of gas in 2016, well below the $2.42 that we paid in 2015, and significantly cheaper than its $3.36 average price in 2014. For the first three months of last year, price of gasoline averaged at $1.89, something that we will not see again anytime soon!
And of course, the major economic event of 2016 was Donald Trump’s election. As much as can be discerned from the president’s campaign promises, two major economic policies will be in the lead: a trillion-dollar infra-structure plan, and a sizable reduction in corporate taxes. Both policies, should they become law, would be beneficial to the corporations, particularly for those involved in the construction industry. The 1,500 points jump in the DJIA after the election clearly reflected those expectations. The infra-structure plan, however, will significantly increase the federal budget. The accompanying huge tax cuts will reduce revenues, thus a major spike in deficits is unavoidable, at least at the beginning. This is also reflected in the market as both the short and long term interest rates vaulted by significant amounts right after the election. This data indicates that the market anticipates most of these policies to take effect. Based on that, the market expects a period of higher growth as well as higher government expenditures and borrowing.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Laurie Hackett, Air Products, Chamber Main Street Foundation Chair
Ten years is a great reason to celebrate! We are proud that 2017 marks the tenth year that the Chamber Main Street Foundation has been making a difference and improving Main Streets throughout the Lehigh Valley. Since 2007, we have been able to support our townships, municipalities, cities and neighborhoods through grants and support for much-needed projects and programs. And because it has been a decade of work, the Foundation board is excited to make this year of grant-making the best one yet!
If you are interested in applying for support for improvements on your Main Street, let us know! Applications will be available beginning next month and we cannot wait to see the opportunities for the Chamber Main Street Foundation. Lorie Reinert (firstname.lastname@example.org) can give you all of the details – we look forward to celebrating 10 years with our Chamber communities across the region
Posted by The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce at 11:36 AM
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Scott Babashak, GFP Investment Services Inc., Bethlehem Chamber Chair
Please be aware that the date of our State of the City Address with Mayor Bob Donchez has been changed from February to March. The event’s new date is Thursday, March 9 - and as before – will be in the Musikfest Café at the ArtsQuest Center on the SteelStacks Campus. The breakfast will be served at 7:30am and the program will be over by 9:00am. In the last few years, this has become the Bethlehem Chamber’s highest attended event. It is not only informative and entertaining, but it is also a great networking opportunity.
In late January, we released a new Dining, Shopping and Nightlife video for Bethlehem. It has gotten a ton of views: reaching close to 50,000 people with over 250 shares on social media in just two weeks! We’ve been planning the year and have been working on everything from festivals to a new visitor’s website to informational events and …. yes, even Christmas 2017.
Three upcoming events:
Manufacturing Momentum in Bethlehem
This event will have a panel discussion about manufacturing in Bethlehem, including the “new” manufacturers of today. The event will be held in the Foundry Room of the Sands Casino Bethlehem Hotel on Thursday, April 12 at 4:00pm. Cocktails and appetizers will be served. Stay tuned for more details.
Bethlehem Chamber’s Annual Dinner
On Wednesday, May 3rd we will be holding our Bethlehem Chamber’s Annual Dinner. This event honors certain individuals and businesses/organizations and highlights a few of the Bethlehem Chamber’s initiatives from the past year. The Bethlehem Chamber staff’s favorite event, it will be held in the Musikfest Café at the ArtsQuest Center at 5-8 p.m.
The Second Annual Bethlehem Italian Festival
This festival will be held on Main St. and the Sun Inn Courtyard on Saturday, June 17. Food, music, a Meatball Contest, a Wine Trail and a Pasta Trail will all be featured. More details will be forthcoming.
For more information on any of these ventures, please contact Lynn Cunningham at email@example.com.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Barry Fisher, 2016-2017 Executive Committee Chair
The Chamber Board of Governors (BoG) nominating season is upon us, and there are numerous opportunities to serve for dedicated members in any business from any part of our Greater Lehigh Valley. Every one of our members is a potential board member, and each new board member brings a unique skill set and focus to The Chamber, giving us a wide set of talent and experiences from which to draw.
Many BoG members rise up through one of the 31 chambers, councils, and committees that make up your Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce or from the Chamber Foundation Board. The Chamber BoG consists of members selected for their prominent roles in businesses and communities, large and small, throughout the greater Lehigh Valley. Ultimately, you are limited only by your own desire and involvement, and The Chamber BoG would be honored to have your voice present, should you pursue this course.
The Nominating Committee is now accepting member referral nominations and self-nominations for consideration from those who feel they would be an asset to the Chamber Board. We urge you to get involved, serve your community, and make positive changes for the future of our Valley.
Nominations are open to active and supportive members in any business classification. Nominees are selected based on their broad involvement with Chamber, business, and civic activities in the Valley. The Nominating Committee will consider the composition of the current BoG in making nominations. They will work to ensure the BoG represents individual, business, civic and geographic diversity of the Greater Lehigh Valley.
So raise your hand. Step up. And help us make a difference at the 21st Century Chamber!
All nominations must be submitted by Friday, March 17th to Lorie Reinert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A complete listing of The Chamber’s officers and board members can be found at lehighvalleychamber.org/board.
Posted by The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce at 1:58 PM
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board
ATTENTION: Lehigh Valley Transportation, Warehousing and Logistics Industry Partnership
Please attend the next Lehigh Valley Transportation, Warehousing and Logistics Industry Partnership meeting on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 1:30pm-3:00pm, at the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board/PA CareerLink® Lehigh Valley, 555 Union Boulevard, Allentown, PA 18109.
As announced previously, the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board (LVWDB) received a Lehigh Valley Transportation, Warehousing and Logistics Industry Partnership grant for $200,000 from the PA Department of Labor and Industry, which provides access to valuable incumbent worker training resources for training occurring between October 16, 2016 and June 30, 2017.
If you have training needs occurring between October 16, 2016 and June 30, 2017, please submit your training request forms including application and trainee roster, CWDS signature form, company match, and training template which can be found at www.lvwib.org under Industry Partnerships. Forms and additional information can be found at www.lvwib.org under Industry Partnerships. Training to be aligned with the attached Training Plan, as well as the High Priority Occupations list found at www.lvwib.org; training must result in credentials/ certificates; training to occur between October 16, 2016 through June 30, 2017; and, reimbursement considered for 50% of training cost.
Please call Gina Kormanik, Business Relations Director 610-841-1006 or email email@example.com to answer any questions and/or discuss your workforce needs.
We look forward to seeing you on February 15!
Posted by The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce at 1:38 PM
Elizabeth Martell, Whitehall Chamber Chair
Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce is so excited to be bringing on five new board members, Lorraine E. Faccenda, LaFarge-North America; Tim Jones, Mutual of Omaha; Jim McConnell, Sams Club; Korbin Rice, Keller Williams Allentown and Daniel Mensch, Geico Insurance.
We had a successful event with the Northampton Chamber at the Blue Monkey. Thank you to Blue Monkey and Keller Williams Allentown for your sponsorship! .
We hope to see you on March 9th at Bravo for our breakfast networking event with an amazing speaker. Thank you to Mary and the entire team at Bravo for hosting our event. Also upcoming is Restaurant Week in April. Thank you to our sponsors thus far: Advertising Sponsors iHeartRadio and Adams Outdoor Advertising, Silver Sponsor Sam’s Club, and Presenting Sponsor WFMZ.
Things are moving and shaking here at WACC and we hope you find some time to get involved. We will be opening up nominations again in May for additional board members for the 2017/2018 term. Also, contact Jessica or Greg if you would like to know more about how to get involved in our many exciting committees! If you are interested, please email your resume to Jessica firstname.lastname@example.org & Greg email@example.com
I also want to take the time to thank everyone at GLVCC and all the WACC board of directors and members who have been so supportive. This will be my last article as sitting president as I will be turning the reigns over to Larry Kacyon, owner of L-A Advertising.
Wishing you all many years of great networking and many great connections. To quote one of my mentors over the years as a GLVCC Ambassador, Bob Friedman, “You don’t win because you collected the most business cards. You create connections through net-weaving and building trust through lasting relationship!”
It has been my honor to be of service to the Whitehall Area, to have the opportunity to be part of the planning and implementation of our partnership with GLVCC, and to have the distinct pleasure of working with Jessica O’Donnell and Greg “Y”!
Friday, February 10, 2017
Charles R. Everett Jr., Executive Director of Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority, African American Business Leaders Council Chair
One of the program areas for the African American Business Leaders Council (AABLC) is Networking, Collaboration and Partnerships. Networking for business is an activity by which business people and entrepreneurs meet to form relationships and to recognize, create and act on business opportunities, share information and seek potential partners for ventures. Collaboration is the process of two or more people or organizations working together to successfully realize or achieve something. Partnerships are arrangements where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests. The AABLC believes that through these activities, the vision of diversity in business can be achieved. The other program areas are advocacy and recognition, capital resources, education and entrepreneurship.
On February 2nd at the Hotel Bethlehem, the AABLC kicked off their Mixer Series. The purpose of the Mixer Series is to bring people together to network, collaborate and seek partnerships to further their mutual business interests in the Valley. The featured guest speaker was Tanya Wright, actress in the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black and entrepreneur owner of HAIRiette products.
The Mixer Series will continue on March 2nd at the Sugar Hill Jazz House in Allentown from 5pm-7pm. On April 6th, the Mixer Series event will be held at the Edge in Bethlehem at 5pm. In May, the Mixer Series event will be held at Queen City BBQ. More information to follow.
To stay abreast of all AABLC activities and events visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GLVAfricanAmericanBusinessLeadersCouncil/.
Posted by The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce at 10:59 AM
Tom Rieger, Hellertown Borough Councilman, Hellertown Lower Saucon Chamber Chair
Spring is right around the corner, and Hellertown & Lower Saucon have it all!
Our mixer with the Young Professionals Council on Wednesday, February 15th at Lost Tavern Brewing was a big hit with a packed house of both community and business leaders from across the Lehigh Valley! This was an exciting event featuring one of Hellertown's newest businesses partnering with the Chamber’s Young Professional Council. Events such as this particular one allow us as a community to showcase what we have to offer. I would like to personally thank our local sponsors for participating in this event. Many thanks to The Holiday Inn and Suites, Falk Funeral Homes & Crematory, the Hellertown Bakery and PBS 39. Also, thank you to our great local food sponsors Limon Authentic Turkish Kebap House & DiMaio’s Family Ristorante and Pizzeria for providing delicious appetizers. As you can see, our businesses really are the life blood of this community - without them, our community would not be as strong as it is.
Calling all Hellertown & Lower Saucon Business owners! Our next Small Business Roundtable is on Monday, March 13th at Braveheart Highland Pub. Please take note that this is a evening roundtable, starting at 5:30 pm. We will begin to rotate this important networking roundtable between mornings and evenings to accommodate the many different business owners in our community. With that being said, the Hellertown Lower Saucon Chamber would like to congratulate Andy Lee and everyone at Braveheart for decade of service in the Hellertown Community! We wish you many more years of success and appreciate your continuous support!
Please ‘Like’ and follow us on Facebook, as many new exciting programs and partnerships are on the docket for the late spring and summer! Remember, this is your Chamber and if you need us please reach out. We are your voice and support.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Randall S Kimble, President LGBT Business Council
We are a few days away from the inaugural LGBT Business Summit on Tuesday, March 7th at Muhlenberg College. We have awesome sponsors lined up and keynote speaker, Lea Delaria, actress, comedian, and Orange is the New Black’s, Big Boo.
Tony Ianelli, President/CEO of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, will set the stage for a great day.
The workshops lead by local business professionals, are Inclusion in the Work Place, The Power of the LGBT Dollar, Being an “Out Professional” and LGBT Entrepreneurship.
The LGBT Business Summit is ideally situated for you to come away with new skills to use during these turbulent times for members and allies of the LGBT community.
I have heard over and over again “Get over it Randy and give it time!” Bigotry presented itself during the campaign and now we have civil rights issues and concerns with President Trump, VP Pence, Mr. Bannon, the Supreme Court nominee (Judge Gorsuch), and the cabinet. This is not about partisan politics, but it is about respect, diversity, inclusion, civil rights, qualifications and equality for everyone.
Three times since the election, bigotry has surfaced and impacted me and my husband, all from customers in a local store and two restaurants.
Really? Apparently, some people have received the message that it is now okay to be bigoted and hateful. This is not the America that I know. We must go forward together, not one step back!
Join us to discover new knowledge and skills to move us all forward with respect, diversity, inclusion, civil rights and equality for everyone.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Josh Dodd, Univest Bank and Trust Co., Southern Lehigh Chamber President
Spring weather will be coming soon to Southern Lehigh! The Saucon Rail Trail and our parks will welcome increased usage by our residents. Tilly’s Nursery will soon be in bloom and, literally, selling tons of mulch to help people maintain their properties. Spring also brings great weather for starting construction.
There are many projects planned for 2017. They include new housing developments, commercial buildings, expansion of our college campuses and, as always, road construction. To learn more about what is happen in Southern Lehigh, we invite you to attend our annual Municipal Update on March 22nd at Penn State Lehigh Valley. Doors will open at 7:30 AM with a breakfast programs which includes:
Tim Paashaus, Coopersburg Borough Manager
Donna Wright, Chair of the Lower Milford Township Supervisors
Joseph Geib, Special Project Manager, Upper Saucon Township
Registration information is included in this issue of Connections. At the breakfast, we will announce the recipients of our 2017 Shining Star Award for an outstanding business and our Volunteer of the Year Award.
A New Director of Data Science & Analytics is in Town
Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board.
The Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board hired John Lamirand to help us understand the vast amounts of data available, to assist in making smart data-driven decisions, and designing workforce products we can all use.
His primary responsibility will be to utilize data science and analytic techniques to communicate Lehigh Valley’s workforce data story for employers and stakeholders who can use these insights to develop strategies and policies. His goal is to make data meaningful and analytics more relevant and interesting to the Lehigh Valley community.
Seven ways our Data Scientist will assist Lehigh Valley employers:
2. Design data-driven labor market resources
3. Monitor current labor market conditions and assess future labor market projections
4. Conduct economic impact studies
5. Analyze, interpret, and market local labor market data
6. Conduct research on labor market conditions, hiring requirements, and talent availability
7. Explore labor market forecasting and predictive modeling methodologies…and much more.
John Lamirand previous worked at Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. Prior to his time in the Lehigh Valley, Lamirand spent 10 years as an operational analyst and project manager with the defense contractor Northrop Grumman/TASC in Washington, D.C., where he worked on new market campaigns, competitive intelligence analysis, capabilities analysis, and open source data. John Lamirand previous worked at Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp
Lamirand also served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a logistics officer. He has a Master of Science degree in Management Information Systems Technology from George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Oklahoma.
What Data Do You Need? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how our data can help you!
Monday, February 6, 2017
Stephanie Yachim, Corporate Recruiter and Human Resources, Crayola
The Young Professionals Council has been hard at work delivering some great events that have helped us push forward into the New Year. We continue this trend as we prepare for our 3rd Annual "Lead to Succeed" event on Thursday, March 23rd at the Civic Theater 514 in Allentown. This event has been a huge success for us each year. We will present yet another impressive panel of area leaders who will offer up their words of wisdom and advice to our young professionals. We strive to make the panel diverse, so no matter what industry or field you are in, we promise that you will take away some key knowledge from their experiences. Be sure to come with questions for our panelists – there will be Q&A from the audience.
Ready to be a homeowner? Stay tuned for details about our April 6th "Home Buying 101" event at the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem. If you are thinking about taking that step to buy your first home or are in the midst of your search, this is an event you do not want to miss!
Springtime will be here before you know it (we hope), and so will our 1st Annual Kentucky Derby Benefit! We cannot wait to party with you all while raising a generous donation for the Children’s Home of Easton. See you in your big hats and bow ties on May 6th at Iron Lakes Country Club! Get your tickets now at the early bird price before it is too late!
Look for our YPC Benefit Cards for sale at every event ($5). The card comes with many great discounts on local businesses and enters you in a raffle for a pair of Kentucky Derby Benefit tickets. Next chance to purchase: the March 15th Meet & Greet at Tocci’s Tailgaters in Bethlehem.
Friday, February 3, 2017
Ron Eichenberg, Associate Broker, Managing Director, Commercial Sales & Development, HANNA Frederick Commercial
There is growing concern that both chambers of the General Assembly (particularly the Senate) have indicated that school property tax elimination will be a priority issue in the new session. The Governor has also indicated his interest in school property tax reform.
Richard Sniscak, Superintendent of Parkland Schools and fellow WLLC Board member, is highly regarded locally and on a state wide basis shares his thoughts.
What are the concerns with this tax shift plan?
The plan is being touted as a victory for homeowners and a better way of funding public education, but the truth is that it is not a panacea for taxpayers or school districts. Instead, the elimination of the property tax merely serves to create additional, higher tax burdens for other taxpayers and destabilize funding for public education.
Tell your senator to oppose a tax elimination plan because:
School funding inequities will be exacerbated. The plan will undo the work recently completed to enact a new basic education funding formula and provide a fair financial investment for school districts. Instead, districts will be placed in a system that lacks financial equity and predictability. The property tax provides a stable foundation for local communities to use as needed to support their schools. School boards need to be able to use a mix of local taxes and the development of available funding bases that are suitable to each school district’s unique economic capabilities and conditions.
It does not address the factors driving school costs. Eliminating property taxes without addressing the factors driving districts’ budgets does not help contain the cost of mandates such as: pension, regular and special education costs paid to charter schools, special education, health care and other areas. The provisions in the bill to send tax dollars back to districts do not take into consideration these mandated costs and is largely why this plan never will fully replace projected property tax revenue amounts needed by school districts.
It eliminates local control; creates a state takeover of public schools. School boards are accountable for spending decisions and student performance. By abolishing local ability to raise revenue or make financial decisions, the state will be responsible for the financial health of all 500 school districts. Who will be accountable to students, parents, teachers and communities for the performance and safety of our schools?
Tax burdens are shifted disproportionately. The use of income taxes shifts the local tax burden away from large businesses to individual taxpayers, allowing some businesses to benefit from the elimination of their school property taxes without paying a penny more. Out-of-state vacation homeowners who live in our communities do not pay personal income tax and now will not pay property tax either. Expanded sales taxes more heavily impact middle-class and low-income families. Tax agreements made with large businesses will also be worthless to districts under this plan. The burden is inequitably shifted to make up for the loss of revenue.