The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. is known for its work to attract new businesses to the area, but 70 percent of the region’s job growth in the region is from existing companies, said the organization’s president and CEO, Don Cunningham.
And so the LVEDC has promoted its director of talent supply, Karianne Gelinas, to vice president of strategic initiatives and research. She will oversee a new work group focused on the increased need for talent and other issues facing companies in the Lehigh Valley.
“It’s imperative that we understand the challenges our companies face and work with our partners to develop strategies to keep them here and growing,” Cunningham said.
That means looking not just at the number of potential employees needed by existing Lehigh Valley companies, but the talent supply and the types of skills needed.
Cunningham called it an outgrowth of the work the LVEDC has already been doing as it switches more of its efforts to “our own backyard.”
The new group also has responsibility for running LVEDC’s Business Outreach Program, which is working in conjunction with Pennsylvania’s state-wide Engage! business calling program.
In addition, the work group will house LVEDC’s community outreach, brownfield redevelopment, and research and analysis efforts. It also will lead the organization’s entrepreneurial and local sourcing and supplier diversity councils.
“We’ve been in a period of tremendous growth both in companies coming into the Lehigh Valley and growth of companies that are already here,” Cunningham said. “We need to be asking businesses what challenges they’re facing even if they’re already here.