Category Archives: News

Lehigh Valley Education and Talent Supply Study

With a strengthening economy and low unemployment comes a potential labor crisis.

Companies in Lehigh and Northampton counties are hiring and plan to continue hiring over the next year, but if the problem of finding the skilled workers necessary to fill these positions persists and nobody takes action to address the issue, the region could see a deficit of nearly 10,000 workers over the next decade.

Over the next decade, the number of baby boomers leaving the workforce is 90,665, while the number of incoming workers is 80,673.

That’s according to the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp., which Thursday afternoon released the final report of a yearlong regional study that polled more than 300 companies in Lehigh and Northampton counties on questions related to skill needs, hiring plans, workforce challenges and other factors.

With Lehigh Valley-specific data in hand, economic development and workforce officials say they are poised to capture a greater understanding of how to find the right people for the right job.

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“This data is the first time we’ve had Lehigh Valley specific data,” said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of LVEDC. “It’s really saying the Lehigh Valley is in the category of most of the strong growth regions in the country. Demand for skills is increasing.”

At an event that attracted about 200 people to the Blue Grillhouse event center in Bethlehem Township, officials involved in the Education & Talent Supply Study disclosed the findings from the data they gathered over the year. State grants funded the majority of the study.

The Education & Talent Supply Council formed in 2015 to meet, discuss and work on these labor issues and had participation from local schools and colleges, said Mark Erickson, president of Northampton Community College and chairman of the council.

FIVE TARGETED SECTORS

In 2017, LVEDC and the Workforce Board Lehigh Valley hired MDB Insight, a Toronto consulting firm, to conduct the study that included interviews, focus groups and surveys with businesses from five targeted industry sectors and other stakeholders.

That same year, LVEDC hired Karianne Gelinas for a newly created position, director of talent supply. Gelinas helped to gather the data and worked closely with the council.

The targeted sectors are manufacturing; high-value business services; life sciences; transportation, warehousing, logistics and wholesale; and health care. The data are only from companies in these fields, and the council chose these sectors because they said they demonstrated the greatest employment needs.

“They already employ a large sector of our workforce and they are poised for growth,” Gelinas said.

Having strategies to help these growing employers is critical to the region’s economic health, Gelinas said.

COMMUTING IN AND OUT

The study also used Census Bureau data, which showed there are more Valley residents commuting outside the region to work than there are out-of-area commuters coming into the Valley to work.

Data revealed 91,230 people work in the Valley but live elsewhere, while 186,170 people live and work in the Valley. Furthermore, the data showed 99,138 people live in the Valley and work elsewhere.

“That number used to be way out of balance,” Cunningham said, saying many more residents commuted out of the Valley to work elsewhere. The council would like to broadly identify those 99,138 people leaving the Valley each day to work, their skills and where they are going, he added.

QUALITY WORKERS ARE PARAMOUNT

LVEDC, an organization focused on attracting new companies to the Valley and retaining existing ones, is finding that businesses are increasingly more concerned with the quality of the available workforce than they are location, according to Cunningham.

“The availability of skilled labor and gaps between existing workforce and skills that today’s employers need are critical economic challenges,” he said. “This is not just a Lehigh Valley issue.

“It’s a common concern in growing communities across the United States during a period of rapid technological change and historically low unemployment levels.”

NINE IN 10 TO HIRE

A majority of surveyed employers said they have had difficulties hiring. The study showed 71 percent said their company has experienced challenges in recruiting, hiring or retaining workers over the past year.

The study also showed 91 percent of employers said they have hired workers within the past year, and 89 percent said they plan to hire within the next 12 months.

“The constant that we see across all our clients is, the skills gap affects everyone,” said Susan Larkin, vice president of Allied Personnel Services, a staffing agency in Allentown and presenting event sponsor. “The need for this study is clear.”

Larkin said she has not seen a labor market like this one. Her firm has experienced many different labor markets over the years and is one of the Valley’s largest employers.

36 RECOMMENDATIONS

Now with the survey complete and the data released, the council will examine 36 recommendations that MDB Insight identified, including nine that LVEDC views as the highest priority for taking immediate action.

These include conducting more tours of local businesses for the community and school officials, developing a more targeted mentorship program and finding out where residents go who leave the region for educational opportunities elsewhere. The full study and recommendations are available at LVEDC’s website.

“We are trying to look forward and put some framework in place,” Cunningham said. “We have to understand it to be smart.”

Source:  Lehigh Valley Business

What’s Up, Doc?

Did you know that today marks the birthday of Bugs Bunny?  There’s a lot to learn from this rabbit…

 

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1) Be curious.  His “What’s Up Doc” catchphrase teaches us to be inquisitive of others.
2) Be fearless.  Bugs was brave, he was never shy, and he was quick to match wits with anyone giving him a hard time.
3) Be a creative problem solver.  There was never a pickle Bugs couldn’t find his way out of.
4) Be prepared.  Bugs always knew what his pursuer (usually Elmer) was plotting and planned and prepared to remain two steps ahead of him.

Feeling nostalgic for Bugs and his buddies (Elmer, Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Daffy…)? There is no better rabbit hole on YouTube to fall into than Bugs’.

 

Job Fair at B Braun Medical, Allentown

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Come and learn about these great long-term job opportunities for experienced forklift operators. Can’t make it to the job fair? Stop by our office at 752 Union Boulevard in Allentown, call us at 610.821.0220, or apply online. Don’t miss this chance to get your foot in the door at one of the Lehigh Valley’s top companies!

Allied Named Best Employment Agency

Allied Personnel Services has again been named Best Employment Agency in the 2017 Morning Call Reader’s Choice awards.

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This is the 11th Reader’s Choice win for Allied.  Thank you to all of our employees and customers!

Looking for employment?  Check out our available positions and apply today.

Looking for employees?  Contact us to learn about our staffing solutions.

10th Readers’ Choice Win For Allied Personnel Services

Allied Personnel Services has been named Best Employment Agency in the 2016 Morning Call Readers’ Choice awards.  This marks the 10th win for Allied, confirming our status as the leading staffing company in the Lehigh Valley.

Thank you to all of our clients and employees that voted for us.  We are proud of our service to the Lehigh Valley over the last 32 years and look forward to our continued commitment to our community.

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Avoiding Negative Thoughts

DbeRd“Garbage in, garbage out” became a common computing term after it appeared in a syndicated newspaper article in April 1963. It’s a pithy way to describe a truth about programming: What you put in a programdetermines what it will spit out. The same thing applies to our mind. The well-known speaker Zig Ziglar said that when it comes to what we put in our minds, it’s actually “garbage in, garbage stays in.” How true.

Whether it’s a colleague complaining, a hostile driver who honks his horn at us or a news report about a horrible act, negative events affect us. So do negative thoughts. Both have an impact on our mental well-being.

We can’t keep all the “garbage” away – that would give us a false sense of reality and could even be dangerous. Nor can we expect to never have negative thoughts, as many of them just pop up unexpectedly. But there are things we can do to counteract and reduce the garbage that can hurt our happiness. Here are three tactics I use that have been a grand blessing. I’m sure (unless you are using them already) they will help make a positive difference in your life too:

Cut back on the “news” you watch and read

You will probably never have your picture posted on several news sites or have your name called out as a leading news story across the country. Do you know why? It’s because you’re like most people – a decent person who isn’t going to commit a sensational crime. You wouldn’t think that was the case if you watch the nightly news or review a major news site. Most of the people featured have done (or are accused of doing) something nasty.

Of course, not all news sources are negative. Some are even helpful. But in general, as Rolf Dobelli writes in “The Art of Thinking Clearly” (a book I highly recommend), “News is to the mind what sugar is to the body: appetizing, easy to digest – and highly destructive to the mind.”

Look for the positive in other people and situations

For safety and health professionals, this suggestion can be tough to follow at times because part of our job is to suggest ways people can improve their behavior and notice what’s wrong. Still, that doesn’t prevent us from focusing on the positive things about what goes on around us. When your mind is focusing on the positive, there is less room for negative or depressing thoughts.

For example, I often go through airport security checkpoints. When I noticed I was getting more disturbedabout it, I started changing what I noticed and focused on the positive things about the experience, such as the variety of faces and colorful clothes. Of course, I would rather not go through a security checkpoint, but I don’t mind it anymore. In fact, during my last trip, I had a good laugh with the TSA agents about some of my unusual speaking props!

Practice being grateful

One book that helped me be more grateful, “The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse” by Gregg Easterbrook, is not a “happy” book. But it was an eye-opener, especially the parts that describe how much we have to be thankful for today. We’re blessed beyond measure. And now that I make it a point to regularly remind myself of the things I have to be grateful for (such as the privilege to share my ideas with you!), the garbage has a harder time getting in.

Source: Safety+Health Magazine

“Behind The List” with Allied Personnel Services

Source: Lehigh Valley Business

The job market in the Greater Lehigh Valley has steadily grown since the Great Recession of 2008.

More employers are hiring, and the unemployment rate has been dropping, which are building a stronger local economy.

There are agencies throughout the region designed to help employers find staff and to help jobseekers find positions in the workforce relevant to their experience and needs.

Here to answer this week’s “Behind the List” questions is Susan Larkin, vice president of Allied Personnel Services Inc. in Allentown.

Lehigh Valley Business: How long has Allied Personnel Services Inc. been operating in the Greater Lehigh Valley and what are its primary services?

Susan Larkin: Allied opened in 1984. Our client companies look to us for innovative workforce solutions to allow them to achieve their business objectives, and employees look to us for career opportunities, flexible work schedules or the chance to gain new skills.

We have three staffing divisions — office and professional, technical and light industrial. This business diversity and our partnerships with the top Lehigh Valley companies position our employees for success and are key factors in Allied’s long-term growth and achievement.

LVB: What have been some of the biggest challenges and opportunities that you’ve encountered throughout your years in business?

Larkin: Over the past 30 years, we have witnessed the evolution of the Lehigh Valley’s workforce from a blue-collar, industrial driven economy to a more diverse marketplace, where entry-level workers may work beside skilled tradespeople as well as degreed professionals.

As the face of the workforce changed, it became a challenge to convince all of these groups that staffing companies represented a viable and strong resource for their careers. Additionally, companies viewed contingent workers simply as a commodity.

By sharing our expertise, we have been able to show job-seekers the value a staffing firm can bring to their career, and teach companies that temporary employees are a critical asset and can be an integral part of their business strategy.

Most recently, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been a big challenge but also a tremendous opportunity. With the mandate for large employers to offer affordable health insurance that meets minimum value, it was a challenge to build a complete benefits package for all of our full-time temporary employees.

By making the welfare of our temporary employees a top priority, we were able to create a comprehensive and competitive plan. Offering fully-compliant benefits has created opportunities as well, allowing us to create unique staffing programs for our clients and to contribute to their business goals.

LVB: Have you seen steady growth in job placements since the economy starting bouncing back?

Larkin: The staffing industry is unique because our business is a leading indicator for the state of the overall economy. We generally feel the impact of a recession earlier than other industries, but we also see recovery sooner.

This most recent recession differed from previous ones because companies cut staff more drastically than typical and also were slower to respond as there was much uncertainty about the recovery.

Now that confidence in the economy has been restored, the demand for talent is huge. We are seeing growth across all sectors and have increased our internal staff in order to effectively meet the growing demands for our services.

We expect the labor market to continue to tighten as the unemployment rate drops and job seekers receive multiple offers.

LVB: How does Allied Personnel Services Inc. directly stimulate the local economy?

Larkin: As one of the 50 largest employers in the Lehigh Valley, Allied provides employment opportunities for thousands of people each year.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the staffing business is seeing our employees succeed and move into career roles with our clients.

We are experts in the local labor market, and the long-term partnerships we have with our client companies help them achieve business success and contribute to the overall economy.

LVB: What does the future look like for Allied Personnel Services Inc. on a local level?

Larkin: The future of employment will continue to evolve as both employees and companies seek increased flexibility and innovation in the contingent work arena. As we have done in the past, Allied will adapt to meet those demands, adding programs and services that enhance the employment experience for all of our customers.

Strong community involvement is a long-standing, core value of Allied, and we will continue this commitment through leadership roles and corporate support for organizations such as Communities in Schools, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Valley Youth House, Third Street Alliance for Women and Children, Humble Hearts for Hope, Musikfest, Lilly’s Hope, March of Dimes, Boys & Girls Club of Allentown and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Our passionate staff is committed to maintaining our position as the leading staffing resource in the Lehigh Valley, and we are looking forward to an even brighter future.

Allied Personnel Services Wins Best Employment Agency Award

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The 2015 Morning Call Reader’s Choice Award winners were recently revealed and for the 9th time Allied has won for Best Employment Agency.

We take special pride in this award because it comes from the votes of our clients and our dedicated field employees. We will continue to work hard to provide exceptional service to our clients and to provide our employees with the best employment opportunities.

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