Category Archives: Community

INFORMATION FOR PENNSYLVANIA EMPLOYEES IMPACTED BY COVID-19

If you are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work because of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), you may be eligible for Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation benefits. The Department of Labor & Industry will continue to provide important employment benefit updates as the situation evolves.

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UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION (UC) BENEFITS

You may be eligible if:

  • Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19
  • Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
  • You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19
  • You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts

Apply:

  • Online – it’s the fastest and easiest way to get started

Important info:

  • If you are eligible for UC, you will receive two letters and a four-digit PIN
  • Your PIN will arrive in the U.S. mail – keep it in a safe, easy to remember place
  • If approved, your first benefit payment should arrive within four weeks of filing for UC
  • Continue filing your bi-weekly claim (every two weeks) – even while waiting for approval
  • We are experiencing very large call volumes.  Please email us at uchelp@pa.gov, or via UC LiveChat.
  • (NEW) The Waiting Week is suspended.  Previously, claimants were not eligible for benefits during their first week of unemployment (the “waiting week.”) This has been suspended; eligible claimants may receive benefits for the first week that they are unemployed
  • (NEW) Work Search and Work Registration requirements are temporarily waived for all UC claimants.  Claimants are not required to prove they have applied or searched for a new job to maintain their UC benefits.  Claimants are also not required to register with www.PACareerLink.gov.
  • At this time, benefits are not being extended beyond 26 weeks.

Find more information at the PA UC website.

COVID-19 RESOURCES FOR THE LEHIGH VALLEY

coronavirusIf you do not have a regular health care provider, or if your provider is unavailable:

COVID-19 Patient Facing Hotline @ 1-888-402-5846, option 3.

The Lehigh Valley Health Network can perform testing for COVID-19, but other causes for respiratory tract infections must be investigated in addition to COVID-19.  Several sites are currently available for testing, if further evaluation is needed.

Local Health Bureaus should be called if there is reported contact with COVID-19.

Allentown Health Bureau:  610-437-7760

Bethlehem Health Bureau:  610-865-7083

The Pennsylvania Department of Health:  1-877-724-3258

 

INFORMATION REGARDING THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

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The health and well-being of our employees, clients, and our community are important to us. While many questions regarding the novel coronavirus remain unanswered at this time, there are practical, common-sense ways for you to take care of yourself, protect others, and monitor the latest developments.
Based on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Allied recommends that employees:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Stay home when they are sick
  • Cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Not wear a face mask unless they show symptoms of respiratory illness, including COVID-19
  • Wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing (if soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol)
  • Follow guidelines in CDC’s Travel Information – Travelers Returning from High Risk Countries.
To learn more about the novel coronavirus and keep up with the latest developments, see the About Coronavirus Disease 2019 and CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions and Answers webpages. For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website.

Winter Weather Warnings

 

Do you know the difference between a watch and a warning?  Is a storm warning the same as a blizzard warning?  Winter is upon us in the Lehigh Valley, so it’s important to understand the terms used to forecast the weather.

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Familiarize yourself with the following weather alerts so you know what actions you may need to take:

  • Winter storm watch: Be alert, a storm is likely
  • Winter weather advisory: Experts expect conditions to cause significant hazards, especially to motorists
  • Frost/freeze warning: Experts expect below-freezing temperatures and damage to plants, crops or fruit trees
  • Winter storm warning: Take action, a storm is entering—or is already in—the area
  • Blizzard warning: The combination of snow and strong winds will produce blinding snow, near-zero visibility, deep drifts and life-threatening wind chill—seek refuge immediately

With the Farmer’s Almanac predicting a “Polar Coaster” this winter for the Northeast, it’s going to be important to understand the differences and be prepared.  Some other resources to help you get through the winter:

Ten Things Everyone Needs to Know About Winter Weather Forecasts

Lehigh Valley Weather

Things To Do In Lehigh Valley In The Winter

Lehigh Valley’s Best Employment Agency

For the 13th time, Allied Personnel Services has been named the Lehigh Valley’s Best Employment Agency in The Morning Call’s Reader’s Choice awards!

2019 marks Allied’s 35th year serving the Lehigh Valley, and we are humbled by another Reader’s Choice win.  The commitment and hard work of our staff and temporary employees continues to set Allied apart as the top staffing service in the Lehigh Valley.

Thank you to everyone that voted for us!

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Nonprofits as First Steps

From The Wall Street Journal

By DENNIS NISHI

imagesWhile her friends interned at big investment-banking firms, Molly Heitzman chose a summer job in 2009 with Fundación Paraguaya, a microfinance company in Asuncion, Paraguay. She believed that giving the poor access to basic banking services was an effective way to fight poverty, and she’d also gain some global work experience.

The nonprofit was experiencing an abnormally high 13% loan default rate so Ms. Heitzman went out to investigate the problem. She discovered that many small businesses had defaulted because of poor to nonexistent accounting practices.

“I proposed a program that would school borrowers in the business basics of marketing, accounting and saving money,” she says, uncertain as to whether the organization used her ideas.

Ms. Heitzman’s efforts actually made a stronger impression on Deloitte Consulting in Minneapolis, which hired her for a full-time job as a business analyst a year later in 2010.

Although career experts say college graduates will continue to face a tough job market in the new year, volunteering for nonprofit work like the Peace Corps can fill an experience gap and provide a competitive advantage. That’s especially the case since nonprofit work can be like an accelerated management course. Volunteers are often pressed into management and administrative roles they might otherwise not attain for years at for-profit companies.

First, find a nonprofit organization that you’re interested in working with since commitment to the job and the cause is important, says Mark Lonergan, founder of the Redwood City, Calif.-based recruiting firm Lonergan Partners.

“Any way you can show that you genuinely applied yourself in a very important way can count as a very important component of any résumé,” he says. “Employers want to know that you were serious about the work.”

Seek out roles that offer transferable experience. Managing volunteers, for example, to build an irrigation system in Honduras is relatable to many different for-profit job duties. Working as a museum docent may be harder to sell.

Be prepared to aggressively promote and even defend your nonprofit experience during interviews. There is still a stigma associated with nonprofit work at some companies, career experts say.

Turn your more esoteric experiences into a narrative that illustrates how you overcame obstacles and achieved goals. People respond well to stories. Highlight the intangibles that employers are always looking for during interviews.

Emphasize your flexibility, communication skills and ability to deal with ambiguity, says Patricia Tourigny, vice president of talent acquisition for Avon, Conn.-based Magellan Health Services. “We don’t see a lot of entry-level résumés with that kind of experience, but when we do, we take notice. And we’re always looking for it.”

The pay for volunteer work may be negligible but full-time volunteers can defer or even have federal student loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program from 2007. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t help with private student loans.

 

Interested in exploring non-profit careers?  Allied works with a wide range of not-for-profit organizations in the Lehigh Valley.  Check out our job openings and apply today!

The Top 4 Ways to Avoid Cold and Flu This Season

By Occupational Athletics, Inc. OAI

The Top 4 Ways to Avoid Cold and Flu This SeasonfluCold and Flu Season is officially here, and, unfortunately, cold and flu viruses are extremely contagious. BUT, if you are careful and consistent with your preventative care, you definitely have a good shot at avoiding these illnesses.

Here are the top 4 tips to avoiding the cold & flu…
  1.  Wash Your Hands and Use Hand Sanitizer — a lot. No matter what line of work you’re in, if you come in contact with people who are contagious, or even objects they may have touched, you have to wash your hands over and over throughout the day. ESPECIALLY if you know you were near someone who is sick. To completely get rid of viruses from your skin, you need to scrub hard for 20 seconds or more. A good way to time yourself is to sing “Happy Birthday” twice while scrubbing the backs of your hands, your palms, between your fingers, and under your nails.When you are not near a sink, rub an alcohol-based hand sanitizer onto your hands.
  2. Don’t Touch Your Face. Cold and flu viruses enter your body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. Touching your face is a major way children AND adults catch colds. Many people have a habit of touching their hands to their face throughout the day – resting your hand on your chin, rubbing your eyes, or even biting your nails– be very conscious where your hands are and if you have washed them.
  3. Sanitize your environment. If you’re in an environment where germs could be lurking, which you most likely are, sanitize things that may have been touched already- doorknobs, light switches, faucets, refrigerator handles, keyboards, etc. Some people may think it is hyper-vigilant, but if you really don’t want to catch it – better safe than sorry!
  4. Keep Up A Healthy Lifestyle To Boost Your Immune System. Get adequate rest, exercise on a regular basis, eat foods that give you energy and make you feel well – especially vegetables and fruits. Watch your alcohol consumption. Heavy alcohol use suppresses the immune system in a variety of ways and dehydrates the body.

Cold & flu season creating staffing challenges for your business? Let Allied help!  Contact us today.

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’.