For the Lehigh Valley to remain competitive in the global economy, we must connect workforce development to the demands of business and industry. The direction we are taking is through industry clusters.
An industry cluster is a group of industries that are closely linked by common product markets, labor pools, similar technologies, supplier chains, and/or other economic ties. By working with businesses within the industry clusters, we can combine training needs for multiple firms with similar skill needs and help drive a market-based approach to workforce development.
We are working to align education and training institutions with employer and employee needs. Education, workforce, and economic development must be interconnected to ensure that workers have the skills businesses need to be competitive and have the ability to obtain education to compete for higher wage jobs and career advancement.
The Lehigh Valley is targeting for growth the following five broad categories of industry clusters:
Healthcare and Life Sciences; Diversified Manufacturing and Services; Business, Financial, and Professional Services; and Energy Manufacturing and Services.
These clusters were targeted because we believe that they will:
• Provide above-average wages and be less reliant upon low-wage labor.
• Incorporate a high-technology, knowledge, skill-set component.
• Have synergy with existing Lehigh Valley workforce, infrastructure, educational and other institutions.
• Leverage existing Lehigh Valley assets to minimize land, energy and other resources.
• Expand upon established competitive positioning in the U.S. and globally.
• Have a high value-added component in the local economy.
• Be classified as growth industries at the state and/or national level.