The Lehigh Valley is currently ranked number two in the nation for economic development for its size, according to industry magazine Site Selection Online. Now, a Lehigh University-led consortium of regional executives will see if they can take advantage of that designation and make the region an attractive location for a diverse and educated workforce.
At a November 13 summit held in the Wood Dining Hall of Lehigh’s Iacocca Hall, executives from Lehigh and 18 other regional companies came together for the first meeting of LINC, a new non-profit aimed at increasing retention and recruitment to the Lehigh Valley for all employers. The goal of the Lehigh summit was to introduce the concept of LINC to regional employers and engage them through roundtable discussions about recruiting as a region, not solely as individuals.
LINC, Lehigh Valley Inter-Regional Networking & Connecting, is a collaborative effort of regional companies like Air Products, PPL Electric Utilities, BBraun and others who desire an educated and diverse workforce. LINC is designed to meet the needs of member organizations looking for ways to enhance their recruiting and retain their best employees. It represents a personal approach to working with potential candidates and new and relocated hires that are moving into the Lehigh Valley.
The challenges in recruiting and retaining professionals are well known to any HR professional, but the modern workforce presents additional difficulties. For example, dual career couples create “trailing spouses,” who also seek employment in a new region. Families moving to a new region experience the stress of learning a new community, enrolling in new schools or simply meeting new people.
LINC will be the organization within the Lehigh Valley that provides employers with the unique ability to offer assistance to new recruits or employees and their families. Services, which will be shared by the consortium, will include Pre-Hire Consults, Spouse/Partner Career Support, Employee/Family Assimilation Support and Cultural Transition.
Coupled with the high cost of turnover (the cost of losing a professional hire within the first two years is conservatively estimated at 2 –3 times the salary of the employee) it is clear why some regions are joining forces to tackle recruitment together.
The concept for LINC stems from a grant awarded to Lehigh by the National Science Foundation to develop regional capacity in dual-career hiring to encourage the hiring of women scientists. The model is based on proven working for-profit and non-profit models such as Tech Valley Connect, New York; University of Maine, Maine; Impact Global, Missouri; Cornerstone Relocation Group, New Jersey; and The Right Move Group, California.
The end result of a strong LINC consortium should raise the visibility of the Lehigh valley as an attractive career and life destination, reduce recruitment costs for member companies and increase the recruitment of a diverse workforce.
To learn more about LINC, visit www.LINC-LV.com.