The Lehigh Valley is an excellent place to do business for a multitude of reasons, but it comes down to two main factors: quality of place and quality of people.
In the end, businesses — whether deciding to expand, relocate or start up — want the same things we all want: a good, safe place to live in a quality environment with quality people in a supportive community. For businesses, there are added dimensions, such as access to market, overall cost structure, a quality workforce and a robust customer base. [Other considerations are] a supportive network to access capital, technical assistance and cooperation from local, state and federal government. In summary, it's quality of place and quality of people. The Lehigh Valley wins in both of these areas.
Why? First, we are not a suburb of anywhere else. We benefit from our proximity to the larger markets of the Northeast, but we are not encompassed by them. Our cities, small boroughs and farmlands are unique. Our schools are good and our neighborhoods safe, particularly relative to other regions of our size. Second, we can supply a quality workforce, with a heralded work ethic. Businesses need employees. The regions that offer the best-trained and hardest-working employees will win the battle for new jobs and business growth.
As we know, the economy is rapidly changing in this transformative era of the information and technology revolution. The Lehigh Valley is well positioned to continue to win. It will take a continued attention to details and broad regional cooperation to enhance our position for economic growth.
We've adapted before. It was the foresight of community leaders here who during the height of
Some may lament the explosion of industrial parks that followed in the decades to come, but it was that diversification of businesses, using new lands with access to major transportation networks that not only created the jobs that sustained us through down times, but also laid the foundation for continued economic success.
It was also the beginning of a regional approach; the sense that the Lehigh Valley – the counties of Lehigh and
And, just as we identify our quality of place as a strength for us, we need to work together to ensure it remains. The key to that will be equal focus on redeveloping former industrial lands, driving the renaissance of our cities, promoting our urban boroughs and regions like the Slate Belt as the light industrial, logistics and warehouse and distribution sectors continue to blossom on the suburban rim.
We need to recruit companies to bring their corporate offices, research and development and manufacturing and production operations here to go with their product distribution. That's why the timing is perfect for the development of the regional plan that is under way as part of the recent HUD Envision grant.
We can offer companies all the best: quality higher education, excellent health networks, great public schools, charming downtowns and the best infrastructure, access to market and people they are going to find in the Northeast, along with helpful governments and supportive economic development entities.
What is important is that we adapt to where the economy is going, strengthen our regional approach, improve our workforce training, continue to grow all our dowtowns and urban cores and never stop working on improving.