ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

The Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority (ANIZDA) Wednesday heard a presentation from its jobs task force committee outlining recommendations which included establishing PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley as the main interface between job seekers, training resources, and neighborhood employers in downtown Allentown.

Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board, Inc. Executive Director Nancy Dischinat and Business Development Director Gina Kormanik said PA CareerLink and the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board in conjunction with Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) employers will conduct ongoing job preparation and job fairs to highlight employment opportunities and training in the NIZ downtown.

According to ANIZDA Executive Director Nelson Diaz who introduced the presentation that included nine job-promoting recommendations, Allentonians are slated to receive advance notice of job opportunities and priority attendance at job fairs before other Lehigh Valley job seekers.

Gunnar Fox, general manager of the new PPL Center on Hamilton Street which will serve as the home of the new Lehigh Valley Phantoms ice hockey team, said he's been encouraged to hire Allentonians provided they're just as qualified as other area applicants.

Fox remarked, if a hiring decision, for example, comes down to a decision between an Allentonian and a Bethlehemite, he would choose the Allentonian provided both are equally qualified.

Fox said he understands the need for a sense of loyalty to Allentown and its residents, considering where the new PPL arena is located.

Other recommendations included the establishment of the Allentown Employment and Training Center to prepare and link job seekers to opportunities within the NIZ and beyond, said Dischinat. 

She pointed out the center is already in operation at the Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC) location on Hamilton Street and its governance is overseen by the Valley Workforce Investment Board, PA CareerLink, ANIZDA, LCCC, and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski's office.

Dischinat exclaimed, "The mayor has been a phenomenal partner in all of this...I really like him. It has been a win-win situation for all of us."

She added the downtown Allentown Employment and Training Services Center will offer job seekers workshops and help with resume writing, technology, social media, marketing, and the labor market.

Further recommendations by the jobs committee, according to the report, included  all NIZ jobs be posted on PA JobGateway website, welcome letters sent from the mayor and ANIZDA to new NIZ employers recommending the preferential hiring of Allentown residents, and welcome letters from NIZ developers and the Chamber of Commerce to new tenants outlining available resources.

The final two recommendations, according to Kormanik, are to highlight training and job opportunities in the NIZ with preparation sessions, "Eat, Meet, And Greet" events, and job fairs.

"Get Ready, Get Set" preparation workshops for NIZ jobs will be held on Thursday, June 19th from 1- 6:30 p.m. at the Lehigh County Government Center located at 17 S. 7th Street, Allentown.

The subsequent NIZ Job Fair for PPL Center Arena and food service employers will be held at the same time on Thursday, July 17th, also at the government center.