Once considered a region for industrial and manufacturing jobs, the Lehigh Valley has evolved to adapt to a new economy where manufacturing jobs have moved overseas. Several new specialties have risen to inspire demand here in the Lehigh Valley, and the demand does not appear anywhere near its peak. These job opportunities are a bright spot in a dismal national economy.
While Pennsylvania in general has a demand for nurses, the Lehigh Valley in particular has started to hit a new peak in demand for nurses. Since 2008, many experienced nurses are nearing retirement, increasing an already looming shortage of nurses in the Valley. Due to this increased demand nurses salaries are on the rise plus some great benefits:
Summary of Benefits
All full-time nurses receive the following benefits package:
* A health and prescription drug program that begins on the first day of employment.
* A wellness program offering free and reduced-cost exercise and healthy lifestyle classes and seminars.
* Dental and vision plan
* Sick time accrual of eight hours per month (to a maximum of 480 hours)
* Paid time off (four weeks in first full year)
* Retirement plan
* Short-term disability replacing 60 percent of pay after 30 days of employment
* Long-term disability replacing 60 percent of pay after six months up to age 65
* Life insurance (one times base annual pay)
* Comprehensive Professional Liability Insurance
* On-site day care
* Tuition reimbursement
* Bereavement leave
* Jury duty pay
* On-site education programs
Many of these salaries and benefits are available to nurses who have completed degree programs and certifications but have no prior experience. Anyone who has thought of nursing as a career should reconsider it once again.
While many companies nationally have reduced their technology workforce, the Lehigh Valley has seen a surge in demand for IT workers. This is largely due to the expansion of more technology-driven businesses such as healthcare and logistics here in the Valley. The Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network is now the largest employer in the Lehigh Valley followed by St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem. The Lehigh Valley now features the largest network of distribution centers for trucking in the Northeast Corridor. In these two industries IT plays a very important role, and the Lehigh Valley has historically lagged in technology workers. This has presented a huge opportunity for new graduates of technology programs, specifically those graduating with network certifications and computer degrees. Skills in network security, programming and database management, as well as language skills such as JAVA, Ruby, and C# offer attractive salaries and strong benefits. If you have considered a new career change, perhaps checking out a network certification program at one of the Lehigh Valley’s 15 area colleges might be the change you need.
As the demographics of the Valley continue to change so will the employment opportunities. The Lehigh Valley economy will stay dynamic and continue to evolve as the region changes to adapt to our national economy.
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