Northern Pennsylvania farmland with cornfields and mountains in the background

North Central Pennsylvania Talent Retention and Attraction Strategy

St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania and the NorthCentral Pennsylvania region

Fourth Economy Consulting was engaged by Workforce Solutions, the regional workforce board, and Manufacturing, Education, and Employee Advancement, Inc. (MEEA), a group of manufacturers, to craft a plan for regional talent attraction and retention in a six-county region in North Central Pennsylvania. 



The MEEA/Workforce Solutions team recognized that a strategy was needed to address the challenges that employers and the broader community had been facing, which included attracting people to commute to, live in, or boomerang to the region. These challenges were particularly exacerbated by the upswing in 3D printing, which utilizes powdered metals produced by the manufacturers of the region. The shortage of workers in the region threatened their opportunity to benefit from this upswing. 



Our team conducted research on the population and potential demographic changes in the region and the impacts these changes would have on various economic factors. The most significant was a projected decrease in the labor force  that would create a serious domino effect in the region because of an inability for employers to attract new labor. As part of a retention and attraction strategy, we conducted a Housing Gap Analysis which showed that, even in this rural region, there was a demand for rental units.  



The planning process resulted in a series of actionable recommendations for the clients and overall community to take in order to meet the stated goals. The draft work product included estimated costs of implementing those recommendations, roles of various organizations, and expected impacts. 


Regional Strategy




Economic Development Organization