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Recommendations for improving the Lehigh Valley economy

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), in a study commissioned to identify the region's assets, also received some advice on how to improve the Valley's ranking among the top metropolises.

Out of 391 metro areas through out the country, the Lehigh Valley has the 68th largest economy. The study considered 66 variables, and ranks each one of them. The Valley received a positive rating in 38 areas, while 11 were challenges, and 17 neutral.

The variables assessed include such things as education, number of high schools, their curriculum, colleges and universities, size and number of municipalities, local government effectiveness, roads, transportation factors, businesses, economic sectors, and even perceptions.

The Lehigh Valley received positive ratings for the area's high schools, quality of life, cost of living, amount of land for development, and closeness to larger cities.

Some negatives for the Valley that will require work; the number of municipalities, the high school curriculum, the skill set of the regional workforce, and the need for additional air services.

Direct recommendations include reducing and consolidating the number of municipalities (the Lehigh Valley has 62), creating an early-college high school, ensuring that the community colleges and high schools curriculum is geared towards creating a more skilled workforce, and reducing the high property taxes in the Lehigh Valley.

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