tech talk terry ooms

The Nation’s Skills-Gap and How It Effects Northeast Pennsylvania

What is the “skills-gap” and what does it mean to not only Northeast Pennsylvania, but to our nation. Join host Dr. Katie Leonard as she talks with guest, Teri Ooms, where they discuss what contributing factors helped to establish the nation’s skills-gap and what steps can be taken to help close it. They’ll discuss the in-demand careers for skilled workforce in our region, and address generational stigmas associated with what is considered a successful career.

Special Guest – Teri Ooms

Executive Director at the Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development


Teri Ooms

Executive Director at the Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development

Teri Ooms is responsible for all facets of research,organizational strategy, and management. Ooms is an active principal investigator in all Institute research. Ooms has been nationally recognized as a leader in regional economic development. She turned that skill into a research institute to help other regions develop and prosper. Her strategic skills have allowed The Institute to expand its services to the private and non-profit sectors for research and analysis in community health needs assessments, strategic planning, market and feasibility studies, and economic impact analysis. Ooms’ leadership has expanded The Institute’s work to other states. Under her direction, The Institute has completed over 100 client and community based studies. These studies have resulted in new jobs, new programs, sustained initiatives, and new legislation throughout Pennsylvania and in New York. Ooms also serves on a number of local and regional non-profit boards.

In 2016, Ooms was named Innovator of the Year by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry for the development of the Connect program for entrepreneurs, the United Way’s Poverty to Possibility Initiative, replicating the Lehigh Carbon Community College SHINE model to Luzerne County, and the development of the regional energy economic development strategy.

From 1997 – 2004, Ooms served as President/CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP), Riverside, CA and of its two sister companies – The Inland Empire Tourism Council and the Inland Empire Foundation. IEEP is responsible for the regional marketing, attraction, and recruitment of new business to the region, the expansion and retention of existing business, film, tourism, high tech regional development, a workforce collaborative, regional visioning & planning, legislative advocacy, and the Small Business Development Center.

As President/CEO, Ms. Ooms completed a reorganization of the company resulting in new programs and services, financial stability and increased prominence in the community. In the period of 1997-2003, IEEP had 70 successful business attractions and retentions resulting in over $730 million in new investment into the region creating over 9,500 jobs. The region had over 5,000 film shoots, demonstrating a little over $425 million in regional impact in the same period. In 1999, she was awarded “Management Leader of the Year,” by the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management, and in 1998, 1999, and 2000 was a recipient of the “Women of Distinction” award given by the Business Press. During her term as CEO, IEEP’s membership grew by 10% and maintained an average membership retention ratio of 93%. IEEP evolved to include a high technology development program and coordination of the region’s workforce collaborative to bring education and business partnerships to benefit employers, employees, and students as well as the Tourism Council and Foundation. Ms. Ooms is a cum laude graduate of the University of Scranton with a BS in Public Administration and an MBA in Finance.