Pittsburgh’s got big shoes to fill if we want to realize our potential as the new center of American energy – and not just the boots of roustabouts in the shale gas industry. Our region’s writing the book on energy – from coal, natural gas and nuclear, to renewables, smart grid, and green building. We’ve also got the financial and legal expertise to support new and growing energy businesses, along with the environmental expertise to do it better than anybody else.

And, we’ve got a great workforce, the true “power of Pittsburgh.”  But we’re going to need more skilled workers to meet the demand in the not-too-distant future.  You see, there’s already a skills gap.  Check out the job search engine at www.PowerofPittsburgh.com and at any given time you might find a couple of thousand openings. And that’s not including the thousands of open jobs in other industries you can find at www.ImaginePittsburgh.com.

We’re not just talking engineers and other college graduates (although we need them, too).  We need people who like to work with their hands as well as their heads, and who want to find a well-paying job with a bright future; the skilled trades that really make the energy industries and their suppliers work.

We’ve gotten a start with ShaleNET, a workforce development initiative that trains people from around here to fill the jobs that have been springing up in the shale gas industry. More than 1,000 of them have jobs in the industry. ShaleNET, co-founded by Westmoreland County Community College and Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport and their partners, is now building certificate and 2-year degree programs with a new focus on midstream (and even downstream) occupations. It’s a classic example of the ingenuity and collaboration that is making our region a national model when it comes to meeting future energy needs, another example of the Power of Pittsburgh.

Now we’ve just got to get out the word.

So, on behalf of the Energy Alliance of Greater Pittsburgh and its “Energy to the Power of Pittsburgh” campaign, we decided to do it in a big way – by running an ad on WPXI-TV during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl broadcast on NBC-TV.  We want people to know that there is opportunity in our region.  It’s about more than jobs, it’s really an opportunity to help reinvent the way the world produces, distributes and uses energy.  And there’s no place better-positioned than Pittsburgh  to make it happen.

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