Bonnie Pfister

Looking for a well-compensated job in a field that’s an intrinsic part of nearly everything you see and touch? Consider the chemical industry.

Jobs as technicians, engineers, researchers, business-to-business sales and others to support all of the above are abundant in companies that make everything from surgical devices no larger than an eyelash to cables that support bridges, office towers and power plants. Some 5,000 of these jobs are in the Pittsburgh region at 250 companies as PPG Industries, Covestro (formerly Bayer MaterialScience), Calgon Carbon, Braskem and more.

So it’s not surprising that for 48 years the region has celebrated Pittsburgh Chemical Day, a gathering that shares best practices and trends in science, R&D, policy, markets and talent attraction and development. On Oct. 6, PPG Industries President and CEO Michael H. McGarry delivered the luncheon keynote address for the day-long event at the Heinz History Center.

“The chemical and coatings industry is poised to grow, but we must tackle key challenges to achieve continued success,” McGarry said. A big part of that is working to improve education and talent attraction, as Pittsburgh faces a looming shortage in skilled workers as Baby Boomers retire. (You can read more about McGarry’s comments in this Pittsburgh Business Times article.)

Eric Giles of Covestro (formerly Bayer MaterialScience) is one of those young workers who has found great opportunities – and a great life – working in the chemical industry here. A senior R&D specialist, Giles left his hometown for college and considered a range of cities to launch his career. But he chose Pittsburgh for its multi-national scope and opportunities in product development.

Learn more about Eric Giles in the video below.

Zersha Munir

Pittsburgh’s got jobs — 26,860 open as of today in the 10-county region on the job search engine. That’s  a one-stop aggregator of career postings updated daily from more than 900 jobs boards, corporate websites and search engines.

Here are few available today:

Front End Web Developer at Carnegie Mellon University

Manager of Architecture at Highmark

Labor Program Coordinator at Bayer

Supplier Quality Engineer at Industrial Scientific

Senior Loan Analyst at Dollar Bank

* * * 

Check regularly for more career opportunities and news about the region. You can also sign up for our monthly eNewsletter, or follow us by RSS feedFacebookTwitterLinkedIn or our other social media channels.

Last month the One Young World summit made its first landing in the United States, gathering thinkers and activists age 30 and under in Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center. They tackled issues around education, public health, human rights and the role that businesses can play in fostering sustainable development and social justice.

On Oct. 20, the more than 1,000 attendees fanned out across the Pittsburgh region to seminars hosted in local communities, discussing – among dozens of other topics — how to build social businesses, using hip-hop music to engage kids in positive change and furthering equity in women’s sports.

“Painting a Brighter Picture for Youth” brought 40 delegates to the Art Institute, where they learned about the MLK (Moving the Lives of Kids) Community Mural Project. The project channels the energy of kids in at-risk neighborhoods to create public art, and has involved artists and more than 1,000 young people in creating 500+ murals in Pittsburgh, Detroit, Miami, Atlanta and other U.S. cities, as well as in Brazil and Haiti.

In the video below, Kyle Holbrook, the project’s executive artist, describes a mural celebrating youth leadership that was dedicated that rainy afternoon at Market Street along the Boulevard of the Allies in downtown Pittsburgh. There OYW delegates joined MLK’s student artists in putting brushes to additional mural panels that will be displayed at Robert Morris University and elsewhere.

Thanks to Robert Morris University videographer Tras Watts.

Click here to read more about the One Young World summit.


Laura Fisher

By the time you read this, I will be in Germany on a week-long study tour as part of the Cities in Transition Initiative, a project of the German Marshall Fund. The program aims to identify approaches that Europe’s traditionally industrial cities have taken to address economic dislocation, and explore how these might be used or adapted by us back at home. I’m looking forward to the program and to comparing notes with participating colleagues from Cleveland, Youngstown, Detroit and Flint, Mich.

There is much that the Pittsburgh region shares with Germany. Two hundred years after immigrants from German states began populating what was then Allegheny City, theirs is still the most common ancestry of our residents. Germany leads foreign direct investment in the region with 70 companies accounting for 172 establishments.  These employ more than 10,000 people and include names such as Bayer, Flabeg, LANXESS, Siemens and Sycor. Germany is also an important market for some 30 regional companies, which operate more than 60 facilities there across a variety of industries.

Like Pittsburgh, the cities we’ll be visiting have rich industrial roots and – by drawing on R&D, innovation and entrepreneurship –  have managed to create new sectors while modernizing the manufacturing that was downsized by global economic forces. Dortmund, along the Ruhr River in west-central Germany, was long a center of coal mining and steel making, but has leveraged university and other R&D to grow its technology, bio-medicine and advanced manufacturing sectors. Stuttgart, in the southwest, is often called the birthplace of the auto industry, and remains home to Daimler and Porsche, as well as the European headquarters of Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

The similarities end, unfortunately for us, at Germany’s broad success in connecting young talent with technical training and skills that land them well-compensated, in-demand jobs in today’s industries.  In the U.S. generally and the Pittsburgh region in particular, the response to decline of manufacturing in the 1980s was principally to turn an entire new generation away from such work.

How can we change the conversation and reinforce the notion that an individual cannot only be proud of working with his or her hands, but earn salaries and benefits far greater than many other jobs not requiring a four-year degree? How do we communicate the message that to be a welder is a just as important as – and often more attainable than – being an engineer?

The Pittsburgh region has thousands of good jobs and careers that individuals can land starting with a high school diploma and certifications, often obtained in a matter of months at a technical school or community college. Once on the job, workers can, over time, obtain further credentials – certifications, an associate’s degree, even a bachelor’s degree – that increase their skills and earning potential.

I am particularly keen to learn how German educators, business leaders and parents talk about technical careers and associated educational options with young people. In our own region, we know from a recent study of energy occupations that we already have more demand for technical talent than we can supply, and that the future for talent with all sorts of post-secondary credentials is extremely bright.

What can our counterparts in Germany teach us about how to convince the generation of Pittsburghers hunting for jobs now – and those coming up behind them – that having too many options and pathways can be just as problematic as having too few? Today, too many students and their parents see an “all or nothing” proposition in post-secondary education: a bachelor’s degree is a must, even if one’s particular career goal doesn’t require one. We know the great learning a four-year degree can bring, and that it is – and will remain – needed for many positions that require such a degree. But national data show that only 42 percent of students who start a four-year program actually finish (and often in six years), and too many students pursue degrees that are not in demand. We need to be sure that young people are making as well-informed choices as possible.

I’ll let you know what I find out. Stay tuned.

Phil Cynar
Nobel Laureate (and Pitt grad) Maathai Wangari

Pittsburgh has inspired and enabled great achievements by pioneers in environmental justice, medicine, art and sports. You can learn more here, but a sampling is below.

Kenya-born Wangari Maathai was a global leader on environmental and anti-poverty issues. She earned a master’s degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh and received the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.

A native of Springdale, a community along the Allegheny River just 18 miles northeast of the City of Pittsburgh and a 1929 alumna of Pittsburgh’s Chatham University, Rachel Carson was a marine biologist, conservationist and author. Her book, Silent Spring, is credited with advancing the global environmental movement. 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of its publication.

University of Pittsburgh researcher and professor Dr. Jonas Salk developed the first vaccine for polio – one of America’s most frightening public health crises – on March 26, 1953 in Pittsburgh. Widespread use of his vaccine is expected to globally eradicate this crippling disease.

Pittsburgh Pirates Right Fielder Roberto Clemente‘s breathtaking skills as a hitter helped the Pirates win two World Series. A native of Puerto Rico, Clemente was the first Latino in U.S. baseball to receive Most Valuable Player and World Series MVP awards and to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Pittsburgh-born leader of the pop-art movement beginning in the 1960s, Andy Warhol blurred the lines between art and life, commerce, film and celebrity. “The pop idea was that anybody could do anything.” Warhol is also often remembered for his quip, “everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Pittsburgh is home to The Andy Warhol Museum, the largest museum in the U.S. dedicated to one artist.

Born on Pittsburgh’s North Side in a neighborhood now called Allegheny West, Gertrude Stein was a writer, poet, art collector and feminist. She spent most of her life in Paris, nurturing such now-famous avant-garde artists as Matisse and Picasso, and expatriate American writers during the first half of the 20th century.

A native of Guatemala, Luis Von Ahn is a Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor and MacArthur “Genius” grant winner. He pioneered crowd-sourcing and the reCAPTCHA software used to digitize books and other printed text. His latest venture is Duolingo, a free language-learning website and crowd-sourced text translation platform.

Born to Portuguese parents in Mozambique, Teresa Heinz is an American businesswoman and philanthropist. She chairs The Heinz Endowments and Heinz Family Philanthropies, which help the Pittsburgh region thrive economically, ecologically, educationally and culturally.

Called “the father of modern transplantation,” Dr. Thomas Starzl, was the first to perform human liver transplants. A physician, researcher and organ transplant expert, Dr. Starzl has called Pittsburgh his home since 1981.

An American entrepreneur and engineer, George Westinghouse is the inventor of the railway air brake. This device enabled trains to be stopped – for the first time – with fail-safe accuracy by locomotive engineers and was eventually adopted on the majority of the world’s railroads. Westinghouse was also a pioneer of the electrical industry and one of Thomas Edison’s main rivals. A transplant to the Pittsburgh region from his native New York state, Westinghouse and his wife, made their first home in Pittsburgh in 1868.


Bonnie Pfister

ImaginePittsburghNow, the blog of the Allegheny Conference, welcomes the 1,000+ delegates to the One Young World summit with this short video “flipbook” of some of the people and places that we love about our ‘burgh.

While Pittsburgh is composed of 88 distinctive, vibrant neighborhoods, this three-minute video highlights just a few that OYW delegates might find themselves in: Downtown (aka the Golden Triangle or the Cultural District); Oakland, home to several of our region’s 36 universities; and the South Side, a mecca of restaurants, clubs, vintage clothing and record stores, and more. (Other neighborhoods not far from the clean, green David L. Lawrence Convention Center include the Strip District, Lawrenceville and Polish Hill.)

ImaginePittsburghNow‘s  roving cameras will be back on the streets throughout the conference. Look for us there or on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

We hope to see you! Welcome to Pittsburgh!