Zersha Munir

Pittsburgh’s got jobs — 26,860 open as of today in the 10-county region on the ImaginePittsburgh.com 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

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Check ImaginePittsburgh.com 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.

Dennis Yablonsky

Part of the power of Pittsburgh is the way that individuals come together to find solutions across sectors, organizations and interests. That is exemplified in the robust discussions generated at the Robert M. Mill Labor-Management Lecture Series, which returns to the Community College of Allegheny County on this coming Monday, Dec. 3.

At that 3 p.m. session, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and I will discuss what is needed to build a modern transportation system that serves the needs of both business and individuals. I’m looking forward to hearing from John D. Porcari, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, who will keynote the event. Admission is free but reservations are required to LaborManagement@ccac.edu, or call 412-237-4476.

The timing is fortuitous, because transportation funding remains an urgent  concern for our region. The Conference is continuing to urge state legislators to take up the long-term statewide funding solution outlined in the 2011 report by the Transportation Funding Advisory Commission (TFAC). It’s a realistic, achievable framework for meeting the funding needs of not just public transit, but also of the commonwealth’s highways, roads, bridges, ports and rails.

This ongoing labor-management series aims to enhance the understanding and recognition of the large role labor unions and labor relations have played in Pittsburgh’s successes. Previous sessions have featured Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers and John Surma, chairman & CEO of U.S. Steel (and former chair of the Allegheny Conference). Interviews with CONSOL Energy President Nick DeIuliis and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka following their appearances at an October 2011 session can be heard here or below.


The Pittsburgh region is poised to see the number of energy-related careers grow significantly by the end of this decade. There will be jobs for engineers and maintenance technicians, welders and salespeople, jobs requiring post-high school training as well as professional degrees. At the same time, according to a workforce analysis conducted on behalf of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Energy Alliance of Greater Pittsburgh (EAGP), the opportunity poses significant challenges for workforce development as employers increasingly compete for talent, especially across 14 high-demand, hard-to-fill occupations.

“At a time when our region is already setting all-time records for employment, the ‘help wanted’ sign is out, and it’s likely to stay there for years to come,” said David Porges, chair of the Allegheny Conference Workplace Committee, and chairman, president and CEO of EQT Corporation. “For the energy industry in particular, our challenge is to educate, train and attract enough skilled workers to meet this demand. The good news: we have the tools necessary to make it happen; however, to be successful, we must have business, government and the workforce development system effectively working together towards this common goal.”

The Allegheny Conference and the EAGP released the results of their survey of major energy employers during the quarterly meeting of the Allegheny Conference Regional Investors Council at the Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. The detailed analysis, conducted by global talent-management consultancy DDI, involved in-depth interviews with 37 employers representing a cross-section of the 10-county region’s seven energy industries, including coal, natural gas, nuclear, solar, wind, power management and intelligent building. The executive summary is available here.  According to the survey, these 37 companies alone expect to have more than 7,000 jobs to fill through 2020, with about 4,200 of the openings due to retirement and attrition and 2,000 in the 14 high-demand occupations. (Read the executive summary here.)

The survey is suggestive but not predictive of the region’s total energy workforce needs by the end of the decade. The goal of the research was not to make statistical inferences about job numbers, but rather to determine what the greatest need will be and what skills will be most in demand to fill the energy workforce pipeline through the end of the decade.

“This report is unusual because we’re hearing directly from the employers about the positions they must fill in the years to come. This information may help to guide dislocated workers contemplating a career change or young people thinking about their future career options. These are the high demand opportunities emerging in our region,” said Allegheny Conference CEO Dennis Yablonsky. “These occupations include machinists, maintenance techs, welders and the people who supervise them, as well as sales professionals and engineers, family-sustaining jobs with good, long-term career prospects. Fortunately we have time to prepare to meet this demand.”

All but one of the 14 most in-demand jobs across the seven energy-related industries will require more than a high school diploma or GED – typically an associate’s degree or technical certification. Several will require a bachelor’s degree or more.

“We’re not predicting the number of jobs that will be available across the entire energy economy, but these results offer some practical, unequivocal conclusions about what we need to do to continue to grow our economy,” said Laura Fisher, senior vice president, Allegheny Conference, who has overseen the project. “It is essential for employers and businesses to begin now to get the word out about the region’s job opportunities and training and educational resources, and to advocate for better alignment of education and workforce policy, programming and funding.

“We have the building blocks to meet the growing demand. Our region is home to 36 colleges and universities, community colleges and career schools, and nonprofit workforce development organizations, including robust building trades apprenticeship programs. The challenge is to properly align educational and training programs so that students and dislocated workers can make well-informed choices about post-secondary education.”

The Allegheny Conference and the Energy Alliance said that parents and guidance counselors have important roles to play to communicate the emerging opportunity in the region and to encourage boys and girls to seek out STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills. It is also important that students develop the critical thinking, communications and other behavioral skills embedded in a well-rounded curriculum. All of these skills are needed to land the most in-demand, high-paying jobs in energy-related and other industries.

“The workplace of the near future – in our country and in the Pittsburgh region – is one in which opportunities are available to anyone with the skills and training to succeed,” Porges said. “We need to make sure that all students are well informed about diverse career opportunities in energy.”

The Allegheny Conference and the EAGP are taking immediate steps to address the region’s workforce opportunity by:

  • Building on the successful ShaleNET workforce development model, a multi-state, comprehensive recruitment, training, placement and retention program for jobs in the gas industry throughout the Marcellus Shale footprint, to target additional high-demand, hard-to-find positions across the energy industries;
  • Increasing public awareness of the breadth of opportunity in the region by enhancing the ImaginePittsburgh.com talent attraction portal and related marketing;
  • Advocating for key structural improvements to the workforce development system in the region and across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and
  • Extending the analysis to include the entire 32-county, greater Pittsburgh region, which includes portions of Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia;

In fact, a new analysis of the energy sector by the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh (an Allegheny Conference affiliate) indicates that the energy sector has an annual $25 billion economic impact – direct and indirect – on the 32-county region, representing 15 percent of its economy. More than 60,000 people are employed in direct energy jobs at 1,700 establishments across the greater region.

The Allegheny Conference on Community Development is the parent organization for three affiliates: the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA), the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh. These organizations share a strategic vision and work together to market our region for business investment and talent attraction, conduct research and analysis to improve our competitiveness, and advocate on behalf of business climate and quality-of-life improvements. The Regional Investors Council, made up of more than 300 regional employers, provides the leadership, commitment and resources to move our region forward.

The Energy Alliance of Greater Pittsburgh (EAGP) is a coalition of 100 businesses representing all seven of our region’s energy-related industries. Supported by the staff of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and Innovation Works, EAGP advocates for policies that will encourage these industries to flourish here, reaching out worldwide to attract investors and encouraging commercialization of innovations spinning out of our government and university labs.

ShaleNET links industry, workforce investment boards and training providers to ensure local worker placement in six entry-level, family sustaining positions that have been identified as high-priority occupations  by the Pennsylvania Workforce Development, a program of the state’s Department of Labor & Industry. Learn more or register to receive the ShaleNET newsletter at  www.shalenet.org.

Bill Flanagan

For several years now, our region’s economy has been outperforming the national average. It’s an unusual position for us to be in, since nothing like this has happened here in a generation. It also is creating a set of challenges we aren’t used to – more jobs than people. For some time now we’ve been monitoring a “skills gap” through our career awareness website, ImaginePittsburgh.com. At any given time there seem to be more than 10,000 open jobs across 10 counties of the Pittsburgh region and across a variety of industries. So, why — when this region’s unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) was 7.1  percent in March (compared to 8.4 percent nationally) — can’t we find people to fill these jobs?

Well, the answer is that many of the people looking for work simply don’t have the skills required to fill the positions that are opening up in our more knowledge-driven economy. And there’s every reason to believe that the situation is only going to become more challenging. Not only are employers across our region creating new jobs, the Baby Boom generation has begun to retire. Over time these trends are only going to generate even more job openings.

I recently had the honor of moderating a discussion about “Industry, Trades & Skills” at the Robert M. Mill Lecture Series at the Community College of Allegheny County. A standing-room-only crowd turned out for the keynote speaker, the Honorable Hilda Solis, the U.S.  Secretary of Labor and for her conversation with Morgan O’Brien, president and CEO of Peoples Natural Gas, and Michael Dunleavy, business manager for IBEW Local 5. Secretary Solis applauded our region’s existing efforts to come to grip with the skills gap. She cited such programs as New Century Careers that train workers for in-demand jobs in manufacturing and the recent Bots IQ competition that brings together high school teams to learn manufacturing skills through building and battling robots. As she notes in the video clip below, the nation as a whole is confronting a skills gap, with more than three million jobs going unfilled across the country.

Recognizing CCAC graduate Robert M. Mill, the lecture series is designed to set the stage a forum for open communication between all who will benefit from a future of positive labor-management relations and economic development in western Pennsylvania. I’m a member of the series’ advisory committee.

Bill Flanagan

I arrived in Pittsburgh 30 years ago this year as a young TV news reporter, covering an economy in freefall. At that time, it was hard to imagine this region would re-emerge as an engine of manufacturing in America.

Suddenly, though, that’s exactly what seems to be happening.

I wrote about this welcome transition in a column in the April 13-19 edition of the Pittsburgh Business Times. Check it out via this link, or read it on the PBT’s website.

Bonnie Pfister

In just four months, the Green Workplace Challenge has dramatically reduced greenhouse gas emissions and saved impressive quantities of water and energy.

The year-long challenge is an initiative organized by Sustainable Pittsburgh to encourage business owners and property managers to use less water, electricity and natural gas in their day-to-day operations.

More than 50 entities are participating in the challenge that began in September, from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses to non-profits.

So far the companies together have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 497 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent – roughly equal to the emissions produced by 97 airplanes flying 500 miles. Participants saved more the 5 million kilowatt hours of energy – the amount used annually by a neighborhood the size of Pittsburgh’s Regent Square. They also saved 253,000 gallons of water – the equivalent used by a typical U.S. household over an entire year.

“This friendly competition is accelerating sustainable policies and practices in southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Matthew Mehalik, program manager at Sustainable Pittsburgh and organizer of the challenge. “Imagine what we could do in terms of resource efficiency and cost savings if we doubled or even tripled the number of businesses participating.”

In the large business category of 1,000+ employees, Highmark and UPMC are tied with 28 (out of 50) points each. Bayer Corp.  is the next runner up with 21 points. In the mid-size business category, (50 to 999 employees) Del Monte Foods is edging out Michael Baker Corp. with 39 points compared to 35.

In the small business category of fewer than 50 employees, Pashek Associates and evolveEA are leading the charge.

“Sustainability is about wealth creation,” said Valerie Patrick, sustainability coordinator at Bayer Corp. “During the industrial revolution, wealth creation came from gains in labor productivity. In the future, smarter use of resources will be the source of prosperity.”

The Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge is an initiative of Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Champions for Sustainability business network. More information about the GWC, including a list of participating businesses, is available here or by contacting Amanda Virbitsky at gwc AT sustainablepittsburgh DOT org.

The next Green Workplace Challenge workshop is scheduled for Feb. 24 at the Regional Enterprise Tower in Downtown Pittsburgh. The workshop will be beneficial for small and medium sized businesses that do not have full-time sustainability program staffers and others seeking help in navigating energy portfolios.