Attracting, keeping young city residents goal of new panel

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On the heels of news that only hurricane-struck New Orleans lost more people this decade than the Pittsburgh region did, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl yesterday announced something new: The Propel Pittsburgh Commission.

How to apply

Use the form on this page of the Pittsburgh Web site to apply for membership on the Propel Pittsburgh Commission.


The commission's 35 members, yet to be chosen by the mayor and Youth Policy Manager Neil Parham, will be charged to "ensure that the city of Pittsburgh remains competitive to attract and retain young people," Mr. Ravenstahl, 27, said. "What better way to talk about those issues than having young people at the table, talking about issues that are important to us, and moving forward with aggressive agendas on the city government level?"

Plans for the commission have been in the works for months and have received City Council approval. Yesterday the mayor, flanked by seven young professionals, opened the nomination process, inviting city residents between the ages of 20 and 34 to submit applications.

Applications will be available through the city's Web site, and are due April 27.

"The latest census figures indicate that we're not exactly gaining additional young people in the city, and that's a very serious concern for us," said Dan Holland, a founder of the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh and likely member.

Kellie Ware Conley, vice president of the Urban League Young Professionals, said she wants to look hard at ways to keep the graduates of local colleges here.

"It seems like we have a million colleges in the city of Pittsburgh," she said. "And every year, it seems there's all of these bright students that come here to receive an education that turn around and go back to wherever it is they came from, or move to another city they have no connection to."

The mayor will chair the commission. It will meet six times a year and will submit quarterly reports to the mayor and council on policy matters important to young professionals. It will break into committees that will advise the administration on "economic, social, political, cultural, diversity and clean-and-safe matters," the mayor said.

The Pittsburgh region lost 60,309 people since 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, second to New Orleans, which lost 292,000 people in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Rich Lord can be reached at or 412-263-1542.


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