The Pittsburgh Promise is a commitment to providing more than just scholarships for higher education, Saleem Ghubril, the group's executive director, said.
It's a promise to transform public education, to improve neighborhoods and finally to help students who receive scholarships pursue careers in Pittsburgh.
"We wanted our young people to come back to Pittsburgh, be a part of growing the city and bring their talent into the workforce of our region," Mr. Ghubril said.
Today, at the Rivers Club Downtown, the Pittsburgh Promise held a career training workshop to keep up the last part of the bargain.
During the daylong session, more than 200 college students who have been recipients of Pittsburgh Promise scholarships attended to conduct mock interviews, listen to local company representatives discuss jobs in sectors including energy, business and marketing, and participate in a networking lunch and job and internship fair.
The Pittsburgh Promise, which provides scholarships of up to $40,000 per student to graduates of city high schools and approved charter schools, has helped 3,700 students since 2008, Mr. Ghubril said, and about 200 of those students have returned to the Pittsburgh area, taking jobs with companies including PNC, BNY Mellon and UPMC.
The Promise, which held its first career workshop last June, wants to increase those numbers by giving more students job-searching skills and more Pittsburgh-based employers the opportunity to hire its graduates.
"We wanted to be really deliberate, really intentional, about building a pipeline that connects our students with our region's companies, many of which are investors in the Promise anyway," Mr. Ghubril said. "And we told our investors, donors to the Promise, 'Listen, you have helped send these kids to college. Don't you want to be the first to interview them?'"
Jahmiah Guillory, 21, of Northview Heights, was at the workshop today, participating in a mock job interview session. The 2009 Pittsburgh Oliver graduate received $20,000 in scholarships from the Pittsburgh Promise and plans to graduate from Penn State University in December with a degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering.
When he starts searching for a full-time job, he wants to find one in the region where he grew up.
"I know that the area that I come from is a difficult community, and I want to see this area grow," he said. "I want to try to influence youth that there are other opportunities out there."