Grant program would reward hiring of Pittsburgh Promise alumni
December 13, 2016 12:29 AM
Councilman Corey O’Connor
By Adam Smeltz / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A new grant program may soon offer businesses extra incentive to hire Pittsburgh Promise alumni.
The alumni and employers who retain them both could benefit from grants under Promise to Hire, said city Councilman Corey O’Connor, who announced the plan Monday. He’s set to propose $60,000 in city funding today.
The African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania is working to raise more money, chamber President Doris Carson Williams said. The Pittsburgh Promise program has awarded more than 7,100 scholarships to Pittsburgh Public Schools graduates since 2008.
“We hope that this [new] grant money will entice more people to stay in the City of Pittsburgh and also for more employers locally to hire local talent,” Mr. O’Connor said. Only employers in the city would be eligible under Promise to Hire.
Mr. O’Connor estimated that employers awarded the grants might receive $2,000 to $10,000 apiece, although many details of the effort remain in planning. Grant awards would then be split between the employers, which would put the support toward business-related capital improvements, and Pittsburgh Promise alumni hired by the firms.
Workers might see the money as a salary incentive, or it could go toward transportation, clothing assistance or other needs, Mr. O’Connor said. He said a grant application process may open as early as January. The African American chamber would handle applications.
Supporters said the push should help tackle a looming shortage in the regional workforce. The Pittsburgh area is on pace for an 80,000-worker shortfall by 2025, according to a study commissioned by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.
Ms. Williams said the grant program would signal to businesses that they can help keep young talent in Western Pennsylvania.
“The more students that we can bring along in this program, I think the better off it’ll be for our region,” she said.
Adam Smeltz: 412-263-2625, firstname.lastname@example.org, @asmeltz.
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to
email@example.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner.