Connect industry, youths
The Sept. 28 article "Production Jobs Rare For Young Workers" sheds light on a growing concern for some of the region's key employment sectors -- older workers with jobs in manufacturing, education and health care are expected to leave jobs faster than employers can find qualified younger workers to replace them.
As pointed out in the article, and in the report on which the article was based, there's no question that when workers retire, they take with them a lifetime of skills, knowledge, experience and relationships, and employers will struggle -- and spend -- to bridge that gap.
But overlooked and vital to stress is that there is no lack of opportunity for young people to enter these key sectors. Young people, rather, aren't choosing these careers, often opting instead for a four-year college degree. It's this disconnect that will ultimately impact the regional economy.
Understanding and bridging that disconnect has been the focus of numerous youth-focused collaborations throughout Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.
The Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Energy Alliance of Greater Pittsburgh recently released a workforce analysis emphasizing the need for a cooperative investment to skill young talent for high-demand, hard-to-fill occupations in the energy sector.
And the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board sees career and technical centers as a key component to fulfilling the needs of the region's employers now and in the future. By connecting employers and training providers, and educating youth about the opportunities available in the region, we are seeking to build the pipeline of qualified workers prepared to step in where others leave off.
STEFANI PASHMAN CEO, Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board
Nationally recognized for innovation, Partner4Work delivers workforce solutions for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to ensure the current and future needs of businesses and job seekers are met. As stewards of more than $20 million in public and private workforce funds, Partner4Work oversees and funds workforce programs for adults, dislocated workers and youth; educates the community through robust labor market analytics; and implements innovative solutions to the region's systemic workforce challenges. Partner4Work bridges the gap between people looking for work and companies in need of talent. More information is available at www.partner4work.org.