Monday, September 29, 2008

What Black and Gold Can Do For You

In his Post-Gazette Diaspora Report, Bill Toland wonders what Pittsburgh expatriates can do for the homeland:

Even if bringing natives back can't be our ultimate goal, the Pittsburgh Diaspora no doubt can be a channel of communication between those who are here and those we hope to bring here one day. But what's the message?

Ideally, the message would be about the opportunities existing in the Pittsburgh region. But I doubt those words would have much impact coming from someone who left. Bill is trying to figure out how the Burgh Diaspora could increase domestic and international in-migration to Pittsburgh, but former Pittsburghers might be as clueless about the strong value propositions in existence as, apparently, outsiders are.

What is the value proposition of going to Harvard, or any other highly selective university? People are begging to go there with someplace else in mind. Harvard is an excellent stepping stone to bigger and better things. Perhaps of greatest use is the network of alumni who will help you get a great job.

My blasphemous idea is to reinvent Pittsburgh not into a destination for talent, but a key stop in your climb up the global ladder. Pittsburgh residents, and businesses, can take advantage of the global network of expatriates. The approach is similar to the Pittsburgh Promise. People are attracted to the City of Pittsburgh in order to provide their children with better opportunities. I'm looking forward to hearing the conspiracy theories about how the Pittsburgh Illuminati are setting the new world order.

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