Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cohort Pittsburgh

An article in the Post-Gazette describes another opportunity for the Burgh Diaspora. Pittsburgh struggles to attract minority professionals despite what appears to be an attractive environment for career advancement:

"You don't have to go to cities with a large African-American population for opportunity," said Mr. Cooper, a Philadelphia native who came here in 1977 to teach at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Law. "Pittsburgh will give you opportunities and you'll rise faster here because you're not in stiff competition with kids from Harvard and Columbia who go to Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; Chicago; New York; and the other prime cities most African-Americans go to."

Without a migration-chain, Pittsburgh will have to fight against the flow of people. Furthermore, as Richard Florida would point out, talent attracts talent. The opportunity to rub elbows with Harvard and Columbia graduates can be a boon to a professional's career. I'm skeptical that Pittsburgh can effectively compete for young minority talent.

I think Pittsburgh would fare better marketing itself to people a bit further on in their careers who have established networks in the alpha cities. A promising African-American lawyer can get her feet wet in New York, thereby learning to appreciate the positives Pittsburgh has to offer. Colleagues who are Pittsburgh expatriates can make the pitch, building the necessary migration-chain.

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