Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Pittsburgh Connected

Like most regions, Atlantic Canada suffers from acute brain drain anxiety and seeks to better connect its human capital assets. But not all networking events are the same:

It’s not often I’m excited about a networking event. I don’t particularly feel comfortable with chatting up strangers and the whole, “So what do you do?” thing. But when I heard about a launch for a new organization linking East Coasters living in Toronto with the ultimate goal of promoting regional development in Atlantic Canada, how could I say no? Plus, the live music and beer tickets helped.

East Coast Connected (ECC) purports to “bring the best of Atlantic Canada to Toronto, and the best of Toronto to Atlantic Canada.” Their website explains a phenomenon we all know too well: brain drain in the form of many young Atlantic Canadians heading west for work. They site a 2004 ACOA sponsored survey which found that 38 per cent of students from the 18 Atlantic universities planned to leave the region upon graduation. (I thought that number was a bit low!)

Young people leave because they perceive great career opportunities and bigger bucks elsewhere. ECC views these displaced Atlantic Canadians as great resources for the East Coast provinces, “allowing both Atlantic Canada and Toronto to benefit from the best of what each region has to offer through the free flow of capital, knowledge and creativity.” Atlantic universities will have their own ECC chapters and each Atlantic province has an ECC council to further promote the organization’s message and ideas.

I've long advocated that Pittsburgh do exactly what ECC is doing. After two meetings in Pittsburgh during my Thanksgiving holiday and subsequent e-mail exchanges upon my return to Colorado, I can confidently post that something is indeed brewing. While the job market is less than inspiring when considering a move to Pittsburgh, there is a scarcity of good information about regional opportunities.

For starters, there are a number of Pittsburgh companies struggling to find the right talent for job openings. That's right. There is a labor shortage in Pittsburgh. Those of you looking to return to Pittsburgh, send me an e-mail message. We can get "East Coast Connected" without so much as one beer ticket, making your boomerang dreams come true.

I'll post more about the planned initiatives later this week.

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