Sunday, August 09, 2009

Brand New Pittsburgh

The power brokers of Pittsburgh have decided upon a marketing strategy for the upcoming G-20 summit. City boosters are anxious to leverage the media attention. You can get a list of the expected sound bytes here. The part of the narrative that interests me:

Yet green jobs may also help reverse Pittsburgh's massive population decline. Plextronics, the company whose carbon-based "ink" produces solar energy, had just three employees when it was founded in 2002; today, it has about 70 -- with plans to hire 10 to 15 more in the next year-and-a-half.

The company's average age is 30, and 43 percent have young children. More than half are college educated.

The low cost of living makes it easy to recruit workers, said chief financial officer Sean Rollman. He also noted there are large companies in the area, such as Alcoa and Bayer, to partner with, and that colleges including Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh provide a natural talent pool.

The ease of attracting talent to Pittsburgh is news to me. Low cost of living is a good selling point, to a family household wage earner. I look at the article as a wish list for the windfall stemming from the global spotlight. Looks as if the region is more focused on attracting new business to the region.

That's a good approach. The G-20 publicity won't do much to engineer in-migration. But job creation could as long as the right industry comes to town. There are labor gluts, as the subpar wages would attest. There are also acute shortages. Buyer beware.

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