Allegheny County Controller Corey O’Connor announced today that he will convene an Industry Best Practices Working Group to facilitate dialogue between organizations representing and developing the regional workforce and public and private sector employers.
“We must work to ensure that investments, training efforts and resource allocation matches the needs of workers in our region. Even before the recent rise in inflation, workers were being squeezed by housing and transportation costs, health care expenses and the need to save for retirement while still meeting immediate needs. We need to make sure our region is directing resources to support workers in essential areas where need exists and preparing our future workforce for what will be the family-sustaining jobs of the future. I am encouraged by the enthusiasm of our initial partners to participate in a dialogue on the welfare of workers in our region and the actions needed to help them thrive moving forward. We look forward to engaging with a broad range of stakeholders in our local economy as our work progresses,” O’Connor said.
Participating organizations include:
- A. Philip Randolph Institute Pittsburgh Chapter
- Allegheny Conference on Community Development
- Allegheny/Fayette Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
- Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)
- Pennsylvania Women Work
- Three Rivers Business Alliance
- United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s #IWantToWork Campaign
Several partners participating in the task force expressed their support for the initiative.
“A regional economy that benefits all must include the voices of workers and reflect the needs of working families and working-class communities. I am confident that the effort launched by Controller O’Connor can help lead to local economic growth that includes union members in a growing number of industry sectors and which provides broad benefits to our residents,” said Darrin Kelly, President of Allegheny/Fayette Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO).
“The interests of communities that have suffered from a deficit of opportunity for so long must be purposefully included in discussions on the development of our future workforce and the economic future of our region. It is incumbent on political and community leaders to ensure this inclusion, and we appreciate Controller O’Connor’s invitation to participate in this Working Group,” said DeWitt Walton, Vice President of the A. Philip Randolph Institute Pittsburgh Chapter.
“Since the college’s founding, CCAC’s mission has been to prepare our students for the best opportunities in the regional economy. Naturally, these opportunities change over time. While we constantly seek to respond to these changes by offering programs that reflect both current workforce needs and evolving employment trends, it is essential that employers, investors, government officials and other providers of workforce training work from the same playbook. We appreciate Controller O’Connor’s efforts to convene regional stakeholders for these important conversations,” said Michael Rinsem, Endowed Professor for Technical Curriculum at Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), who will represent the college in the working group.
Dr. Josie Badger DCHE, CRC, Campaign Manager of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s #IWantToWork Campaign, will represent the disability community on the working group. “The disability community is the largest minority group and had been repeatedly overlooked when trying to fill workforce shortages. This effort is a significant step forward as Allegheny County moves toward improving employment rates and supporting people with disabilities to obtain good jobs in the community,” she said.
“Pennsylvania Women Work partners with local employers to help connect job-seekers to sustainable, meaningful employment. We recognize that the best way to support the women in our community is through continued collaboration and communication to take measurable steps toward improving our region’s workforce. As the only women-focused workforce development organization in Pittsburgh, we are honored to represent working, unemployed and underemployed women as a member of this group of community leaders,” said Kristin Ioannou, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Women Work.
“Three Rivers Business Alliance (3RBA) looks forward to working with the County Controller’s office on this important initiative to improve the lives of our workers here in Allegheny County. As the local chamber of commerce representing LGBTQ+ businesses, 3RBA can bring important insights to help our workplaces be more inclusive and our work environments more supportive of LGBTQ+ employees and entrepreneurs,” said Cynthia Oliver, Executive Director. “Dialogue about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people often remains undervalued or misunderstood in Human Resource Development (HRD). Despite a growing global awareness of the struggles LGBGTQ+ members face, many employers remain ill-equipped to create the policies and workplace cultures that would support them. We believe this important work will help further education, set priorities and allocate resources that will make Allegheny County a better place to live, work and thrive for all.”
Working Group members will meet with varied industry leaders to discuss their workforce and investment needs and how all stakeholders can partner to meet them, O’Connor said.
“These are the types of conversations that need to happen to ensure that our region is succeeding in attracting jobs and supporting workers today and that we are prepared for coming shifts in what employers and workers need,” O’Connor said.