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Four area groups to share $1.95M in federal job money

Four Pittsburgh area organizations will share in $1.95 million in federal funds to create jobs, train employees and counsel small business start-ups in 10 Western Pennsylvania counties, government officials said today.

The Hill House Association will receive $991,000 from the Employment and Training Administration; Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone will receive $817,000 from the Economic Development Administration; and the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence and Duquesne University's Small Business Development Center will share in a $150,000 grant from the Small Business Administration.

The funding for the job training, job creation efforts and forming new high-growth businesses will be concentrated on the energy and health care sectors. The program activities will focus on underserved communities that have not benefitted from the resurgence of Pittsburgh in those areas of the economy, the Labor Department said.

The money for the initiative in Pittsburgh is part of the federal government's $37 million Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to support 20 high-growth regional industry clusters.

John Fernandez, assistant Commerce Department secretary, said the grants were awarded on a competitive basis.

The federal agencies projected that the public-private partnerships would create a total of 4,800 jobs and 300 new businesses, as well as retain 2,400 jobs and train about 4,000 workers. But, representatives from the Labor Department, SBA and the Economic Development Administration did not know how many jobs were expected to be created or workers trained by the Pittsburgh agencies receiving the funding.

Labor spokesman Joshua Lamont could not be reached for comment.

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