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Pittsburgh Promise to extend to employment

| Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, 7:57 p.m.

Businesses that hire Pittsburgh Promise Scholarship recipients after they graduate from college would be eligible for grants of up to $10,000 under a program announced on Monday by city Councilman Corey O'Connor.

O'Connor of Swisshelm Park said he plans to introduce legislation on Tuesday that would send $60,000 in city funds to the African American Chamber of Commerce for distribution as grants. The chamber and Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce will solicit matching funds from private organizations to increase the total.

“We hope that this grant money will entice more people to stay in the city of Pittsburgh and also for more employers locally to hire local talent,” O'Connor said.

To be eligible a company must hire a college graduate for full-time employment and retain the new employee for at least six months. It would qualify for the grant after the six months, O'Connor said. He said qualifying businesses would be eligible for a grants ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.

“We're in our planning cycle right now,” said Doris Carson Williams, president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce. “We are setting up the goals and objectives for how we will go about this. The more students that we can bring along in this program, I think the better off it will be for our region.”

Funded by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and private matching donations, the Pittsburgh Promise provides scholarships of up to $40,000 over four years for eligible Pittsburgh Public School District graduates.

Saleem Ghubril, who heads the Pittsburgh Promise, said the organization has provided scholarships to 7,000 students over the past eight years.

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