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Website introduces potential Yinzers to life in Pittsburgh

| Sunday, July 7, 2013, 11:24 p.m.
imaginepittsburgh.com
This is a screen grab from the website imaginepittsburgh.com's page called 'Meet The Neighbors.'

Call it Pittsburgh's remedy for that old lament: “You can pick your friends but not your neighbors.”

The redesigned website of ImaginePittsburgh.com includes a “Meet the Neighbors” section profiling almost three dozen people who live, work and play in the 'Burgh.

“We love our neighbors here in Pittsburgh and are hoping the rest of the world will, too,” said Bill Flanagan, executive vice president of corporate relations at the Allegheny Conference of Community Development, the organization that spearheaded the initiative to attract and retain workers.

Almost 30,000 jobs are open in the 10-county region, and tens of thousands more are expected to be during the next seven years, Allegheny Conference officials said. The combination of companies producing jobs and baby boomers' retirements will increase the demand for skilled workers here.

A report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce projects that by 2020, there will be 24 million job openings nationally, from new jobs and 31 million openings because of baby boomers' retirements.

In addition to job listings, Imagine-Pittsburgh.com profiles the region's attractions and its neighborhoods.

It's about “real people, real jobs and real communities,” said Laura Fisher, senior vice president for special projects at the Allegheny Conference. “It's the job, but it's building a life.”

Initial feedback to this “personalizing” of Pittsburgh and its opportunities is positive, officials said.

“The concept of telling stories through the neighbors might be getting some traction,” Flanagan said.

The website makes it easier for people thinking about coming here to “see it,” said Andrew T. Stephen, assistant professor of business administration and Katz fellow in marketing at the University of Pittsburgh.

“It's vivid, relatable,” he said.

Bryan Brantley, one of the neighbors featured on the website, came here from Youngstown, Ohio, to attend law school at Duquesne University, never expecting to stay. He planned to head to New York or Washington after graduation.

Instead, he saw Pittsburgh becoming a corporate hub and landed a job with McGuireWoods LLP, Downtown.

“I wanted to work here,” said Brantley, 34, of Deutschtown, who found the city “vibrant and affordable.”

Phase one of the Allegheny Conference initiative focuses on attracting and retaining midcareer professionals; phase two will address occupations demanding more than a high school diploma but less than a college degree; and phase three will focus on career awareness among young people, targeting students in grades 7 through 12.

Craig Smith is a Trib Total Media staff writer. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or csmith@tribweb.com.

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