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Key to staying on “the list”: Talented workforce July 14, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Workforce.
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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette relays the results of a seminar where national economic development site selection consultants discussed what would help the Steel City rise to the top of the mythical “lists” of prime economic development target cities:

Panelists said the Pittsburgh area had improved its desirability as a business location in recent years by enhancing its image and diversifying its industries, but the region needs more young adults in the workforce to attract businesses.

Still, Pittsburgh has a reputation as an educational center and a good environment for research and development, [a consultant] said.

The area could take advantage of the educational environment and keep young graduates by soliciting industries that require high skill levels, such as high-end electronics, medical fields and advanced manufacturing, said Deane Foote, of Carter & Burgess Inc., of Phoenix.

I have been fortunate to spend a fair bit of time in Pittsburgh over the past couple years, and I can testify that it has turned itself into a neat, “creative” town.  But the retention/brain drain issue is one that it needs to deal with.

It’s interesting that with all of the civic improvements and activity going on in Pittsburgh, the young professionals are not staying in sufficient numbers.  If they won’t stay there, then it must be infinitely harder to retain young adult professionals in less attractive communities.

Regardless, the site selection consultants are paying attention.  If we want to lure the next Google skunkworks to our respective regions, we should, too.

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