PITTSBURGH, Sept. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Three Pittsburgh organizations announced today that they have been awarded $1.95 million from the federal government to accelerate the creation of jobs and economic growth in underserved communities that have, to date, not benefitted from the resurgence of industries such as energy and healthcare. The Hill House Association (HHA), The Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone (PCKIZ) and the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE), in collaboration with other partners, are jointly implementing one of twenty projects nationally that were awarded through the multi-agency Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. The communities to be targeted through the program are the Hill District, East Liberty, Garfield, Larimer, Lincoln and Homewood.
"Our proposal addresses longstanding racial economic disparities in our region," said William Generett Jr. President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone. "It creates opportunities for residents of communities that haven't yet benefited from the region's economic transformation."
PCKIZ, the Hill House Economic Development Corporation, the Hill Community Development Corporation and Innovation Works will promote entrepreneurship and innovation in underserved communities to spur community development and job creation.
HHA, Community College of Allegheny County, and the Hill District Development Corporation will recruit individuals in distressed neighborhoods to participate in training programs that will prepare them for career advancement in the energy and healthcare fields.
"Collectively these activities will produce a critical mass of programming that will have a substantial impact on these neighborhoods," says Cheryl Hall-Russell, President and CEO of the Hill House Association. "Hill House looks forward to partnering with CCAC and Hill CDC to provide advanced job training opportunities for individuals."
The IEE and Duquesne University's Small Business Development Center will provide individualized business management consulting and educational programs to emerging and existing business owners.
"The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence has great respect for entrepreneurs and believes that they are the lifeblood of the community -- providing jobs and leadership at a time when both are sorely needed. This grant will enable the Institute to continue its work within communities like the Hill District and provide support to entrepreneurs so that they can sustain and grow their businesses," said Christine Kush, Associate Director of IEE.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and program partners have been quick to weigh in with their excitement for this new program. "Congratulations to the dedicated organizations who championed this effort," said Ravenstahl. "Connecting residents in the Hill District and East End neighborhoods to the new jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities provided by the energy and health care sectors is essential to the continued revitalization of those communities."
Christina Gabriel, president of the University Energy Partnership, a research and innovation collaboration among five regional universities – Carnegie Mellon University, Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and West Virginia University – and a strong long-time advocate for this cause in Pittsburgh adds "we look forward to working with these Hill District organizations to develop a cluster of energy technology businesses that will offer exciting career paths for all of our region's citizens."