The City of Pittsburgh has evolved into an emergent innovation hub, a testament to the resilience of an economy that just a few decades ago was almost entirely dependent on steel. At the same time, Pittsburgh faces an unprecedented labor shortfall, with too few skilled workers to meet anticipated demand. To help address this workforce challenge, the city partnered with FUSE executive fellow Cynthia Shields.

Cynthia worked with the city’s Department of Human Resources and Civil Service to diversify the talent pool for municipal jobs. She established a new partnership between the city’s summer youth employment program, a local community college, and McDonald’s franchises that will enable more than 200 opportunity youth to attend community college at no cost. Cynthia launched the first citywide construction industry workforce partnership, which is helping to bring more diverse, skilled workers into family-sustaining wage jobs in the construction industry. These forward-looking strategies are strengthening the pipeline of skilled workers in Pittsburgh and making the workforce more adaptable to long-term economic change.