A Massaro Construction worker renovates the Irene Kauffman Theater in the Hill District. Image courtesy of Pittsburgh4Work.

The 3 Rivers Workforce Investment Board has a new name and a new missionto connect the region’s unemployed and underemployed with jobs.

Now known as Partner4Work, the organization continues serving businesses and job seekers in the region with 40,000 for 40,000, a yearlong campaign aimed at getting people back to work. The initiative was announced last night during an event at the Clemente Museum.

Partner4Work CEO Stefani Pashman says the rebrand and new campaign demonstrate their renewed commitment to delivering services through partnerships.

“Over the past few years, we have expanded our mission to include more engagement of the broader workforce development system in the region,” she adds. “We felt is was time to show who we really were and have a name that reflects that.”

The campaign will address the estimated 40,000 men and women in the region struggling to find employment by enlisting the help of around 40,000 partners who range from members of the business community to elected officials. Many of those participating, including neighborhood groups, career and tech schools and training programs, will also receive funding from Partner4Work.

“While there are many in our region who are doing exceedingly well and benefiting from the growth here, we know that there are many more who are unemployed or underemployed,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in an official statement. “By working cooperatively and collaboratively, as we always have, we can make a real impact by matching those who are in search of jobs with the many available positions in our region.”

A cooking student at Bidwell Training Center. Photo by Clif Page.
A culinary student at Bidwell Training Center. Photo by Clif Page.

A recent labor market report from Partner4Work, which was compiled from state and local data, as well as information from sources such as CareerLink, showed that lack of employment in Pittsburgh cuts across racial lines, skill levels and educational backgrounds. At 55 percent, men make up the bulk of those affected. Minority groups represent 39 percent. In a job market that usually favors college graduates, five percent of the underemployed or unemployed population holds Master’s degrees.

Pashman says one challenge they face is finding high-quality jobs, as a large percentage of open positions in the region require few skills and pay a lower wage.

“We certainly appreciate the work our economic development partners do on job creation, and that has to continue,” says Pashman. “At the same time, we try and talk about real pathways, where we get people in at entry level and help them continue to grow into opportunities as they become available.”

In order to reach the 40,000 goal, Partner4Work plans on adding more partners over time. People interested in participating in the campaign can fill out a form on the organization’s website. While hiring and training are priorities, there’s also a need for various other contributions, such as providing transportation to a job or reviewing resumes.

“We want to make it much more tangible for people,” says Pashman. “It’s not necessarily that we’re launching new programs. It’s more about connecting people to the work we’re doing and the work they could be doing to be helpful.”

Amanda Waltz

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.