Wednesday, March 14, 2007
We have intentionally avoided the topic of our Pittsburgh Penguins search for a new home because, frankly, no jobs angle could be developed until the details of a deal became public. Now that it has, the discussion can begin on just what this will mean for southwest Pennsylvania from a quality of life standpoint (of which employment has a majority stake). Locking the Pens up for 30 years will not only maintain hundreds of direct and thousands of indirectly dependent jobs in the area, its value to our collective psyche is beyond quantification. Most of us know we live in a metro area that has bled a large percentage of our youth to other cities due to the lack of opportunity both real and perceived. Losing the Pens, who’s core audience is the youngest of all professional sports, would have contributed to the perception that our ‘Burgh continues to die a slow death. Having reached the deal to keep them is the single biggest impact, each of the 3 government officials involved, will have on our lives during their careers. Governor Ed Rendell, County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl each deserve high praise on a job well done. The point to all this is the impact for this deal will not only keep and grow hourly jobs in Pittsburgh directly, it will greatly enhance the ability of corporations to recruit professional candidates from outside our area as well as retain those already here, which will indirectly increase the needed hourly support jobs (restaurant, hospitality, healthcare, retail and banking just to name few). The prospect of future hourly employment in the Pittsburgh region, already good, just became better!