Tuesday, March 31, 2009

As Expected, Pittsburgh Region Continues to Shed Jobs in February

With about 1,500 job seekers coming to our job fair at Mellon Arena on March 24th, the 45 companies and schools in attendance are reporting one of the best qualified groups of job seekers seen in years. We knew this was the largest attendance we have had since 2003. This also coincides with the last time Pittsburgh had seen year over year job losses that approach the levels reported for February. The Pittsburgh Metro unemployment rate rose to 6.9%, up from 6.5% in January. The last time Pittsburgh had a rate this high was 1994. The state unemployment rate was 7.5 % in February and the national rate was 8.1%.

With a diversified economy, the Pittsburgh region has been better off than in past decades when steel and manufacturing accounted for a much higher percentage of jobs. Healthcare and education in particular have helped mitigate the effects of this recession buffering our area from the brunt of job losses like those seen in southern and western states. Also contributing to the relative strength of our economy is a housing industry that, because it was never part of the national housing bubble, has not seen the kinds of declines in housing values seen elsewhere.

Pittsburgh area recruiters that we speak with, though not as pessimistic as over the past three to six months, are still showing extreme caution in their hiring plans going into spring. Until they see a sustained improvement in economic news, job losses in our area will continue to mount. On the plus side, we are starting to see a slight uptick in the search for sales people in various industries.

For more details on the February Pittsburgh job market see the
Pittsburgh Tribune Review article here. For more insight into what the numbers mean visit Harold Miller's Pittsburgh's Future blog.

Monday, March 23, 2009, and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Help Pittsburgh’s Unemployed Workers

2009 Pittsburgh Diversity Employment and Career Education Expo at Mellon Arena
The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and® partner to sponsor “Putting America Back to Work” Job Fair Series in Pittsburgh, PA

This job fair is open to all job seekers and admission is free. Please enter Gate 10 at Mellon Arena from 10AM to 2PM.

Pittsburgh, PA, 3/23/2009– In response to the current economic crisis and a tightening labor market, The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and have combined efforts to bring together jobseekers with companies who seek their talents.

On Tuesday, March 24th, from 10:00AM to 2:00PM at Mellon Arena more than 40 Pittsburgh area employers and schools will meet and interview hundreds of job seekers.

Companies and schools attending include:

Army National Guard
Burns & Scalo Roofing
Community College of Allegheny County
H&R Block
CCAC/ Modern Office Systems Training
Life Pittsburgh
Mainstay Life Services
New Century Careers
Transitional Services
Waddell & Reed Financial Services
All-State Career School
Greenery Care Center
Cardworks Servicing
PIA Truck Driving School
U.S. Navy
Parkvale Bank
Giant Eagle
Market District
Giant Eagle Express
Labor-Management Clearinghouse (building trades)
Brightside Academy
City of Pittsburgh
CEP / Clayton Academy
CVS Pharmacy
Academy of Court Reporting
Verizon Wireless
Allegheny Answering Service
Reliance First Capital
Kaplan School
Gallagher Home Healthcare
Baptist Homes
Futurity First Insurance Company
CynaMed Healthcare
Lionsgate Studios, Movie Extras, "WARRIOR"
Scott Medical Center

And more

Co-sponsored by The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and, the 2009 Pittsburgh Employment and Career Education Expo is part of the “Putting America Back to Work” Job Fair Series, taking place in more than 50 cities across the country throughout 2009. The job fair series allows jobseekers to have personal contact with perspective employers.
Participating employers will seek to fill hourly to mid level positions ranging from entry-level to management and they represent industries such as health care, customer service, hospitality, finance, sales, insurance, skilled trades, transportation, security and more.

Adding to the success of this new job fair series is support from associations interested in helping their members including: the AARP Foundation, the National Urban League, and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In an era when so many are feeling depressed here’s a story about a father and a son that will help put our problems in perspective.

Read the story first…then watch the video

Rick Reilly for Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated Issue date: June 20, 2005, p. 88

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots. But compared with Dick Hoyt, I’m lousy.

Eighty-five times he’s pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he’s not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while
swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars — all in the same day.
Dick’s also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?
And what has Rick done for his father? Not much — except save his life.

love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.
“He’ll be a vegetable the rest of his life,” Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. “Put him in an institution.”
But the Hoyts weren’t buying it. They noticed the way Rick’s eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. “No way,” Dick says he was told. “There’s nothing going on in his brain.”

“Tell him a joke,” Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.
Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? “Go Bruins!” And after a high school
classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, “Dad, I want to do that.” Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described “porker” who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. “Then it was me who was handicapped,” Dick says. “I was sore for two weeks.”

That day changed Rick’s life. “Dad,” he typed, “when we were running, it felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore!” And that sentence changed Dick’s life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon. “No way,” Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren’t quite a
single runner, and they weren’t quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.
Then somebody said, “Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?”
How’s a guy who never learned to swim and hadn’t ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they’ve done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don’t you think? Hey, Dick, why not see how you’d do on your own? “No way,” he says. Dick does it purely for “the awesome feeling” he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992 — only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don’t keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time. “No question about it,” Rick types. “My dad is the Father of the Century.”

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. “If you hadn’t been in such great shape,” one doctor told him, “you probably would’ve died 15 years ago.” So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other’s life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father’s Day. That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy. “The thing I’d most like,” Rick types, “is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.”

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pink Slip Party Tuesday March 24th from 2:00PM to 5:00PM!

What is a Pink Slip Party?

A Pink Slip Party is a grass-roots phenomenon that took off during the dot com crash many years ago. They have become popular once again due to the economic conditions we all find ourselves in again. Pink Slip Parties bring together job seekers, recruiters and followers with a renewed sense of purpose and hope for the future. These gatherings offer great networking opportunities, connecting those who have been, or are about to be, pink slipped with Human Resource and recruiting professionals from companies looking for new talent.

Attending a Pink Slip Party is a smart move. If you are a job seeker, you can learn about new job opportunities and you’ll be able to showcase your talents in a relaxed, friendly environment. If you are a recruiter, you can meet with potential candidates to fill positions within your company and make a one-on-one connection that you may not get from a “typical” job interview.

This event will be downtown on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 from 2 – 5 p.m. at Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle on 2329 Penn Ave. in the Strip District right after our Diversity Employment Expo at the Mellon Arena. The event will benefiting the
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Team In Training” (TNT) program and will provide a unique opportunity for job seekers to network with local recruiters and their peers, as well as learning about the TNT endurance sports training program. A $10 donation to LLS will be collected at the door, all going to a great cause. Recruiters from throughout the Western PA area are invited to attend and are welcomed. Those interested in attending and/or sponsoring should contact Megan Nemecek at 412-697-2863, or email her at

Friday, March 6, 2009

What Should You Expect From a Job Fair?

Having put on job fairs in the Pittsburgh region for almost ten years now, we have seen the events evolve over time from both an employer and job seeker standpoint. With the maturation (and use) of the Internet as used for recruiting purposes more employers use job fairs today as a way to get face time with some of those resumes they get from their websites. Some employers consider a job fair to be informational as much as a direct interview-hire event. Many companies will actually interview at the event but still ask that you “apply online”.

Job seekers who have been to multiple job fairs over the years have a better understanding of this and therefore come better prepared. Quite often we hear job seekers complain that the particular employer they came to see was not actually interviewing at the event. Because of this they were disappointed and considered the event a waste of their time.

Although many employers do still interview at job fairs it is important for job seekers to understand what to expect from the company they most want to see. This can be done by researching the company website, looking for whether they accept applications on their website (look for a tab that says “Careers”). If you see a company is going to be at an event and want to know what to expect by going to speak with them CALL the company ahead of time and ask (do not rely on email as this has become too impersonal – you want to make an impression). Often representatives will be able to tell you what their policies are. If they will be interviewing at the event, you’ll be sure of this beforehand and can prepare accordingly. If they are there for informational purposes, that also is great! The people you speak with will usually be from the human resources department and will be a great source of information on work environment, benefits, pay structure and who an “ideal” candidate would be. This gives you an opportunity to customize your resume before you submit it on the company website and increase your chances of getting an interview. You also may find out the job isn’t really what you were looking for and allows you to focus your job searching efforts in a better direction.

Whether you are a job seeker or a recruiter those that get the most from any job fair are those who best sell themselves and either their skill-set or the company they represent. Company representatives should never just sit behind their tables frowning at job seekers as they walk by. Stand in front of your table and greet people. Job seekers should always smile and be prepared to ask lots of questions about the company and what it is like to work there.

Having a the best possible idea of what you will get at a job fair ahead of time, whether you are doing the hiring or looking for employment, will help make any job fair better and more productive for you.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Free Job Training From the Emmaus Community of Pittsburgh for Direct Support Professionals Who Work w/ Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (MH/MR)

We received this notice from Facebook

Do you know someone who is looking for a new, more rewarding career or is currently unemployed? Please help us pass on the information below!

On March 30, the Emmaus Community of Pittsburgh, in conjunction with CCAC and other providers, will be commencing the second session of it's FREE 8-week training program, the Direct Support Professional Education Program.

As unemployment in our region climbs, the need for direct support professionals who work with persons with intellectual disabilities (mental retardation) in community residential settings (i.e., group homes) remains high! If you or someone you know is interested in exploring a new career helping others, please contact us for more information or for an application by calling 412-381-0277.

The class runs 8 weeks and is held at the CCAC-Northside campus. Participants receive training on the history and current state of the MR system and the job responsibilities of a direct support professional, as well as a hands-on practicum with a local provider and all of the certifications required for hire in the field (including CPR/First Aid and medication administration).

This is a FANTASTIC opportunity to get involved in a highly rewarding line of work. The course is provided FREE of charge, thanks to a generous grant from FISA Foundation. All graduates receive a Certificate from CCAC and are qualified to work as direct support professionals with potential for advancement in the field.For more info, please call Emmaus at 412-381-0277.

Truly a 'Burgh Thing!

Truly a 'Burgh Thing!
by Randy Bish, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Job News and Information for Job Seekers and Recruiters

Job News and Information for Job Seekers and Recruiters