Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What People Who Want to Live Here, But Can't Find Jobs, Say

Does slow job growth really cause net outmigration? The following are two anonymous comments made on an earlier post about the region's loss of population.

Comment #1:
I’ve been hearing about the aging scenario for years, but especially since 1999 when we first moved back to Pittsburgh from our native New York. Then I was the most enthusiastic transplant you ever saw, extolling the virtues of my “second home” to all and sundry. We lived in Squirrel Hill, had little kids and the close proximity to the zoo, the Phipps, the Science Center etc was wonderful. We owned our own home and were determined to stay in Pittsburgh and make a go of it.

Then 2004 came and I was about to graduate with a dual law degree and Master in Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh. I had an impressive resume, I networked endlessly, for months before graduation. Yet in the end, the only job offer I received was back in New York, where a native Pittsburgher had settled 30 years earlier and literally created a position for me.

Thus, we had to sell our beautiful and unique home in the city, move all our children including our autistic son from their hometown and settle back in NY. Not that there aren’t advantages to living closer to relatives etc, but we were essentially settled in Pittsburgh and wanted to stay.

Last year I attended an alumni dinner where I heard the usual moaning about the aging population etc – an old story, pun intended. I got out my trusty soapbox and told these folks - here they were professors and administrators at a top rated graduate school – they had the power to change this. They could create programs to secure at least a handful of graduates to the Pittsburgh area with decent paying jobs, they could work with local industry and organizations, etc. These are things I would have worked on had I stayed, but alas, they looked at me with blank stares.

Unfortunately, a vicious circle has evolved where the lack of young people means less innovation and less innovation either fails to attract young people or outright discourages them from settling in Pittsburgh.

By May of 2006 we sold our house in Pittsburgh and the city lost two wage
earners in their 30s and five children ages 10 years to 12 months.

Now I’m in New York, where so much opportunity abounds it borders on the ridiculous. I was recruited to one position, was unhappy and left and have received so many calls from recruiters I turn half of them away. Sometimes for the heck of it I apply to something on the UPMC website and never hear a thing.

It’s a shame, because never have I seen a city have so much opportunity and squander it all. You can multiply me by many other young people. My son has a special ed teacher here in NY that has been trying to get back to Pittsburgh for two years and can’t find a job. I know of a babysitter who tried for a year to secure an occupational therapist job in the Pittsburgh area and finally had to settle in
Ohio. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh is reaping what it has sown.

Comment #2:

It is very frustrating that Pittsburgh cannot get its economy moving. I would love to move back, but the job market is just so anemic, I'm very leary about giving up a good job in Tampa. Tampa is not an interesting city, but it has jobs. If only Pittsburgh had population growth and increasing employment. I really fault the city leaders for making the buisness environment so pathetic. Are they all so tied to the unions, special interests and party lobbyists that make it lucrative for them but no one else? Apparently so.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a CMU grad and I've been trying to live here for about 6 months now. The best job I've had so far is as a Baker at a chain restaurant.

I scour the job sites and newspapers, but almost all businesses in Pittsburgh are either looking for experienced professionals or for service industry/clerical positions. If you don't have a computer science degree, there are no entry-level jobs in this city as far as I can tell.

I honestly can't figure out how to live in Pittsburgh and still make enough money to pay for my very expensive, but ultimately unprofitable degree.

5:14 PM  

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