Best Practices - Vol. IV

Mayor Tom Murphy

Neighborhood Employment Centers

Pittsburgh's future depends on the viability of its neighborhoods. In an effort to attract and retain jobs, the City is investing in its neighborhoods through initiatives like the Neighborhood Employment Centers (NECs).

The NECs serve as One-Stop employment centers for job seekers and employers. Their mission is to "put Pittsburgh to work." When employers have positions to fill, the NECs screen applicants and identify qualified candidates. Residents, meanwhile, have access to job placement services (e.g., resume preparation, mock interviews), labor market information, and referrals to training providers and social service agencies. Services are free and are provided on a universal basis.

The NECs are overseen by the City's Pittsburgh Partnership. The Pittsburgh Partnership, a division of the Department of Personnel and Civil Service Commission, administers the City's employment and training programs for dislocated workers, welfare recipients, and economically-disadvantaged adults and youths. The Partnership's Business Development Unit helps local employers reduce the time and costs associated with recruiting, screening and training new employees.

The Pittsburgh Partnership contracts with six neighborhood-based organizations with experience in local development to manage the nine NECs. This approach fosters community participation and empowerment. The Pittsburgh Partnership sets performance goals, provides marketing assistance, and convenes monthly meetings to provide the NECs with opportunities to share information and discuss mutual concerns. Each center also has its own advisory board.

The City of Pittsburgh has appropriated $250,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to the NECs to serve more than 2,000 residents during 1997. The NECs are expected to match these funds with cash and in-kind contributions.

Contact: Pittsburgh Partnership, (412) 255-2696

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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