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W. Homestead : Innovation & Startups

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New weekly online magazine Keystone Edge captures the story of the PA economy

From Erie to Philadelphia, a new economy is emerging in Pennsylvania and Keystone Edge plans to tell the story.

The new online magazine is the ninth and latest publication created by Detroit-based Issue Media Group, a company dedicated to promoting an alternative urban narrative in cities and regions from Michigan to Pennsylvania and beyond. 

Pop City Media was among the first e-zines launched by IMG more than 2 years ago. Other publications include Metromode in Southeast Michigan, SoapBox in Cincinnati and Capital Gains in Lansing.

Keystone Edge promises the latest news on emerging tech sectors and industries in Pennsylvania. The e-zine is available for free by email each Thursday and will feature fresh, original writing, creative photography, videos and blogs as it highlights innovative new businesses, cool places to live and creative people behind the scenes across the state.

"Alternative energy, robotics, advanced healthcare, sustainable building and urban design—these are the industries of the future and we want to show where and how they are emerging here in Pennsylvania,” says John Davidson, managing editor. “There's a lot to cover."

In addition to Davidson, who is based in Philadelphia, the staff includes Joseph Plummer, a former Pittsburgh Post Gazette editor and Pittsburgh Technology Council executive, and Michael Persico, a Philadelphia-based freelance photographer.

"We speak to, and with, the leaders of the future economy," adds Brian Boyle, publisher of KE and co-founder of IMG. "Keystone Edge is about challenging how you see your state and its future."

To receive Keystone Edge free each week, click here.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: John Davidson, Keystone Edge; Brian Boyle, Issue Media Group


Pittsburgh region to benefit from two new STEM education centers

The shortage of science, technology, engineering and math talent—known as STEM—in the nation will receive a major boost with the creation of two  STEM Centers here.
 
The Pittsburgh Public Schools’ new Science and Technology Academy magnet school plans to open in the fall of 2009. Another center is in the preliminary phase, a $40 million vocational career center that will replace the Fayette Area Vocational-Technical School in Georges Township. The center would be built in the University Technology Park next to Penn State Fayette, the Eberly Campus.

The centers, if the Fayette center is approved, will be two of 100 secondary schools promoting science education nationwide through the federal Stem Center Grant Program.

This month Pittsburgh launched a new website to assist parents of students who are considering applying to the magnet program. (To view the website, click here.)

The Pittsburgh program, Dream, Discover, Design, is available to students who live within the boundaries of the city school district. The academy will be located in the Frick building in Oakland.

In an effort to attract a diverse pool of passionate students, the district has devised an innovative “weighted lottery” that it hopes will become a model for similar schools across the country.

“We want to create a school that supports students as they become the best in these fields, students with a passion who are not necessarily the highest achievers in their own schools,” explains Samuel Franklin, project manager. “It’s still a lottery, anyone can apply, but if you meet certain criteria you can enter your application additional times.”

Ron Sheba, manager of the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council, notes:  “What will make this development unique is it will not only address STEM education, but it will be a STEM center for research and training as well as offer the business sector a space for business development and training.”

To receive Pop City free every week, click here.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Samuel Franklin, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Ron Sheba, Fay-Penn Economic Development Council


Pittsburgh doctors offered access to latest in electronic health record technology

Pittsburgh area doctors have an opportunity to access to the latest in electronic health record technology through a revolutionary program being offered in the region.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI) are launching a 5-year project that will demonstrate to physicians the benefits of using state-of-the-art health record technology and give them a chance to earn almost $60,000 in incentives. The Pittsburgh region is one of four locations in the country selected for the program by CMS.

“Just imagine the quality care we can provide if every person involved in a patient’s care could access his or her health records at a moment’s notice, and also chart progress on their health status. PRHI adamantly believes that Electronic Health Records can elevate our healthcare system,” says Dr. Karen Wolk Feinstein, president, CEO and founder of PRHI.

Any primary care practice in Southwestern PA with 20 or fewer providers is eligible. Highmark is also making $29 million available to help practices purchase and/or implement the new technology. The application process is underway and runs through November 26th.

Electronic health records gives doctors and medical professionals access to information across a broad spectrum, connecting laboratories, pharmacies, hospitals, even patients with information. The system can be critical in the treatment and management of chronic diseases, streamline processes and reduce medical errors.

For more information on the EHR demonstration or to apply for the program, click here or call 412-594-2554.

To receive Pop City every week, click here.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Karen Wolk Feinstein, PRHI


Visual artist Ann Hamilton among five to receive 2008 Heinz Awards

An Ohio artist who helped to design the Allegheny Riverfront Park, an environmental leader and a molecular biologist in search of a cure for malaria are among the five people named as The Heinz Awards winners this week.

The coveted $250,000 prize, given by the Pittsburgh-based Heinz Family Foundation, recognizes individual excellence as well as qualities of the heart and mind. Awarded to those who’ve made a substantial contribution in one of five areas, it is among the largest individual achievement prizes in the world.

“The awards are important reminder for the region of the life of Sen. John Heinz,” says Kim O’Dell, director The Heinz Awards. “As future generations emerge fewer people will know of his life’s work, which is reflected by these recipients.”

The recipients this year include:

Arts and Humanities: Ann Hamilton of Columbus, Ohio, a provocative visual artist whose local projects include the design of the Allegheny Riverfront Park in Pittsburgh as well as several sculptures and the handrail there.

Environment: Thomas FitzGerald, founder and director of the Kentucky Resources Council, an environmental advocacy organization that promotes environmental responsibility and protects citizens from harm.

Human Condition: Brenda Krause Eheart, founder of Generations of Hope and Hope Meadows in Champaign, Illinois, an intergenerational neighborhood that brings together foster children, adoptive parents and seniors.

Public Policy: Robert Greenstein, founder and executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which analyzes the impact of federal and state budgets on low- and moderate- income families.

Technology, the Economy and Employment: Joseph DeRisi, a molecular biologist, researcher and inventor from San Francisco who is working to crack the genetic code for malaria.

To receive Pop City each week, click here.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Kim O'Dell, Russ Martz, The Heinz Family Foundation


Pittsburgh Regional Indicators reports strong July job performance

While the national economy continued to slide in July, Pittsburgh’s regional job rate showed solid growth, posting better gains than many benchmark regions in the country according to the Pittsburgh Regional Indicators.

The Pittsburgh region reported 4,300 more jobs in July 2008 compared to July 2007 and had higher job growth than 8 out of 14 benchmark regions, including Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis. Private sector jobs totaled $1,035,600 in July, an increase of 5,400 over July 2007. Only five benchmark cities added private jobs at a higher rate. To read the latest figures in PittsburghToday, click here.

“I think the numbers are very encouraging,” says John Craig, president of Pittsburgh Regional Indicators. “From the very beginning we said we want to measure jobs. Compared to what is going on nationally and among benchmark cities, we’re doing relatively well.”

While the Pittsburgh population has been on the decline, the number of people employed in our region is rising due in part to changes in traditional work practices. “Our labor force is getting back up to being very close to the best days we’ve had in 2001,” Craig adds.

Among the positive notes was the acceleration in Leisure and Hospitality and Administrative and Support Services jobs. Nearly 2,800 jobs were added in these two sectors. Additionally, the Education and Health Services sector continued to post gains, having created 5,300 new jobs in the last 12 months.

Pittsburgh economic prognosticator and columnist Harold Miller agrees in part. “It certainly puts us in a better position than places (in the country) that lose jobs. Part of the reason we’ve stayed ahead is because such a big proportion of our jobs are in healthcare and higher education, economic sectors that are resistant (to a recession).”

The numbers, of course, can be daunting. Meet John Craig and Harold Miller and learn what the numbers really mean at the next CityLIVE event on September 10th.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: John Craig, Harold Miller, Pittsburgh Regional Indicators

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