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Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen.
Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen. | Show Photo

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Pittsburgh needs youth to replace our rapidly retiring workforce, study says

Pittsburgh is facing a critical shortage of younger workers ready to move into jobs that will become available as a result of retirements in the workforce in the next 10 years. What can we do about it?
 
“Does Aging Matter? Workforce aging and its implication for collaborative talent management in the Pittsburgh region” was released by the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (TRWIB) this month to address the issue. 
 
The report identifies what it calls a “disturbing scarcity of skills” for local jobs, especially in the areas of advanced manufacturing, education, healthcare, utilities and the trades. Not only will this leave the region without an adequate supply of younger workers with the skills to move into the jobs, but the expertise of these older workers will be lost unless mentoring opportunities and programs are established.
 
We know we live in an aging community, so that’s not surprising, says Stefani Pashman, CEO of TRWIB. Still, we hadn’t quantified the retirement cliff before and the need to respond with a broad-sweeping plan. 
 
“One of the most important things we need to do is provide and recognize opportunities for youth and invest in a pipeline of workers that opens up the potential for these careers,” she says.
 
TRWIB proposes accelerating support of regional career, vocational training and technical centers to promote these careers. Students should be encouraged to pursue high-level careers in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) from kindergarten on up and go on to study these careers at community colleges and technical centers.
 
The region is already working collaboratively in this direction, notes Pashman. “But the cry is getting louder. It’s imperative on all of us to help youth and show them the multiple pathways available to them.”
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Stefani Pashman, TRWIB 
 
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