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Amazon acquires local startup Shoefitr

Last week’s acquisition of Shoefitr by Amazon should bring a long-awaited sigh of relief for the online retail giant as well as for footwear customers turned off by the order and return process.

The Oakland-based software company Shoefitr personalizes the online shoe buying process. The technology helps shoppers to order comfortable, precisely fitted shoes and enables online footwear retailers to recommend sizes for customers.

The company was started in 2010 by Carnegie Mellon University graduate Matt Wilkinson, along with fellow alumni Breck Fresen and Nick End. Initially, Shoefitr focused on running shoes before digging into heels and other footwear options.

The size, brand and style-specific technology is designed to get the right fit, which lessens the high rate of return that online shoe sellers (and clothing apparel retailers alike) regularly experience.

It works like this: Customers enter their shoe size and the basic information from a favorite, current well-fitting shoe. Then Shoefitr matches it with footwear in its database to recommend the size and styles that provide a similar fit. It takes into account variables such as shape, sole thickness, and weight, giving customers comparisons against their current pair.

Presently, Shoefitr works with more than 1,000 brands worldwide, according to its website. The number is expected to grow as the acquisition by Amazon is finalized.

Learn more about the online shoe buying process using Shoefitr here.

Local companies make Forbes list of best employers

Four major companies from our region are among Forbes magazine’s 2015 best U.S. employers: The University of Pittsburgh, PPG, Alcoa and Mylan.

Of the four, Pitt came in at No. 91 -- the only one that placed in the top 100. With a local, full-time force numbering upwards of 12,000 workers, Pitt also stands among the city’s big three non-government employers.

Not far behind, PPG landed on the list at No. 159. Alcoa followed at 223. The pharmaceutical giant Mylan claimed its spot at No. 292; its Washington County headquarters made it the only ranked Pittsburgh-area company located outside of the city.

Also listed within regional proximity was Sheetz. Headquartered in Altoona, Blair County, the massive convenience center-gas chain continues to hold a hefty presence in Pittsburgh. It came in at No. 181.

The top 500 U.S. employers were chosen based on an independent survey given to 20,000 employees across 25 different industries. All employees responded anonymously. The survey was administered to larger companies and institutions with a minimum workforce of 2,500, including U.S. divisions of international firms.

View all 500 companies here.  

 

Braddock continues to benefit from Levi's advertising campaign

After the 2010 Levi’s ad campaign that contributed more than $1 million to the struggling town of Braddock, the outcomes of corporate sponsorships are still followed. A recent article in the international magazine The Week profiles the Braddock-Levi Strauss relationship while examining the broader questions that remain about corporate sponsorships and towns everywhere clamoring for their funds.

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman maintains that residents continue to benefit from the campaign.

"The campaign pays dividends every single day in our community," Fetterman said in the article. "There are no logos, no sponsorship, nothing attached to this except that Levi's appreciates the struggle and are genuinely proud to be part of it."

Read the full article here.
 

Mini Grants awarded to underserved communities

Each year, Vibrant Pittsburgh and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh provide the Mini Grants Initiative: Civic Inclusion & Engagement Fund to promote underserved or minority communities in the region. Grants were awarded to 16 winners this year.

The winners include:
  • Navigating Pittsburgh/Navegando Pittsburgh Summit for a bilingual event for Hispanic newcomers;
  • Pittsburgh Chinese Cultural Festival to build awareness of Pittsburgh’s Chinese community;
  • Livin’ Out Loud 2 for education regarding bullying against LGBT youth;
  • English Language Accelerator, a program for 9th- and 10th-grade recent immigrants to master English.
Review the complete list of winners of the Mini Grants Initiative here.



 

Earth Day celebrates sustainability and success

The worldwide Earth Day event on April 22 has special significance here in Pittsburgh. This year, Pittsburgh Earth Day marks the recent advancements our city has created in sustainability, technology, and innovation.

Involvement in the day’s lineup springs from sources ranging from the local business community gathering for a speakers’ breakfast to the fashion shows, exhibitors, music, pop-up dance party and the food truck festival that will follow.

Events will take place throughout the day in Market Square and Mellon Square in Downtown and Schenley Plaza in Oakland.

See the full lineup of events here.

 

Pitt sociology professors publish groundbreaking study on domestic violence

The American Sociological Review recently published a first-of-its-kind study that investigates the earning history and potential of Pennsylvania women who applied for a Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders.

Written by University of Pittsburgh Sociology Professors Melanie Hughes and Lisa Brush,“The Price of Protection” examines the effects on women’s earnings before, during and six years after petitioning for PFAs.

The study found “shocks and stalls” in the women’s earning potential in the first year after filing and beyond. These were often due to time off for medical care and court appointments or to find safe housing for herself and/or children in the family.

Since the effects of domestic violence on women’s work and earning potential hasn’t been extensively studied, Hughes and Brush’s work has been highly publicized with features in the New York Times and Jezebel.

Read the full study in the American Sociological Review here.
 

New York Times spotlights Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

The New York Times credits the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh for leading a current movement among U.S. museums.  

The trend originated when the museum moved to its current location on the North Side to accommodate the ever-growing number of visitors in the late 1990s. Once the museum moved, however, a surplus of space existed with a shortage of content to exhibit. The need to fill the space prompted museum leaders to lease it in order to generate income outside of the typical exhibits and special events. 

Over time, museums across the country with similar concerns took notice and followed the lead of the Children's Museum. Now the museum administrators offer consultations on how to expand revenue opportunities to institutions across the country.

More details in the full article here.
 

Three Rivers Arts Festival now voted No. 1

The probability of rain during the Three Rivers Arts Festival’s 10-day run each year can't spoil the fun of festival goers. Nor has it dampened the interest of the experts at USA Today, who nominated 20 arts festivals across the United States so that readers may cast their votes for the top 10.

Of those 20 nominations, USA Today readers are currently ranking the Three Rivers Arts Festival at No. 1. It leads similarly sized arts events in major metro centers like New York City, San Francisco and Chicago.

Readers can vote until 11:59 a.m. on April 13 and may cast no more than one vote per day.

Check current rankings and cast your vote.

Grove City College exhibits WWII vintage propaganda posters

Last year, more than 170 rare World War II propaganda posters were found in the Rare Book Room of Grove City College's Henry Buhl Library. The vintage posters represent those widely distributed between 1941 and 1945 and contained messages that encouraged home-front sacrifice, workplace production and bond drives.

The collection includes iconic posters by Norman Rockwell and the rare work of French graphic designer Jean Carlu, among others. Some posters, discovered still folded as originally sent during the war years, have never been displayed until now.

Fighting for Freedom: Grove City College’s World War II Exhibit” continues through March 27.

Forbes ranks Pittsburgh among the 25 best places to retire

Forbes magazine released this year’s best places to retire, and Pittsburgh once again made the cut. The alphabetical listing considers data such as housing and other costs of living, taxes, crime rates, weather and air quality as well as doctor availability and the accessibility to an active lifestyle such as walking, bicycling or volunteering.

Pittsburgh returned to the 2015 list due to the city’s cost of living advantages as well as the “strong economy mixed with big city amenities and elements of a college town,” according to Forbes.

Read the complete listing and details here.

 

CMU grad student awarded national prize for screenplay

Savannah Reich, a graduate student in the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama dramatic writing program, won the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Student Grand Jury Prize from the Tribeca Film Institute for Best Science-Themed Screenplay. The award recognizes the best student screenplay in the nation that uses science and technology themes in a narrative.

Reich wins $30,000 plus $20,000 if the screenplay goes into production. The Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize will boost development of the project and introduce Reich and her work to the industry at large.  

Learn more about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation here.

Google bestows honor on South Side marketing firm

ProFromGo Internet Marketing in the South Side was given a PR/Marketing award by Google for its local public relations initiative utilizing the Google Business View program.  

ProFromGo’s winning campaign provides retail stores, restaurants, and dealerships ways to invite potential customers inside their places of business. This allows would-be patrons a virtual shopping tour of the brick-and-mortar establishment, granting them an up-close view of product availability, store layout and ambiance, among other details. And because ProFromGo’s virtual tours are Google based, they can be accessed via Google Search, Google Maps and Google+ Local.

More about ProFromGo’s trek to receive the award from Google can be found here.

Pitt scores high in U.S. News & World Report rankings

A number of University of Pittsburgh schools and programs were named in the Best Graduate Schools 2016 guidebook by U.S. News & World Report.

Pitt's School of Nursing ranks No. 5 nationwide, while the School of Medicine places No. 16 in the research category and is tied at No. 19 in primary care of the Best Medical Schools. In medical specialties, Pitt came in at No. 4 in women's health.

Among public universities, Pitt's graduate programs in education, engineering and business all placed in the top 25.

The complete list of best graduate school categories and rankings can be found by ordering the U.S. News & World Report 2016 Guidebook.

Read more about the nation's top graduate programs here.

BMe Community seeks nominations for local leaders

BMe Community, a national network of inspired black men and thousands of other community-builders, of all races and genders who connect to share, inspire, and empower communities, recently launched in Pittsburgh and is seeking new BMe Leaders.

BMe is looking to identify 10 African-American men from Pittsburgh as BMe Leaders and award them each a $10,000 grant.

Nominations are open now through the end of the month and we will announce our new leaders in June. Those who wish to apply themselves are encouraged to use this link. Those who wish to nominate someone else should do so here.

Pittsburgh ranks No. 4 in health-care jobs

Pittsburgh ranks No. 4 among the top U.S. cities for health-care positions, according to Ziprecruiter.com.

The online job search site examined the ratio of health care to regular positions combined with the number of related companies in each city. Ziprecruiter then ranked the top 10 cities according to the strength of health-care employment each one offered.

Hartford, Conn., Sacramento, Calif., and Tampa, Fla., edged out Pittsburgh from the top three.

Read the full analysis here.
 
1286 Articles | Page: | Show All
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