New Program To Reward Hiring Of Pittsburgh Promise Grads

Dec 14, 2016

Pittsburgh councilman Corey O'Connor is proposing a partnership between the city and African American Chamber of Commerce that would reward businesses for hiring Promise graduates.
Credit Yoshimitsu Kurooka / flickr

A new program aims at rewarding Pittsburgh employers who hire Pittsburgh Promise scholarship recipients.

Councilman Corey O'Connor announced the program on Monday. Businesses that hire Pittsburgh Promise alumni would be eligible for grants ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.

Companies must hire a college graduate for full-time employment and retain the employee for at least six months. O'Connor says the money will benefit employers and employees. 

"It would be used for capital improvements as the company would go," O'Connor said. "For the graduate, it could be some sort of salary incentive. It could be something to help out a young person whether they need transportation assistance, clothing assistance."

Pittsburgh Promise provides scholarships of up to $40,000 to eligible Pittsburgh Public School District graduates. More than 7,000 scholarships have been given out since 2008.

O'Connor says he plans to introduce legislation on Tuesday that would direct $60,000 to the African American Chamber of Commerce to be distributed as grants.

African American Chamber of Commerce President Matt Smith said it's a way to keep Pittsburgh graduates in the city. 

"We need to do everything we can, both on the private side as well as the public side, to bear all resources to make sure that we address talent retention," Smith said. 

The chamber and Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce will try to boost the total by seeking matching funds from private groups.

90.5 WESA fellow Dan Priore contributed to this report.