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City Taskforce Hopes to “PowerUp Pittsburgh”

In an effort to coordinate with President Obama's jobs bill, a collaboration of Pittsburgh business, education, and non-profit leaders announced a job creation partnership Thursday.

"PowerUp Pittsburgh" is focused on increasing technology- and innovation-based jobs in neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh that are underserved and show little growth.

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said they are renewing a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University to better serve the city. "One key dimension of this initiative is to work together and work with others to spread the benefits of the innovation economy even more broadly into the neighborhoods of the city."

The project will create a university-funded director position to help coordinate the effort, make a Director of Innovation at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, and form an Innovation Economic Panel to formulate projects.

William Generett, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone, said Pittsburgh has done well recently. "One thing that disturbs me is how bad our African American population is doing here", said Generett. "African Americans make up about 27% of the city's population and our data shows this group is one of the poorest African American groups in the country. So a lot of our work today needs to be connecting the group to the benefits of the innovation economy."

Partners in the project include the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Innovation Works, the Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone, and the Allegheny Conference.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said the new group has not decided on a single project to begin with yet, or how much money the partnership will cost.