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Economy & Business

Baby Boomer Retirement, Lack Of Minorities Leave Jobs To Fill In Western PA

There are more job openings in Pittsburgh than there are people with the matching skill sets, according to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. 

CEO Dennis Yablonsky said this mismatch between what employers are looking for and the skills potential applicants have is also a national problem.

Pennsylvania graduates many teachers, he said, but doesn’t have the same demand in the education sector as it does for nurses or other health care related fields.

“Part of what we’re working on now is to get a handle on not only where the demand is today, but where the demand is going to be over the next 10 years and then broadly educate people on that,” Yablonsky said.

More than a quarter-million baby boomers working in the region can retire in the next decade, according to conference data. But those jobs will require a different skill set from a new generation, Yablonsky said.

He said there has to be a more aggressive push to connect people to the available opportunities in the region, which could mean more training.

More than half of new births in the country are minorities and immigrants, yet only 13 percent of people living in Pittsburgh fit the same population.

Yablonsky said the conference advocates increasing visa time limits for skilled workers to pave the way for minority students who came to Pittsburgh for college to apply to stay.

“We’d love to see that cap raised or lifted so that we can, not just in Pittsburgh, but all throughout the country, keep more of these bright young people who would like to stay here to create companies, work in our existing companies and help fill some of these issues," he said.

Conference leaders will discuss strategies for this push at its annual meeting Wednesday night.