PublicSource spoke to more than a dozen local and national experts and public officials to gauge what kind of impact Amazon might have on Pittsburgh’s housing, job market, tech sector, education system and local governments. Here are six things that are likely to happen were Pittsburgh to become the HQ2 city.
It’s increasingly possible to earn a living wage without attending college, but recent high school graduates often lack the skills to enter those occupations and the awareness that such career opportunities exist in the first place. Several for-profit and nonprofit organizations in the region have stepped in to address the various barriers to high school graduates gaining skilled employment, including lack of technical skills, career readiness or “soft skills,” and contemporary career awareness.
However, a recent report from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development signals that advantage for truck drivers may be temporary. Using a study from the University of Oxford, the conference determined that 39 percent of workers (about 435,000 people) in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) are in jobs at high risk of automation. All of the jobs characterized by the conference as 'high risk' were assigned an 85 percent or higher likelihood of automation in the Oxford study.
A community activist group announced Thursday that it filed an amicus brief on behalf of several news organizations, including PublicSource, that are fighting in court to make Pittsburgh’s Amazon HQ2 bid and related documents public. The American Civil Liberties Union in Pennsylvania, among other groups, has signed onto the amicus brief. ACLU Legal Director Vic Walczak said on Thursday to about a dozen people gathered in front of the City-County Building Downtown that Amazon would cause “an earthquake of unprecedented magnitude for this region.” He said everything from housing to the local economy to local politics would be affected. “No person will be unaffected, and you're going to have issues of fairness and justice abound everywhere,” he said. “Under those circumstances, it’s absolutely essential that the government activity that can lead to this earthquake must be made public.”
The protesters in attendance called on Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to release details of what the city offered the online retail giant to lure it to Pittsburgh.
What kind of help is helpful? That’s the tension that Ben and Betty, the garden’s founder, are to this day navigating together. A predominantly African-American community, Larimer has endured decades of blight, racial bias and violence.
When Amazon launched a national search to find a home for its second headquarters, the corporate giant said it was looking for a site that could offer access to major highways, a population of more than one million people, tax breaks and other financial incentives. Cities across North America, including Pittsburgh, spent weeks and money ($300,000 to $400,000 in Pittsburgh’s case) to formulate pitches that would stand out to Amazon as a suitable HQ2 location. A group focused on equitable development in Southwest Pennsylvania believes it should be a two-way road. If members of the Community Power Movement had it their way, the city would be demanding just as much in return from Amazon as the company is requesting from the applicant cities. No one really knows what regional officials have asked for in return, other than the implied infusion of jobs and development.
I moved to Pittsburgh from Germany about a year ago as the wife of a science nomad. For my husband, coming here meant giving his career a real boost. For me, it meant a range of limitations that I think no adult should be subjected to.
Jackie Smith, Ashley Cox, Dan Kubis, Rachel Brown, Adam Clark… The list read before the City of Pittsburgh Planning Commission on Tuesday afternoon included the names of almost 1,300 people who wrote letters to the commission, opposing the development plan proposed by LG Realty for the former site of Penn Plaza Apartments. After more than four hours, the commission voted to approve design plans for the $150 million development in East Liberty. One year following the controversial demolition of Penn Plaza and after six months of mediation between the community and developers, LG Realty presented plans to put commercial retail space, a park and several office buildings at the former site of affordable housing. About 30 to 40 people spoke at the meeting, some of them in support of the project. A few of them took their three minutes of time at the podium to read the names of the people who submitted letters opposing the Pennley Park South Redevelopment Plan.
The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority [URA] has agreed to lease the 1,533-foot-long produce terminal to Chicago-based McCaffery Interests for 99 years, with the option to buy it in 15 years after the first phase of development is completed.