Mayor Ed Gainey and Pittsburgh Public Schools leaders announced a new partnership for workforce development that could be an early collaboration between the city and the school district since the superintendent and the mayor took office this year. 

The “Prepare to Prosper” workforce development partnership is a joint effort between the Office of the Mayor and the Career and Technical Education [CTE] division of Pittsburgh Public Schools. 

Other partners include Argo AI, a software company developing autonomous vehicle technology and Partner4Work, a workforce development organization. 

In July, Gainey offered his administration’s support to the school district when Wayne Walters was appointed the new superintendent. 

“This relationship, right here, is extremely important,” Gainey said to Walters Friday. “There is no I, there is only we. And as we grow, the city grows. And as the city grows, you grow because we open up opportunities. So I want to thank you for your partnership.” 

This relationship, right here, is extremely important.

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey

A 2020 study by the Pew Research Center found that the unemployment rate among youth aged 16-24 was 25.3%, significantly higher than for workers 25 and over. 

Angela Mike, executive director of Career and Technical Education, said that the partnership will help students develop workforce skills, prepare them for higher education and move them forward into careers that can provide family-sustaining wages. 

In the CTE program, career counselors initiate recruitment in ninth grade and administer interest surveys to help students to decide whether to go into the three-year program.

The partnership will allow the students in the program to shadow local companies and eventually move to paid internships within city departments and with industry partners including Argo AI. Currently, there are 40 to 50 companies that will provide these opportunities to students as part of the partnership, said Mike.  

CTE works with various companies in the health sector including UPMC, Allegheny Health Network and Presbyterian Senior Care who train and hire students. They are also working with PartnerUp to provide career development and soft skills to students. Apart from businesses and industries, they are also collaborating with trade unions to train students. 

The city and the CTE have also partnered with Partner4Work, which will provide strategic alliances, funding and resources. 

“Our job is to connect job seekers with employers,” said Partner4Work CEO, Robert Cherry. 

The program is funded with donations for equipment, transportation or technology to help students in the program. 

“We as leaders have an obligation and a responsibility to you. We need to create as many pathways to prosperity as possible,” said Gainey. “Whatever level of higher learning you want to get to, we need to provide a pathway to get there.”

Lajja Mistry is PublicSource’s K-12 education reporter. She can be reached at lajja@publicsource.org.

Do you feel more informed?

Help us inform people in the Pittsburgh region with more stories like this — support our nonprofit newsroom with a donation.

Lajja is the K-12 Education Reporter at PublicSource. Originally from India, she moved to the States in 2021 to pursue a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California. Before...