Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hill Job Center Opens

Some Hill District residents are still sore about the land grab made when the Civic Arena was built more than 40 years ago and in an effort to make sure current residents are not left out of the jobs being created by the new arena development, a special jobs center has opened in the Hill. The “Hill District First Source Center” on Center Avenue officially opened its doors Tuesday. Center coordinator Ken Nesbit says the center has advantages over other job centers in the city. He says the first advantage is that the center will get early notification of jobs at the new arena and any jobs created by the development of the 28 acres of land where the current arena sits. The center then has as much as two weeks to find qualified applicants before the job is released to the general public. Nesbit says the center is also unlike other job placement centers because it is in the hill district, focused on hill residents and able to offer referrals to special services that may not be available at other job centers. That could include access to drug treatment programs and special job training programs. The “Hill District First Source Center” opened its doors two moths ago without telling anyone and has already registered 200 people looking for jobs. Nesbit says he has already placed 6 or 7 workers. He says that is a good percentage given that fact that the center is often working with people who have major barriers to employment including criminal records, drug problems, few marketable skills, little education and no drivers licenses. Nesbit says one more advantage to the center is that Hill residents don’t have to take a bus to get the help they need. The center is slated to be open for at least two years but Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl says he hopes the city will be able to keep the center open beyond that date.

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