Bonnie Pfister

Looking for a new gig? There’s lots to choose from in the 10-county Pittsburgh region — with some 20,000  jobs open today via the job search engine. That’s a one-stop aggregator of career postings updated daily from more than 1,000 job boards and corporate websites.

Here are few of the jobs available from our Featured Employers

Insurance Agent at Howard Hanna Real Estate Services

Civil Engineer at FirstEnergy

Information Security Manager at Highmark

PC Applications Analyst at Dollar Bank

GIS Technicians at Peoples Natural Gas

Not quite what you were looking for? Check out our Neighbors page to see what kinds of careers other young and mid-career professionals are pursuing. You can reach out to the Neighbors for networking ideas via the LinkedIn addresses include in their profiles. You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter, or follow us by RSS feedFacebookTwitterLinkedIn or our other social media channels.

Laura Fisher

This article first appeared in the May 8, 2015 edition of the Pittsburgh Business Times

“Could the next Brooklyn be Pittsburgh?” asks the headline of a recently published article in Brooklyn Based, a popular online magazine about all things Brooklyn. In the piece, the writer interviews seven former Brooklynites who flocked to Pittsburgh to seek out opportunity. She poses the obvious question: Why Pittsburgh?

This isn’t the first time that Pittsburgh has been compared to another hip, fast growing region in the country. It was only a few years ago that the Washington Post declared Pittsburgh “in” and Portland, Ore., “out.” And recently, Cleveland State University noted that Pittsburgh was best positioned to be “the next Boston.” Our region’s high quality of life, relatively low cost of living, and availability of jobs continues to attract national attention. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Brooklyn is taking notice.

bbFor the former Brooklynites interviewed, much of their initial reasoning for leaving New York City’s fastest growing borough had to do with cost of living. According to RealtyTrac, Brooklyn has the nation’s most unaffordable housing market when comparing median monthly household incomes to median housing prices. The same data firm also found Brooklyn is one of the least affordable areas for Millennials in the country. Compared to Pittsburgh, Brooklyn’s overall cost of living is almost twice as high.

Cost of living is important, but there are other reasons why Pittsburgh has become an attractive alternative. Our region was cited as having an abundance of economic opportunity, an educated population that is getting younger and is beginning to grow, and an authentic spirit of community and collaboration. Pittsburgh is a place where passionate, creative individuals can put down roots and feel a true sense of belonging. Opportunity is on the rise here.

This sense of real opportunity is already bringing in a population cohort that is increasingly important to our region’s future – Millennials. While it’s no secret that we have one of the nation’s oldest populations, our younger population is beginning to grow. Since 2010, Millennials have been our fastest growing age group. Between 2010 and 2013, the population of 25 to 34 year olds grew at a rate of 6.1 percent, more than twice the national rate of 2.8 percent. Conversely, the fastest growing age group nationally was 65 and over, which increased by 6.9 percent. Regionally that increase was just 2.3 percent.

Labor force participation by younger people in the region is also higher than the national average, with a 2.7 percent increase among 25 to 34 year olds compared with 0.4 percent nationally. Today, the median age in the City of Pittsburgh is 33.7, below the national average of 37.5.

These are positive trends, but as a community we have more work to do to meet the workforce demands of the future. Today our region’s working age population is home to many more people aged 45-65 than those aged 25-44 in line to replace them, a gap totaling 144,000. Despite recent positive trends (more people moving in than out and a fast-growing Latino population), our overall working age population is not growing fast enough to close this gap before the last of the Baby Boom generation leaves the workforce. There’s no silver bullet that will solve this problem. Rather, we need to be proactive in supporting a multi-pronged approach to attract, retain, educate and train more skilled workers.

The question, “Could the next Brooklyn be Pittsburgh?” is a bit misleading. Pittsburgh has its own unique community, culture and sense of place. It’s what makes us so special. It’s also what makes us attractive to those Brooklynites who are seeking a new place to call home. We must leverage our assets and work together to attract and welcome more talented individuals from Brooklyn and other regions across the country. Our region’s future depends on it.

Bonnie Pfister

There are still a few tickets left for what promises to be a lively panel discussion among several Pittsburghregion women who are leading the way in innovation and technology.

Join us at the Fairmont Hotel downtown this Thursday, May 7 for breakfast, networking and discussion that kick off the 25th anniversary of the Greater Pittsburgh Athena Awards program.

Named for the Greek goddess of strength and wisdom, the Athena Awards are unique among regional honors for professional women because of the focus on developing the next generation of female leaders through mentorship. They are convened by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, of which is an initiative.

Moderated by NEXTpittsburgh’s Tracy Certo, the panel will include:

  • Hahna Alexander, Co-Founder, SolePower
  • Ilana Diamond, Managing Director, AlphaLab Gear
  • Shelley Fant-Uku, President, FCG Solutions, Inc.
  • Nina Krietemeyer, Chief Executive Officer, Hirambo
  • Sarah A. Smyth, Service Delivery Supervisor, Chevron

Tickets are $30 and include continental breakfast. Buy them here at




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For several reasons, Megan Stearman and her husband moved to Brookline seven years ago when they were expecting their first child. “It has a walkable business district,” says Stearman, “with great parks and playgrounds and it was affordable for a young family.”

They’re still there today, now with two young children, for those reasons and more. “We’ve since stayed in Brookline because we’ve got great neighbors – some who have lived here their whole lives, and some newbies like us.

“There is a rich diversity of people here and we love that our kids are able to interact with and learn from kids of different backgrounds, languages, and cultures,” says Stearman. “Plus who doesn’t love to be able to walk a few blocks for a Saturday brunch of donuts and tacos?”

Jocelyne and Joe Chahine might agree but they represent another segment of the Brookline population. Some say they have been on a 41-year-long honeymoon in Pittsburgh.

The Lebanese natives honeymooned in Pittsburgh after their wedding in 1974 when a civil war broke out in their home country. The couple sought asylum in Brookline, working with relatives at Pitaland and in the 80s they bought the store, moving it to its current location on Brookline Boulevard.

“We were always in Brookline,” says Donna Tweardy, their daughter and now office manager of Pitaland. Similar to many stores in Brookline, Pitaland is family-run, with siblings working alongside their parents.

It’s that kind of community: family-oriented, tight-knit and traditional and as authentic as they come. But now there’s an infusion of new businesses and energy and especially, young people like the Stearman family as well as singles moving in. The affordable houses in this walkable neighborhood in the South Hills—with its rumbly bricked streets and an enviable location close to downtown Pittsburgh—have attracted the young and young families, giving Brookline one of—if not the—largest population of under 18 in the city, according to some in the neighborhood.

Las Palmas attracts customers from all over Pittsburgh. Photo by Tracy Certo

Las Palmas attracts customers from all over Pittsburgh. Photo by Tracy Certo

It’s also a community that is becoming increasingly diverse. “Diversity is part of the richness of the Brookline community. There’s an openness to diversity, and the contribution that comes from diversity. You can see it as you go down Brookline Boulevard,” says Sister Janice Vanderneck of Casa San Jose, a community resource center for Latino immigrants.

For years, Sister Janice was searching for a location for her outreach program until St. Mark’s Lutheran Church on Brookline Boulevard offered its basement. Since then, Casa San Jose has had success partnering with local businesses such as Las Palmas, the hot destination Mexican grocery on Brookline Blvd. with the ever popular taco stand, and Cannon Coffee, a charming and welcoming spot which doubles as a community hub.

“We found a very welcoming place in Brookline,” says Sister Janice who is quick to offer that they welcome volunteers and they are always seeking bilingual Pittsburghers to help with weekly outreach programs.

At Cannon Coffee on Brookline Blvd. Photo by Tracy Certo

At Cannon Coffee on Brookline Blvd. Photo by Tracy Certo

The New Brookline
“In the last five years, I’ve seen such a change, so much more of a nicer, community-based place. A lot more people are taking pride in the community. A lot more businesses are opening up and staying,” says Tweardy.

The major change has been the recent and extensive $5.3 million renovation of the long and broad Brookline Boulevard, giving the main street much-needed repairs, including extended sidewalks to accommodate more pedestrian traffic, modern lighting and landscaping, benches, bike racks and more.

It’s a main street many communities would die for.

While it has greatly enhanced the street, businesses suffered some losses while the boulevard was under construction.

During the renovations, business owners and community members alike worked together to keep the local businesses up and running, says Nathan Mallory, owner of Cannon Coffee and president of the Brookline Chamber of Commerce. Stores applied together for grants and instituted successful “shop local” campaigns during the 18-month period when store access was limited or nonexistent. “People came out of the woodwork for support during the construction,” he says.

Since the Boulevard reopened last summer, not only has there been an increase in pedestrian traffic but there has also been an increase in new businesses opening, says Mallory.

With 86 businesses on the Boulevard, which includes everything from Mateo’s, a small BYOB restaurant, to a modern and a beautiful new Carnegie Library, “We’re not trying to be the next Lawrenceville or Regent Square,” he says. “We’re emerging to be something uniquely our own.”

To get a feel for the place, Mallory suggests walking the Boulevard. The best strategy? Park at the top of Brookline Boulevard and walk down to the parklet that houses the iconic cannon so you can closely observe the street life and cluster of shops, houses and amenities. Note the welcome from business owners if you stop by.

Owner Nathan Mallory at Cannon Coffee.

Owner Nathan Mallory at Cannon Coffee.

“We’re very close knit,” explains manager of Wyld Chyld Tattoo, Rebekah Miller. “Brookline is different in that the business owners really look out for each other and others who live in our community. We also hold meetings from time to time and plan community events.”

In addition, “It has two private parks and its own community center,” says Tweardy. And Brookline regularly hosts holiday parades and festivals, uniting community members of all ages.

At Mallory’s Cannon Coffee on the Boulevard, it’s not just about a dose of caffeine. The shop is an excellent location to meet locals and become more involved in the community. “Cannon [Coffee] feels a little like home. It’s a springboard to stay engaged and connect with the community,” says Mallory.

The shop features Open Mic Nights, American Sign Language Socials and even vocational rehabilitation training. When Mallory recently applied for a Kiva business loan to expand the kitchen area, it became the fastest funded project to date.


BYOB Mateo’s is a small but popular dinner spot. Tracy Certo photo

“There are a lot of great businesses here,” Mallory says. “Pitaland has great baklava, Antonio’s has awesome pizza, and if you’re in the mood for something sweet, check out the Party Cake Shop. If you need a caffeine fix check out Cannon Coffee, and if you want to unwind with a beer, the Brookline Pub is your go-to place.”

The new, modern Carnegie Library provides a nice contrast on the Boulevard. Tracy Certo photo

The new, modern Carnegie Library provides a nice contrast on the Boulevard. Tracy Certo photo

The renovated Pitaland has a new café in the store, where shoppers can taste some of the pita freshly baked on site, along with a vast array of imported spices and traditional specialties such as hummus and baba ghannuj. Like Las Palmas, it’s a destination store that attracts customers from all over Pittsburgh.

Day trippers looking for a more structured visit can sign up for the ‘Burgh’s Bits & Bites Tour. The aptly named “Brookline: Pittsburgh’s Undiscovered Gem” was recently added to the company’s portfolio of tours, and it gives visitors a comprehensive taste of the neighborhood.

On Brookline Blvd. Photo by Tracy Certo

On Brookline Blvd. Photo by Tracy Certo

People from around the city and state are exploring Brookline for the first time on these trips, says Mallory, and he’s glad they’re visiting. “We want everyone to know what we have. We’ve worked hard, and we have something to brag about.”

See more about Brookline in this video by the Sprout Fund published earlier this week by NEXTpittsburgh.

NEXTpittsburgh staff contributed to this article.


On April 15, the final of eight pitch competitions across the nation came to Pittsburgh’s Tech Shop in Bakery Square, the last step before the final face off  for a national prize of $50,000 in startup capital and other prizes.

The contest is the brainchild of AlphaLab Gear, a leading product accelerator based in Pittsburgh, and TechShop, the nation’s premier ‘maker’ facility providing tools and knowhow for do-it-yourselfers. The AlphaLab Gear National Hardware Cup aims to find the top ideas in hardware (that is, tangible products, as opposed to software or services) in each of the eight cities where TechShop has a location. Winners from competitions earlier this year in Detroit, Washington D.C., Austin, Phoenix, San Francisco, Redwood City and San Jose will compete Wednesday, May 6 in the grand finale at AlphaLab Gear’s offices in East Liberty.

“There are so many great ideas for products that entrepreneurs dream up from their work experience as a designer or engineer, a university project that a team of students is trying to solve, or just an imaginative leap from an individual,” said Ilana Diamond, managing director of AlphaLab Gear. “We want to tap into all these brilliant ideas and give entrepreneurs a way to fund and commercialize their vision.”

The final regional contest here in Pittsburgh kicks off with a panel of local venture capitalists, investors and entrepreneurs sharing thoughts on hardware startups. Panelists include Alex Frommeyer of Beam, Dawn Rucker of L3, Don Morrison of Blue Tree Allied Angels, Josh McElhattan of Startbot, Ryan Zafris of Adam’s Capital and Zach Malone of Draper Triangle. Then six teams will give a four-minute pitch to panel of judges. The winning team will receive $1,000 cash, a single year-long TechShop membership, Fusion 360 software and support from AutoDesk.

That team will compete against winners from the seven other cities at the grande finale on Wednesday, May 6 at AlphaLab Gear. Both competitions are open to the public, but seating is limited. Register for the April 15 event at TechShop here, and for the May 6 event at AlphaLab Gear here.

More information is available at

it rotator
Click the image to check out our info graphic about the tech opportunities in the Pittsburgh region.

Did you know there are nearly 10,000 IT-related jobs OPEN NOW in the 10-county region? They cut across entertainment, energy, advanced manufacturing, healthcare/life sciences and financial services.

Google, Disney, Intel, Apple and Yahoo are among the companies that have chosen to locate in the Pittsburgh thanks to the top-rate talent emerging from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and 34 other area colleges and universities. And such Fortune 500 companies as BNY Mellon, PNC Bank, PPG Industries, H.J. Heinz, U.S. Steel and CONSOL Energy are always in the market for the best IT talent.

Learn more about the Pittsburgh region’s IT sector        ~       Search for jobs by keyword or company

Affordable Living Among Smart, Friendly Natives and Newcomers
In Pittsburgh, you can have both a decent place to live and a decent social life. You won’t have to sacrifice fun in order to pay the rent on a remote apartment, or stack up with roommates to live in the heart of the city.

Housing costs are generally half of what you’d find in Boston, more than 60 percent less than in Washington D.C. or Silicon Valley and 80 percent lower than New York. The Economist, Forbes, NerdWallet and others regularly include Pittsburgh among the nation’s most-livable cities. Pittsburgh has an innovative restaurant scene, abundant recreational options amid lush topography in four seasons and a robust cultural life from the classical to the cutting edge.

We have the country’s second-largest population of college-educated young people after Boston. Artists and creative people are increasingly moving from larger cities because here they can afford to both launch their dream career and buy or rent a house in hip neighborhoods like Lawrenceville, East Liberty, Downtown and the South Side.

Rich Ecosystem for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Pittsburgh is also the location of choice for dynamic startups and established firms in entertainment and internet technologies, big data, robotics and more. It is home to such companies as Schell Games, DeepLocal, The Resumator, 4Moms, ShowClix, ANSYS, Duolingo, Digital Dream Labs, Ness Technologies, Smith Micro, Netronome and Astrobotic – which is on track to be the first private company to land on the moon.

Why Pittsburgh? Because the region has a robust startup support network. AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear, Tech Shop, the Pittsburgh Technology Council, the Pittsburgh Life Science Greenhouse and Idea Foundry are among the organizations that help innovators turn ideas into enterprise.

Pittsburgh also helps entrepreneurs find startup capital through such nationally recognized groups like Innovation Works.


Click HERE to check out our infographic about the tech opportunities in the Pittsburgh region. Pass it on to friends itching to get back to the ‘Burgh.