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Passport to the future: How one city's innovative program is helping address its talent challenge

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Setting the stage: Talent challenges in the new world of work

If you ask us what our purpose is, the answer is always the same: to build trust in society and solve important problems. By doing this, we aim to make a meaningful difference in the world. The past several years have shown that when it comes to the work we do - and where and how we do it - the old adage that “change is the only constant” could not be more true. With automation continuing to transform work, there is a heightened focus on reskilling. In parallel, the global pandemic catapulted many into a virtual or hybrid workplace that is unlikely to go away anytime soon, enabling companies to pursue talent in other geographies while also introducing new sources of competition for local talent. And, a heightened national focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion means companies should be doing more to attract and retain diverse talent. Therefore, it is no surprise that companies and regions around the world are concerned about the availability of key skills on their growth prospects.  

"With competition for talent and skills rising and the pandemic shifting where and how we work, it has never been more critical for businesses to collaborate with partners across sectors to attract, develop and retain talent in their region.”

- Justin Kaufman Managing Partner, PwC Pittsburgh Office

The challenge in Pittsburgh

In the Pittsburgh region, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, a civic leadership organization and economic development engine, developed an innovative program - The Pittsburgh Passport - to help address these challenges and encourage more graduating students to build their careers in Pittsburgh. After two successful years of running The Passport, Allegheny Conference came to PwC with the following questions: how could they share the work they’re doing with other regions that are tackling similar challenges, and where should the Passport program go from here? Through a Skills for Society pro bono project, a team from PwC’s Organization and Workforce Transformation practice collaborated with Allegheny Conference to develop a case study highlighting the program, that they could then use in discussions with businesses and other economic development groups about the workforce development challenges regions are facing and how to address them. The team also conducted a BXT session with 25+ representatives composed of individuals from The Passport program, participating companies, community members, and students to help define the strategy for the Program going forward. 

Looking ahead

Winning the competition for talent isn’t just a matter for companies and job seekers, but for cities, states, and regions whose ongoing economic development depends on attracting diverse talent to live and work there. Programs like The Passport, tackle these challenges and help to create an environment with diverse talent and ample economic opportunities.

Contact us

Justin Kaufman

Justin Kaufman

Pittsburgh Office, Managing Partner, PwC US

Bhushan Sethi

Bhushan Sethi

People & Organization Joint Global Leader, PwC US

Taylor Goodman

Taylor Goodman

Director, People and Organization, PwC US

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