Because, as president and CEO Doris Carson Williams always notes, the African American Chamber of Commerce is about engagement and increasing business opportunities for its members, its most recent PowerBreakfast provided such an opportunity.
What was billed as a presentation by Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce President Dewitt Peart, turned into a lively exchange of ideas on the region’s future, because Peart is also the executive vice president for economic development and public affairs for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, which is in the middle of formulating its strategic plan for the next three years.
“Our number one issue is workforce development for the growing oil and gas, financial, and high tech sectors. One of our biggest problems is not enough real estate, hotel space, office space and housing,” he said. “And if we don’t diversify our economy, we will fail.”
Peart said we need to attracting a new and diverse work force because even if we managed to get all the unemployed people here now employed, it wouldn’t be enough to meet the coming demand for skilled workers because the post-baby boom birth rates will not make up for the baby boomers retiring in the next 15 years. We’re going to be short by 140,000 people.