The other two methods for working with the authority are through its developers, and through direct employment.
“When we provide the land or loans for a project, they’ll do the hiring. But we refer firms and stipulate minority hiring requirements that typically outperform city goals by 50-60 percent,” he said. “Lastly, people can come to work for us directly. A change in administration usually means there are openings and we’re always looking for people with expertise in public policy, sustainability, grant management, compliance, and accounting and finance.”
Rubenstein added that while they like to keep as much in-house as possible, there are times when the URA will contract out accounting and legal work, and real estate appraising.
He also noted the authority has a number of major projects either just underway or starting shortly that will provide many of those opportunities. Just some of these are the Connelley/Energy Innovation Center, the Homewood Station Senior Apartments, Bakery Square II, and the East Liberty Transportation Center, which includes 330 apartments, 50,000 square feet of retail space, and construction of a new street between Centre and Penn Avenues.
Rubenstein also announced the authority’s Center for Entrepreneurship would partner with the chamber’s Business Institute on a number of small business improvement programs.
Chamber President and CEO Doris Carson Williams said Newhouse did not appear on the PowerBreakfast program because it went out before the governor released his budget proposal.
“She was happy to come by and give us an overview of what’s in there for small businesses,” said Williams. “As deputy secretary for innovation and investment, 75 percent of the development funding comes through her area.”
Newhouse also addressed streamlining in the department, and the addition of staff that will replace automated phone operators with human beings who will walk applicants through the process step by step.
Another benefit for businesses of all sizes is the proposed reduction in state business tax rate from 9 percent to 6 percent, she said.
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