She also pointed out that in the legislators’ fight for employment they are using work space kiosks in their offices that provide assistance in job searches and that they are conducting fundraisers to provide college scholarships. Other issues they are dealing with include organizing mentorship groups for oil and gas companies as educational methods for Marcellus Shale and working to change the injustice in the judicial and correctional system.

Just as informative and enlightening, the second day of the convention focused on workforce development and employment opportunities. Leading up to the panel, the Mayor of Aliquippa Dwan Walker provided the call to order, the invocation was given by Rev. Margaret V.L. Tyson and Danielle Davis of the Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc. Micro-Business Institute delivered remarks.

Motivating the audience to face their fears with confidence, breakfast speaker Cornish encouraged them to eliminate fears and to build relationships.

“It is about shifting your mindset and getting rid of needy and knowing what you bring to the table,” she said.

She also pointed out that during the climb to success it is important to standup for what you want, to learn to play the game, to hold yourself accountable, to take hold of your actions and to act on them.

Hosted by Bill Flanagan, executive vice president of corporate relations for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Workforce Development and Employment Opportunities panel outlined the pros and cons of the areas workforce issues. Panelists included Alicia Booker of Community College of Allegheny County, Michelle Buezkowski of Consol Energy, Rashad Byrdsong of the Community Empowerment Association, John DeFazio of the United Steelworkers and Allegheny Council at Large, Mel Kosanovich of Columbia Gas, Barry Powell of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, Rich Stanizzo of the Pittsburgh Buildings Trade Council, Dewitt Walton of the Pittsburgh A. Phillip Randolph Institute and Shannon Williams of UPMC.

Flanagan indicated that the region’s job market and labor force is at an all-time high and the CCAC representative pointed out that their challenge is getting men to understand the significance of education. Encouraging the panel and audience to look at the high unemployment rate within the Black community, he said the lack of businesses in the community, the social structure of violence, and the incarceration rate are major contributing factors. “There needs to be investment not divestment in our communities,” he said. He also indicated that better communication needs to take place and that an agenda and platform from an African-American perspective is needed.

For the past decade, Luther and Roxanne Sewell have organized and hosted the Network Convention with the goal to convene experts that include politicians to address issues that impede the success and future of Pennsylvanians.

The African-American Network Convention sponsored by Talk Magazine is one of the products of the LJS Group, a business that creates advertising, public relations, and community outreach programs.

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