At a press conference on May 23, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald joined community and corporate leaders to announce a new initiative to increase economic opportunities for minorities in Pittsburgh. The initiative will specifically target the African-American population, which exhibits the greatest disparities in employment and wealth in the Pittsburgh region.

“We know that this is an important issue to make sure everyone is included in those great things that are happening across Western Pa,” Fitzgerald said.

The press conference was the result of the Corporate Equity and Inclusion Roundtable on May 13, where corporations gathered to determine how best to increase diversity.

“It was not about defining quotas. It was not about hard and fast rules,” Fitzgerald said. “We understand one size doesn’t fit all.”

At the press conference, Robert DeMichiei, senior vice president and chief financial officer of UPMC, announced how his organization plans to respond to the region’s disparities. He said UPMC plans to share their list of diverse suppliers with other companies, release statistics such as their diversity spending, and consider implementing a variation of the Rooney Rule, which require entities to interview one African-American applicant when hiring.

While only UPMC has publicly announced their commitments, one partner PNC Bank stated that it has a long history of embracing diversity in the workplace and helping minority children and youth.

“We already have the Rooney Rule in place. We’ve had it for many years,” said Marsha Jones, chief diversity officer at PNC. “We also have a commitment to (underserved children) called ‘Grow Up Great’, which is a $350 million commitment.”

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