Keynote Speaker Kneeland Youngblood

Though participants like Chester Engineers President and CEO Robert Agbede lauded the fact that the second Corporate Equity & Inclusion Roundtable Conference at Duquesne University drew a larger crowd than the 2013 conference, most hoped there would not be a need for another such meeting—because the issue of “coloring the ‘C Suite’” would no longer be an issue.

But unless more companies follow the lead of UPMC, there will be another meeting. Of all the corporate, nonprofit and government agencies that attended the June 9 conference, only UPMC presented a systematic report card on its efforts to increase diversity.

“Actions and measurement. That’s what it comes down to,” said UPMC Senior Vice President and COO Rob DeMichiei. “We’re grading ourselves against a base year of 2012. So we have 2013, and we’ll post the 2014 numbers in July, when the whole thing goes online.”

The healthcare giant’s scorecard highlights a more than one-percent increase in collecting resumes to “see what’s out there” in terms of available labor, many of these employers are hiring now.


UPMC Senior VP and COO Rob DeMichiei

“I’m looking to fill 500 positions, full- and part-time, between now and Christmas,” said FedEx Clinton Hub Manager Larry Davis. “These are all for package handling at our warehouse out by the airport. But once you have your foot in the door, you can move to forklift operator or outside moving trailers around. There’s room to move up.”

Speaking of moving, Aquarius staffing, representing First Student, was at the fair looking to hire school bus drivers.

“They serve a lot of districts and private schools; Pittsburgh Public Schools, Penn Hills, North Hills, Avonworth,” said Account Manager Tessa Myers. “They typically lose people over the summer, so we’re constantly hiring. They provide free CDL (commercial drivers license) training.”

School bus not big enough? Pitt Ohio express is also looking for drivers, and offers free CDL training.

Elena Gobble, from Wilkinsburg, filled out one of their applications, along with several others.

“I was looking for something in food service, because I have experience there,” she said, filling in her information. “But I’m filling out as many as I can. Gotta pay the bills.”

Gobble has a criminal background, so she came early. The fair organizers set the first hour aside for applicants with criminal issues, those coming out of foster care, and veterans.


B-PEP President and CEO Tim Stevens (Photos by J.L. Martello)

Though a record can often be problematic, depending on the nature and severity of the offense, it may or may not be an actual problem.

Myers said for her client, other than crimes against children, all other issues are considered on a case-by-case basis. Rusiski said much the same, not all crimes are job-killers, though some definitely are.

“We’re regulated by the (Securities and Exchange Commission), so any felony at all or any financial misdemeanor, like check kiting, is a no go,” he said.

Neither of those were problems for Louis Thompson of East Liberty, who said he was primarily interested in security work as he walked out of the church with a folder full of applications. He had a different problem.

“I only had so many copies of my resume. So, I’m off to print up some more,” he said. “I’ll be back.”

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