MARK LEWIS

While Pittsburgh is frantically seeking solutions to the employment, transportation—and particularly—affordable housing issues facing low-income African Americans throughout the city, it is simultaneously trying to recruit and retain millennial, middle-income Blacks to create a diverse culture and fill the increasing number of financial, tech, healthcare and energy jobs going unfilled for lack of skills.

A report recently released by the POISE Foundation indicates that it needs pay more attention to this population, if it wants them to stay here.

“We don’t often hear from the Black professional class—they do exist here, but as you can see from the report, it is spread so thin that it is almost invisible.”
MARK LEWIS
POISE president and ceo
African American Neighborhoods of Choice is a research group formed by community development practitioners Karen Abrams, Majestic Lane and Knowledge Hudson in 2011 to explore the challenges this presented to middle-class African American professionals who were living in Pittsburgh or moving to the region for educational and professional opportunities.

They asked why are Black millennials leaving; what factors determine whether they stay or go, and what are the desirable characteristics of neighborhoods that would make African Americans who have a choice in where they live decide to live there?

The results of their investigation, supported by the Heinz Endowments and the POISE Foundation, and conducted and compiled with the help of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Social and Urban Research, they hope, will be used to do three things:

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