PARTNERS—Chamber Board Chair Samuel Stevenson and President and CEO Doris Carson Williams pose with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto after his address at the African American Chamber’s PowerBreakfast.

Saying the city is seeing its first economic growth in multiple generations–the latest example being Ford, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and an “anonymous Silicon Valley investor” putting more than $1 billion into autonomous vehicle development, probably at the old LTV site in Hazelwood–Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto added that it must benefit everyone.

And he’s taking steps to see that it does.

“This is happening, because of tech spin-offs from CMU, and now Pitt is beginning to do the same thing with bio-med,” he said. “But to make sure it’s growth for all, we have to bake that into the cake from the beginning. We have to be proactive—and part of that is changing the rules”

And part of that, Peduto said, involves changing the way the city awards contracts–making sure small- and minority-owned businesses are in on the process. The city’s Beacon system, which automatically alerts vendors who have signed up to bid opportunities in their areas of expertise, has boosted minority- women- and veteran-owned business contracting to 25 percent.

“The first contract–to clean our senior centers–went to a Black-owned firm,” he said. “Now $44 million out of $205 million has been awarded to minority vendors instead of a few favorite sons that had had them for years. We’ve spread it out, and we’ve gotten better talent and better results.”

Peduto also noted that before her untimely death, Deborah Walker had presented him a blueprint for increasing minority hiring in city jobs subject to Civil Service requirements, which he will be implementing.

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