Rashad Byrdsong is noted for his activism in the Homewood area as president and CEO of the Community Empowerment Association, but whether you like him or not, he’s putting the jobs where his mouth is. Meaning, he’s not all talk, he’s getting jobs for people in the area.
He may not have the personality that some people would like him to have, but he is getting the job done as far as making sure Blacks in the Homewood, Wilkinsburg and East End areas are getting a piece of the employment pie.
There are new affordable houses being built in Homewood and the East End, and there are several Blacks employed in various labor positions, because of the efforts of Byrdsong.
One important factor is that these are not just temporary jobs; these are high-paying, year-round jobs such as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, painters, roofers and others that are trained skills, not just for one project, but many others to come.
Once these young men and women obtain the skills and experience from these projects, they can either continue to work for their current employers or start up their own business as electricians, carpenters, plumbers, painters, etc. What many of the veterans do is work on projects like this until it’s finished, then they go to the next project, with some doing individual jobs on the side as private contractors. My father did this.
I remember when the city was building the Crawford-Roberts housing, several Black contractors got jobs doing various tasks. Most were small contractors with two to three men operations that did whatever was needed to keep working.