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CHAMBER CEO DORIS CARSON WILLIAMS hands a certificate to Charmaine Clarke. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

Late last year, in an effort to entice recent local college graduates to remain in the area—and to entice local businesses to hire them, Pittsburgh Councilman Corey O’Connor, working with the African American Chamber of Commerce and the Pittsburgh Promise, set aside $60,000 for a grant program to do just that.

Called HirePGH, it would give $5,500 to former Pittsburgh Promise (now post-secondary) graduates if they accepted positions with Pittsburgh employers, and the same amount to the employers, as long as they were not government-related.

Last week, the effort paid off for six Promise alums, and two local firms, as O’Connor, Chamber President and CEO Doris Carson Williams and Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril awarded them their grants outside City Council chambers.

“My message to every company in Pittsburgh looking to add diversity is that there is not a more talented pool of diverse applicants than Promise graduates,” said Ghubril.

Mitch Swain, CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, agreed.

“They brought us a guy named Shaquai Scott, and he’s done a great job for us,” said Swain. “We are very pleased to have him on staff.”

Scott thanked everyone and said the grant is a big help.

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