The lights along the tunnel

The CDC says vaccinated people can go back to whatever a “normal life” is, and economists believe we are on the cusp of a long-lasting economic boom. These signs indicate we are nearing the bright light at the end of the tunnel, but what about the lights that have guided us through the tunnel that have shown our momentum on the way to the end? 

The Pittsburgh region is still on the pathway to recovery like much of the U.S., but let’s observe the bright spots that have helped us get to this point. 

Credit: Heidi Kaden, Unsplash
  •  2021 kicked off with one of the country’s most prestigious tech training providers – Per Scholas – launching a cohort in Pittsburgh. Year Up came through soon after, offering Pittsburgh Housing Authority residents free skills training + internships.
  • Training providers were not the only ones to recognize Pittsburgh. Livability named us one of the best places to live in America, and the New York Times named New Castle a “Zoom Town.”
  • Three venture capital funds launched in early 2021, putting Pittsburgh on the map [again] for hungry entrepreneurs.  Black Tech Nation Ventures, The Midwest Fund and Magarac Venture Partners all committed to invest in our region’s startups. 
  • After a year-long pause due to the pandemic, the airlines serving Pittsburgh International Airport have officially approved the restart of PIT’s Terminal Modernization Program. Construction began on the $182M project that will improve the passenger experience and advance the region’s recovery and inspire the return of travel. Speaking of airlines, PIT welcomed a new cargo carrier, Finnair.
  • How do you celebrate your 15th anniversary? You recommit. Google announced an expansion at its Bakery Square campus in Pittsburgh, adding three new floors to bring its total footprint to 320,000 square feet. The plan is part of a larger $7B investment by the company in U.S. offices, data centers and 10K full-time jobs.
  • From Alabama to New Kensington, FilterBuy expanded to our region, making a $2.15M investment and creating at least 120 new jobs in Westmoreland County. Its strategic location meant the direct-to-consumer air filter manufacturer increased its one-day delivery footprint.
  • Carnegie Mellon University and The Heinz Endowments partnered to address barriers to equity and foster economic empowerment in the Pittsburgh region. The Endowments committed $30M over six years to fund and establish The Center for Shared Prosperity at CMU.
  • Hometown hero Michael Keaton made a major investment in the region, partnering with Nexii Building Solutions on a new green-building facility that will create more than 300 job opportunities and drive a green shift in the construction industry.
  • Last, but certainly not least, the region’s Richard King Mellon Foundation announced its largest-ever grant — $150 million to Carnegie Mellon University. The funding will establish a Robotics Innovation Center and advanced materials and manufacturing institute at Hazelwood Green and the construction of CMU’s cutting-edge $210M science building.