Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pittsburgh Job Forecast 2012, 1-30-12

Pittsburgh Job Forecast 2012

From city officials to entrepreneurs, there is cautiously optimistic good news about the city of Pittsburgh. You have heard the Business Forecast and the Cultural Forecast for 2012, now let's talk about the Pittsburgh Jobs Forecast.

Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh City Councilman
Danielle Cuomo, President of Virtual Assist USA and nominee for the Small Business Administration Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

This show was sponsored by Hair Peace Charity's Recipe of Hope happening on February 11th. 

Bill Peduto
William Peduto is serving his third term as a Member of Pittsburgh City Council. On City Council he chairs the Committee on Finance and Law. As the representative of Council District 8, he has the opportunity to help guide Pittsburgh’s new economy while preserving the tightly-knit neighborhoods which make up the district. 

In addition to his Council duties, Councilman Peduto serves on several boards which promote economic development and culture throughout the region, including the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, and Pittsburgh’s chapter of CEOs for Cities. He has spoken at conferences around the country on Pittsburgh’s green renewal and the use of technology to advance government efficiency and transparency.  He also serves as the Pennsylvania state chair of the Democratic Municipal Officials, a constituency organization of the Democratic National Committee.

He has sponsored several worthwhile programs to encourage a New Pittsburgh. The projects he has sponsored include the Sprout Fund Mural Project, Civics 101 for Artists, Guyasuta Young Professional Government Fellowship Program, Pittsburgh Pride Festival, Silkscreen Asian-American Film Festival, Opportunities for Hillside Protection, Information and Communication Technologies Working Group, Government Space Utilization Study, Pittsburgh’s Green Government Action Plan, and Pittsburgh’s Preserve America designation.

William Peduto earned his BA from Penn State University. He operated a political consulting business throughout 25 counties of western Pennsylvania. He served as general consultant, campaign manager, finance director and other roles for over one dozen Democrat candidates and elected officials. At 28, he served as western PA political director for then acting Governor Mark Singel. He has worked on Capitol Hill through a deputy press secretary internship and inside the beltway as a campaign analyst with a political research firm. In addition, Peduto worked throughout high school and college as a busboy, road crew laborer, disc-jockey, Deputy Coroner, ski store clerk, and sidewalk painter.  While growing up, he spent 10 years delivering the Pittsburgh Press.

Danielle Julia Cuomo, owner of business services firm Virtual Assist USA, is an award-winning entrepreneur and author. Virtual Assist USA offers a modern altenative to staffing for small and medium sized businesses, allowing companies to have instant access to 100s of different skill sets, instant productivity and cost-savings. 

Danielle’s creative and innovative approach to business garnered her many awards, such as the Top 10 Businesses to Follow on Twitter, Athena Young Professionals Award, Web of Trust Award, Pittsburgh’s 50 Finest and Business Journals Women of Distinction. 

Her ground-breaking company, Virtual Assist USA, was named as one of the largest management consulting companies in Pittsburgh by it’s 2nd year in business. Danielle founded Virtual Assist USA after leaving a successful career with ESPN and a nationwide IT consulting form. With a multi-faceted business model, Virtual Assist USA has served thousands of small businesses. 

In addition to working with Virtual Assist USA, Danielle serves on the board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is active in the Institute for CEO Focus, US Chamber of Commerce and Allegheny HYP Club. She is an ongoing Advisor for Reese International and was a featured entrepreneur for Chatham’s Center for Women’s Leadership. 

She has authored two business books: Inspired Entrepreneurs (co-author) and How to Wheel and Deal in High Heels.

She has been sought out to speak on topics of business development and media strategies for the CBS Business Network, Woman’s World, Pop City, Small Business Radio and Home Business Magazine. Danielle has led presentations for small business owners titled: “Am I Google-able?” and “Everything You Need to Know About Social Media.” 

Danielle is a graduate of Penn State University, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s in Business Administration. 

Danielle believes in the power of small businesses and the American dream and says “Small businesses are the lifeline of America. I hope to continue to contribute by making my client’s dreams come true, which is the most rewarding of all.”

Danielle lives in Pittsburgh, PA where she spends her free time gourmet cooking, reading political biographies, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, outdoor activities and trying to visit every place on her Bucket List. 

Bill: Pittsburgh has gone from an industrial focused region to a medical, education, research, and financial backed region. As Andrew Carnegie said - Diversify or Die. And we have done that quite well. 

In my district alone I have four major universities in Carlow, Pitt, CMU, and Chatham and huge medical organizations such as UPMC in Oakland, Hillman Cancer Center, Shadyside Hospital, and West Penn Hospital.

There are opportunities at these places from PHD to GED level people to create a career. City government helps by expanding these institutions and improving the quality of life in the neighborhoods in which they exist. 

We work in zoning, planning, and create community based development, to let the growth happen, but with a plan. We want to be flexible and adaptive, understand the critical need for quality neighborhoods and regional economic opportunities.  

A current goal is to work with officials at UPMC to hold job fairs, job information programs, and seminars helping people that have a high school diploma learn about work options. We want the people who live right in these neighborhoods, that may not be the most highly educated, to understand that there are jobs available for them.

The transformation of East Liberty from 1998 to today has been an ongoing project for us. The community plan started in 1998, everyone was in charge, putting down things they wanted to see. A written plan came together and went though the governments and the first change was when Whole Foods moved in to the area. These types of plans are what we do; helping areas in the City bring in new businesses, create jobs, and improve the quality of its residents. 

Just a note on the reassessments: some of the areas hardest hit weren't the most affluent (Morningside, Bloomfield). Many of these have a senior population without access to Internet tools. We announced today we are creating a program to do government house calls and hold community meetings to help these individuals understand their assessments. We are offering free legal assistance and hope that this one stop shop will give people the chance to challenge their assessment if they so choose. 

You can contact Bill at www.billpeduto.com   

Danielle: Businesses are turning to Virtual Assistants in the recession because they are more cost-effective than employees or even staffing, often reducing costs by up to 35% and increasing efficiency. Virtual Assist USA offers over 100 skill sets at the tip of your fingertips. The largest VA team in the US, Virtual Assist USA, is able to step right in and get to work-- as opposed to employees who often need a ramp-up period of as much as 6 months. Virtual Assist USA even sends weekly Score Cards to clients to keep them up to date on the metrics and growth of their companies. This is something no other firm does. 

The job outlook has brightened in December and January as higher consumer spending, improved business confidence and a stock market rally have somewhat eased concerns. Small firms, particularly start-ups, typically account for two-thirds of the new jobs created in a recovery.

The majority of our employees are in Pittsburgh (29). Our staff can offer pure productivity, unlike a standard employee, because you only pay our staff for actual time worked. There aren't those gray areas of bathroom or coffee breaks or personal calls.

We also have employees (6) across the country, mainly in the West Coast, to help with clients in different time zones. I love the great Pittsburgh worth ethic. My parents are my biggest inspiration, both blue collar workers who told me to go for it. We do have plans to expand, with hopes to have 50 employees by the end of this year. We aspire to hire all new staffers from the Pittsburgh area. 

This is a great place to start a business. I just read in Entrepreneur Magazine that it is actually the 9th best place in the country. 2012 is going to be a great year to get out there and find a job or start a business. Remain positive. 

You can contact Danielle at www.VirtualAssistUSA.com or djc@virtualassistusa.com

Bonnie Diver:  Executive Director and Founder of Hair Peace (show sponsor)
I've been in radio for 25 years, started in Ohio, came to 3WS in 1993 and now I love Pittsburgh and want to stay here. I was diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago at age 46 and realized people need to be reminded to do mammograms and self exams and that was my original mission. I wanted to talk to women about changing their attitude from a walk of fear to a walk of faithfulness, towards life. 

My surgeon encouraged me  to raise money through my mission and that's when I created Hair Peace. When you go through chemotherapy, you usually lose your hair within 14 days and most insurance companies don't cover the cost of a wig. 

Hair Peace provides $150 for any local woman going through chemo, to help with the purchase of a wig. I also speak to these women, survivor to survivor, and support them in faith and conversation. We hold support groups once a month and bring in speakers to really teach people how to fight cancer. 

We are holding Recipe for Hope on February 11th where we will showcase 18 celebrities (Radio, TV, PG) that will bring in their own food and cook for us. We will be able to sample all sorts of dishes and meet the celebs, while we drink Pink Martini's. There are auction items, music, fun, and it's a great fundraiser. It is $75 per ticket. Visit www.hairpeace.org for all the details and to order tickets

Next week:
Pittsburgh Entrepreneurial Couples
Also watch for guest and sponsor opportunities,  2012 Editorial Calendar coming soon!

This was reported as a reproduction of PositvelyPittsburghLive news done by Joanne Quinn-Smith. (c) Joanne Quinn-Smith and PositivelyPittsburghLive(TM) 2012 All rights reserved.

Listen to the show here. Tara Darazio is a Positively Pittsburgh Live reporter, an independent copywriter, blogger, article writer, and social media strategist. If you are in need of writing assistance, or need help with your social media efforts connect with Tara on LinkedIn here.

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