PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In the summer of 2007, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and then-school Superintendent Mark Roosevelt kicked off the Pittsburgh Promise – millions in scholarships for high school seniors entering college.
Four years later, more than a dozen success stories gather in the mayor’s conference room, representing some 400 students receiving the first wave of scholarships.
Graduation day is not the end, but the beginning. Phase two – local employers aim to keep those grads right here in Pittsburgh.
A two-day job fair is scheduled for June.
“And about 100 different companies will be a part of this career launch job fair, so that our students can meet employers, and our employers can meet prospective students,” Saleem Ghubril, director of the Pittsburgh Promise, said.
“And our message to companies is this, ‘You helped send these young people to college. Don’t you want to be the first to interview them?’”
“I went to a Pittsburgh Public School and I would love to teach in the Pittsburgh Public schools to give back,” Brittney Bush, a graduate of Perry Traditional Academy and an Edinboro University student, said.
“I’ll be graduating with a degree in occupational therapy and there’s plenty of opportunities in Pittsburgh in that field,” Nick Becker, a Langley High School alum and Duquesne University student.
Some have already joined the work force.
“I work as a business systems analyst at PNC Financial Corporation,” Briana T.Smith, who attended Schenley High School and Robert Morris University. “I actually got the job offer before I started my senior year at Robert Morris, so that was pretty awesome.”
Each one received a mayoral proclamation. Pittsburgh schools that met federal standards rose from 40 percent when the Promise was initiated to 70 percent today. These students hope to keep it going.
“We’ll have the chance to go back to other high schools and speak to the high school students to encourage them to further their education,” Sha-Phawn Williams, from Schenley High School and Lincoln University, said.
A promise is a two-way street.