PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Promise released its fourth annual progress report today.

In addition to highlighting some of the program’s success, leaders announced a new initiative to bring Latinos into the city.

Saleem Ghubril, the executive director of the Pittsburgh Promise, was proud to announce the results of another year before a packed house.

“We just celebrated our first four-year graduated class, we now have 600 kids who are out of school with a two-year or four-year degree,” said Ghubril.

One of those graduates is Sarah Walsh.

She was able to attend Robert Morris University because of the Promise. She is now working with the United Way.

“The Promise has gone above and beyond my expectations, my family’s expectations, of what we ever dreamed it would help us out with, so it’s been great,” said Walsh.

Leaders outlined other reasons the Pittsburgh Promise is great.

According to this year’s study, Promise scholar retention rates were equal to or higher than national comparisons. High school completion rates in Pittsburgh Public Schools have risen.

Plus, recent Promise scholar graduates have landed jobs with local companies.

“To me, it’s been an absolutely breathtaking adventure for the last four years to see how our region has rallied around the message of taking care of the core of the region, because if the core is healthy, the whole region is vital and strong,” Ghubril said.

Also during the event, officials launched a new initiative to attract Latinos to Pittsburgh, specifically those living within a 300-mile radius of the city.

“When you look at cities that are thriving, where there is economic vitality and creative energy, in almost all cases the percentage of foreign-born people is about 14, 15 percent,” said Ghubril. “In Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh region today, it’s about four percent.”

“I think when you look at Pittsburgh and what it’s become, it has advanced as a diverse city and we need to continue to do what we can to embrace that, and I’m proud of the work of the Pittsburgh Promise and happy to support their efforts,” added Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

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