Building Sustainable Communities

The days of being able to easily attract corporations and jobs from far-away states or countries--by luring companies with unsustainable tax breaks or other gifts--are long gone.  The Authority has always prioritized indigenous job growth--building on the strengths of existing employers and the skills of working people. 

Twenty-five years ago, we fought to save good jobs.  We are doing the same today.  Why is a good job—and meaningful work-- important?

One good job often supports not only a family; it may also indirectly spur 2-3 other jobs.  One good job leads to skills development not only for that one worker, but also help pay for the education of that worker's children.  One good job provides for housing and health care and the modes of transportation back and forth to work for families.  One good job, in other words, creates hope and promise, strengthens community.

The SVA has spent a lot of time working to retain and revitalize our manufacturing jobs base, for many reasons.  For example, manufacturing drives R&D or productivity in our economy.  And manufacturing supply chains are a vital cog in the green jobs boom, from wind farms to efficient transportation.

There are also other important industries and businesses, such as railroads and heavy transportation, for instance, that support manufacturing businesses and workers. New technology and energy efficiency and retrofits make factories more efficient and improve workplaces and result in a cleaner environment for local communities.

There are opportunities in the clean economy for both existing firms (who may want to produce new products for those markets) and start-up firms—whether managed by seasoned business professionals or innovative students who have a good idea. There’s thousands of older, inefficient homes and buildings in this region that would benefit tremendously from energy retrofits. These strategies create good jobs for people and improve the living and working conditions of our citizens (including many elderly residents).

We have given a lot of thought to alternative business ownership.  We have always supported small to medium-sized businesses.   We have helped managers and employees buy their companies through ESOPs (employee stock ownership buyouts).

Today, the Authority is currently assisting in an effort to build new worker-owned cooperatives in Pittsburgh and the region (the Pittsburgh Clean/Green Project).  The idea of creating jobs that also provide ownership equity to worker-owners is an idea that has come back around again.

These projects are not easy, and our efforts may fail at times.  But what is important is that we stop waiting for Godot and take matters into our own hands.  Thus, we welcome ideas from you and our community about how to rebuild our economy on a long-term basis.  How can we renew prosperity for all, not just a few?  How can we revitalize at-risk neighborhoods?  These are some of the starting points—we welcome your input to find the finish line--in building sustainable communities.