By Raymond Arke | The Duquesne Duke
The former gritty steel town of Pittsburgh has begun a transformation into a booming metropolis for young adults—and recent studies are showing that if you go to college here, you’ll probably stay here.
Pittsburgh is among the top cities in the nation in attracting and retaining young graduates. In a survey of the Duquesne graduating class of 2013-2014, the university found that 65 percent of them have found work in Pennsylvania. Of those, 53 percent reside in the Greater Pittsburgh region, and 46 percent of that living within city limits.
Furthermore, the total number of all Duquesne alumni living in the Western PA region reaches just under 64,000, and around 30,000 Duquesne alumni live in the City of Pittsburgh itself.
There are many parts of the Pittsburgh community that make the city appealing to young adults.
One of the leading efforts comes from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, an organization that sponsors many artistic events in the city’s Downtown Cultural District.
Shaunda Miles, spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, explained what the Trust does to entice and entertain the recently-graduated population.
“We work closely with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership…along with many other organizations to promote Pittsburgh as a vibrant place to live,” she said.
While there are no specific programs in place to appeal to the recently graduated demographic, Miles said most of what the Trust does is attractive to young people.
“Many of our programs, such as the gallery crawls, bring millennials out in force,” she explained.
“Our ‘bumper sticker’ slogan is ‘More people downtown, more often.”
The trust reports attracting approximately 2 million people to their 2000 events each year.
The availability of jobs is an another important factor in Pittsburgh’s appeal to recent graduates. The area has several large employers, such as the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, or UPMC.
Megan Metcap, UPMC’s manager of Campus Programs, said UPMC offers many opportunities to engage local students.
“We offer 250 internships…Our goal is to have these students make UPMC connections, we want to keep them at UPMC,” she said.
The internship programs allow participants to become involved with the community of Pittsburgh.
“These programs require some community service, it’s important to keep them active and dedicated to their surrounding neighborhoods,” Metcap added.
Metcap actually participated in a UPMC internship during her years as a recent graduate, and has risen through the ranks while staying in Pittsburgh.
Another prominent local company, PNC Bank contributes to the retention of graduates. Erin Baker, vice president of campus relations, said PNC hires nearly 300 new graduates each year from the Pittsburgh area.
Many current Duquesne students are still trying to determine their post-graduation plans.
Freshman undecided business major Ryan Sweeney is still weighing his future options.
“I don’t know what the future holds, but I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea [of staying in Pittsburgh,” Sweeney said.
Others, such as freshman biology major Ashton Callipare, plan to stay in Pittsburgh.
“I can’t imagine myself anywhere else. I hope to get a job here in the future,” she said