Mayor's August neighborhood newsletter

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Dear Neighbors,

I hope that you have had the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful summer weather we’ve been having.  In the upcoming weeks the new school year will begin and we will have to turn our thoughts to more serious things.

This month the City will wrap up this year’s Pittsburgh Summer Youth Employment Program (PSEYP).  With the help of federal stimulus dollars, federal community development money and The Pittsburgh Foundation, we were able to fund the $1.65 million program, hiring a record 554 youths – more than double the amount employed last year.  We were also able to expand the program beyond conservation work to provide business internships and 18 hours of work-readiness training.  By reaching out to our youth and encouraging a good work ethic and work skills we open the door to good job opportunities and set them on a path of lifetime success.

As we gear up for the fall, I want to remind you of the great opportunities available for Pittsburgh’s youth.  In 2006, I made a commitment to reinvest in our students.  I wanted to ensure that they were given opportunities for advancement and higher education by encouraging high school students to work hard and dream big.  With that vision, Superintendent Mark Roosevelt and I launched the Pittsburgh Promise, a college scholarship program from students of the Pittsburgh Public Schools and City charter schools.  In July, the Pittsburgh Promise released their first ever “Report Card to the Community.”  I am happy to report that in just two years, we have seen significant improvements in our schools.

For the first time in those two years, Pittsburgh families are reconsidering Pittsburgh Public Schools for their children and fewer families with children are leaving the City.  Proficiency levels are increasing and students of all ethnicities are enrolling in more advanced coursework.  We have been able to retain 92% of the first-semester Promise scholars, which is well above national average.  Most notably, our investment of $2.5 million has allowed us to provide 757 students with a post-secondary education in our Pennsylvania colleges and universities.

As the new school year approaches, now is the time for parents and students to recommit themselves to being “Promise Ready” so that they too can take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.  To view the full copy of the Pittsburgh Promise “Report Card to the Community,” please log on to www.pittsburghpromise.org.

For more information on these initiatives, please contact my Office of Neighborhood Initiatives at 412-255-8680.