It’s almost hard to believe but the First Source Center just passed its One Year Anniversary! We held a Grand Opening with members of the Historic Hill District community, elected officials, business owners and operators and a joyous Lower Hill Team! Despite opening during the Coronavirus pandemic, we have some momentum and some solid accomplishments to date!
First, we have witnessed success in the training programs we support, from the Builder’s Guild’s “Introduction to the Construction Trades” to the A. Philip Randolph Institute’s “Breaking the Chains of Poverty” Program to CCAC’s Commercial Driver’s License Program to our newest addition, CARP – the Carpenter’s Apprenticeship Readiness Program. With each new cohort, we are educating, inspiring and encouraging individuals to give themselves another chance to do something different. Many of these programs are great because they accept formerly incarcerated individuals, many of which had been unfairly targeted by biased drug laws. Convictions for non-violent drug offences make up a significant portion of those incarcerated in the United States. We are working to reverse the trend with a career sustaining job through the First Source Center. The Center was initially set up by Pittsburgh Penguins’ Tracey McCants-Lewis before she stepped away from setting up day-to-day operations.
PJ Dick held contracting workshops and one-on-one meetings with prospective contractors at the First Source Center and we made construction drawings available for anyone to view. We have partnerships with PA Career Link, who helps individuals navigate their career paths, UPMC, a major partner in the healthcare field, New Century Careers, for those interested in manufacturing, the BankWork$ program, which has been churning out graduates who want a job in banking and, of course, there are construction opportunities, as well as immediate hires with cleaning companies, catering companies and our new, upcoming neighbor, Salem’s Market and Grille, the owners of our new grocery store and eatery. The Cameron Group, run by Kevin and Francine Cameron, are our First Source Center operators and provide us with our concierge, who is on hand to help callers and visitors navigate their way to greater opportunities and life-changing experiences. We do not promote getting jobs, we promote careers!
Our most successful operation to date, which gave us the energy we needed in our near post-Covid world, was our first Job Fair and Open House, which occurred on March 30, under the leadership of our Director of Community, Arts and Culture, Dr. Kimberly C. Ellis and with the help of The Cameron Group. Dr. Ellis, who came to the First Source Center just before the grand opening, felt strongly that we needed to come together on a singular date instead of having employers waiting in vain on various days of the week. With a full-throttle effort, which included significant advertising in The Soul Pitt Magazine, Brotha Ash Productions Magazine, radio ads on WAMO and more, the First Source Center surpassed its goals and ended with 200 registrants, multiple signups for trainings, jobs, opportunities and the phone kept ringing off the hook since that day. The WAMO ads were particularly successful and we believe it’s because they were written by our playwright-in-residence, Dr. Ellis. There were individuals who said they heard the ad and called in to the First Source Center, immediately. That’s impact!
We will keep pushing to exceed our goals in the future, so be on the look out for our new Job Fair and other opportunities at the First Source Center! Our concierge is waiting for you!