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Pittsburgh Companies Find Success by Embracing Employees’ Differences

Photo courtesy Community College of Allegheny County

In the past, Pittsburgh wasn’t exactly known as the land of opportunity for marginalized members of the community. A lack of prospects met people of color, women, and other minorities pursuing their dreams. A 2019 report from The City of Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission brought many of these shortcomings to the forefront in scathing detail.

Since that time, workplace diversity in Pittsburgh has grown. Some companies have invested in changing that narrative, focusing on ways that they can enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion within their workspaces. They have committed to making inclusion an integral part of their work cultures. From hiring to onboarding and everyday operations, these companies are among those dedicated to creating spaces that foster a sense of belonging for all.

Vibrant Pittsburgh, a Pittsburgh nonprofit helping companies develop more diverse workforces, produces an annual Vibrant Index spotlighting companies championing diversity in Pittsburgh. A prominent member of Vibrant Pittsburgh is PNC Bank.

Gina Coleman

Gina Coleman, PNC Bank chief diversity officer, said PNC’s workforce reflects the diversity of the communities it serves. Across the total workforce, 58.9 percent are women, 41.1 percent are men, 70.9 percent are white, and 29.1 percent are racial or ethnic minorities.

“We are committed to the intentional inclusion of experiences, skills, cultures, and perspectives to promote innovation while embracing diversity. We value the visible and invisible qualities that make our employees who they are. This helps us recognize that everyone is important for different reasons. When we are inclusive, we are all at our best,” she said.

Dr. Angelica Perez-Johnston

Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) also makes Vibrant’s list of diversity superstars. Dr. Angelica Perez-Johnston, CCAC’s chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, said CCAC strives to be representative and supportive of the communities it serves.

“We have had a longstanding commitment to diversity, which was reaffirmed in 2020 with the adoption of the Five Commitments to create a socially just and equitable campus for all,” she said.

CCAC’s Five Commitments include:

• A commitment to care.

• A commitment to serve the whole community with a focus on social justice.

• A commitment to build a culture of equity on campus.

• A commitment to identify and dismantle campus structures that breed disparities, and then redesign the college for equity.

• A commitment to fund what matters most.

Perez-Johnston said that diversity within the workforce is vital to ensure that students of marginalized identities at CCAC can see themselves represented among the faculty, staff, and employees.

Photo courtesy CCAC

“We recruit from a variety of avenues and ensure that each candidate that is offered employment at the college is a representation of not only diversity, but the mission, vision, and values CCAC upholds,” she explained.

Having a diverse workforce doesn’t just benefit the community. It also benefits employers directly, said Coleman. “Attracting, recruiting, and retaining a diverse workforce is essential to our success. We know the highest-performing teams are diverse, and the most productive workspaces are inclusive. Embracing and promoting diversity and inclusion makes us a better company, a better employer, a better neighbor, and a better investment.”

Once a Pittsburgh business commits to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce, it must fine-tune its hiring practices to attract the best candidates.

Coleman said PNC focuses on attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse workforce equipped to meet the needs of its diverse customer base.

“We place great importance on having the right people, in the right roles, with the right skills, doing their best work,” she said. “By focusing on the growth and development of our talented team members, we are best positioned to deliver exceptional results for our customers. When they deliver for our customers, they deliver for our communities and shareholders as well.”

PNC achieves its goal by building a robust talent pipeline that intentionally seeks and develops top talent with varied experiences, skills, and perspectives. The goal is to build a workforce that generates innovative solutions to meet the needs of their growing and increasingly diverse customer base.

“Equally important to recruiting top talent is developing and advancing talent by creating a high-opportunity workplace,” she said. “We are committed to developing our employees, growing their skills, and supporting those who want to pursue new opportunities within our company.”

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