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Officials hope business bonds can be formed in Philadelphia

Several delegates from local companies and universities are heading to Philadelphia this week to promote Pittsburgh to job candidates at a conference of the National Black MBA Association.

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance is leading the delegation to the two-day annual conference, which starts on Thursday in Philadelphia.

“Most people don’t know companies like Heinz and PNC are headquartered in Pittsburgh,” said Davie Huddleston, manager of college relations for PNC Financial Services Group.

“Our challenge is to recruit people to Pittsburgh. We don’t have a bad reputation; it’s that we don’t have any,” said Huddleston, who has been PNC’s delegate to the conference for the past two years.

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance is promoting western Pennsylvania with the theme, “The Pittsburgh Region: No Barriers … Just Bridges.”

The black MBA conference last year in Nashville drew nearly 12,000 attendees, said Huddleston. PNC this year hopes to recruit about 20 MBA graduates, including minorities.

The National Black MBA Association partners with more than 400 business organizations nationwide. Founded in 1970, the association has more than 6,000 members and represents more than 95,000 business-degree graduates.

Members of the delegation include representatives from Alcoa, Carnegie Mellon University, PNC Financial Services Group, the University of Pittsburgh and PPG Industries.

“You have to be there if you want to be seen as a national player,” Huddleston said.

“We seized this opportunity because the issue of talent attraction is extremely important to local businesses,” said Ronnie Bryant, president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance. It sponsored a similar delegation to last year’s conference.

“Companies have told us they are interested in continually recruiting top workers, especially from minority communities,” Bryant said. “And establishing a strong presence at this conference demonstrates the region’s commitment to this recruitment strategy.”


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