Pittsburgh remakes itself after steel collapse

Published on Jan 12, 2009

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Emsi Burning Glass

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For all those communities struggling to cope in this tough economic landscape, here’s a model of how to reshape your future. This New York Times profile of Pittsburgh, which is thriving in comparison to many industrial centers, shows the value of taking a proactive approach to economic and workforce development. Stakeholders in the Pittsburgh area understood that they couldn’t stand pat as the region’s economic foundation (steel) crumbled.

“If people are looking for hope, it’s here,” said Sabina Deitrick, an urban studies expert at the University of Pittsburgh. “You can have a decent economy over a long period of restructuring.”

This brings to mind the transformation of Newton, Iowa, a small town rocked by the sale and eventual closure of Maytag’s corporate and manufacturing headquarters. For an in-depth look at the data-driven steps Newton took, EMSI recently prepared this case study.