Future Jobs: Growing Our Region’s Workforce


Pittsburgh’s workforce is changing. Students need to know about the jobs that are right for them by the time they graduate from high school. At the same time, experienced workers need to have access to information about transitioning to new fields and training for industries with more growth and opportunity.

With Future Jobs, WQED seeks to help job-seekers discover new, promising career options when they start their job search, as well as raise awareness about workforce development that is already underway, helping the economy grow as workers find fulfilling careers and thrive in the Pittsburgh region.

The project has thus far produced a documentary with a focus on trending jobs, aimed at middle and high school students, teachers, and parents. It tells the stories of young people who were inspired to explore and succeed in career opportunities they might not have originally considered. Although it aired on television, the main goal was to get it into classrooms throughout Western Pennsylvania. The school roll-out was set to begin in Fall 2019.

Each month, WQED releases new minute-long digital shorts focusing on specific jobs, encouraging young people to explore these fields, while driving them to resources on the WQED website. The videos are fast-paced, have a youthful appeal, and are easy to share on social media. They are also used as television interstitials. 

The project’s education team has hosted a job fair at the station, as well as screenings with discussion guides at local schools.

A second documentary on how changing technology is driving the jobs movement was scheduled for Fall 2019. Also slated for that same time was a discussion program focused on career opportunities. A third documentary on technology and careers in farming was scheduled for Fall 2020.

There has been great public interest in the project and the various questions it seeks to answer. Jobs and careers are important topics. Other stations could explore the career trends in their own markets and ask the following questions: What jobs are going unfilled because there aren’t competently trained people to fill them? What jobs are leaving the region? What changes in technology are bringing new opportunities? Suggestions for interested stations would be to appoint a project leader in content and to work closely with corporate support and/or a fundraising team.