The City of Pittsburg and Pitt State University have inked a deal; a unique one that Pitt State says isn't found at many other universities. But PSU workers say this type of economic development agreement is full of potential. It also has hope and trust in alumni.
Dr. Shane Kannarr, an optometrist, has been eyeing some opportunities around him in Pittsburg.
"I think we have a great medical community here," says Kannarr. "I think as you see more restaurants, more retail, that grows and makes better quality of life."
Kannarr is talking economic growth.
"Economic development is something we do all the time," says Pittsburg City Manager Daron Hall.
Hall is willing to change the strategy behind that economic growth. Shawn Naccarato, with Pitt State's Center for Business Development, is ready to tap some serious potential.
"There's a lot of those former students, from Pittsburg, or at least have passed through here for four to five years to get their degree, who love the idea of coming back. But they may not know there are opportunities for them to come back," says Naccarato.
"We've had a target industry analysis done. What it told us is, entrepreneurs are your way through the future. You're never going to get a business that brings 700 jobs to Pittsburg," says Hall.
Soon, there will be a specific message sent to PSU alumni: The City of Pittsburg needs your economic help, even if you don't plan on living in Pittsburg.
"They don't have to locate themselves," says Hall. "But, if they have a business that they thought would do well here, that uses a lot of water, we'd like to at least have them consider it and see that maybe this isn't the place they left 20 years ago."
"How do we identify alumni who are in prominent positions in companies that may be helping to make decisions on where those companies expand? We're going and we're visiting them. Lets say that's somewhere in some other state. We're vising them," says Naccarato.
The City of Pittsburg will be paying Pitt State $50,000 for this alumni recruitment service. Dr. Kannarr believes there will be payback.
"Reach a whole new level of people at the early stage of their business, looking to move back, relocate," says Kannarr.
The contract between the City and Pitt State will be up for renewal in about a year.
Pittsburg's chamber of commerce is still also helping to attract economic growth. However, the chamber is getting paid $45,000 from the City, compared to the $50,000 Pitt State is receiving.
KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas