Work Hard Pittsburgh
Hello! My name is William (Will) Prince. I am the AmeriCorps VISTA for Work Hard Pittsburgh. I grew up in Elizabeth, PA – in Pittsburgh’s beautiful Mon Valley. I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in Humanities and Certificate in Historic Preservation. After graduating, I worked in several small towns along the Great Allegheny Passage and other regional trails across western PA with the Trail Town Program. Over the last few years I also volunteered with my hometown’s revitalization efforts and have served on the board of the Young Preservationists Association. I enjoy travel (abroad, domestic, and local), theater, of course Zumba!
I previously served with the Student Conservation Association and was familiar with the type of work and was particularly looking to get more urban experience back in Pittsburgh. I know this work is important and makes an impact, so I wanted to get involved.
My main projects at Work Hard have been to bring capacity to the growing coop. I’ve tracked demographic and job placement data from participants of Academy Pittsburgh, coordinate coop members activities and video series, as well as outreach with businesses along Warrington Avenue. I was also involved in the CITF grant application that was recently awarded to acquire property for the coop.
Additionally, I’ve been able to partner with Hilltop Alliance in the Allentown neighborhood with the business district committee, events and marketing development, and attracting the Burgh Bits and Bites Tour to the area.
From my VISTA experience, plus additional professional development over the year, I learned that small town and big city issues are all the same. From business attraction/management, neighborhood engagement, funding, and the like – these challenges can be found in every community, but more diverse and unique partnerships are required to get things done.
Very soon I will be adventuring down to New Orleans to attend Tulane University for a Masters of Preservation Studies. This program will focus on historic preservation and planning. I know I will eventually boomerang back to Pittsburgh and the Mon Valley, but not sure when yet. I plan to stay involved in revitalization efforts while including historic resources and heritage areas.