Welcome to #CLPSpotlights, our monthly series highlighting individuals and organizations that make a difference in their community. This month, we interviewed Ken Sines, the Outreach Coordinator and Job Developer for PCSI (Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc.). PSCI is an anti-poverty organization dedicated to helping Pittsburghers surmount obstacles to employment, food, and safe, affordable housing.
Q. How has your work evolved during the pandemic to meet the community’s needs?
A. Because we are a smaller team, we were able to transition to remote offerings pretty quickly. In a way, it was beneficial to our social media efforts – as we were forced to lean more into online and nontraditional marketing for our events and services.
Q. What is your favorite part of what you do?
A. I enjoy forming relationships and partnerships with other organizations. Sometimes there is immediate benefit and sometimes the results are not apparent for some time, but bringing organizations together to best help our common community if a perk that not a lot of jobs have.
Q. How did you come to work for your organization?
A. I was working for Pennsylvania CareerLink, doing the same basic work. I was recruited to come to PCSI to help build the Workforce Development Department.
Q. What do you wish the public knew about your organization?
A. The scope of services we offer. In addition to workforce services, we have food pantries at both of our locations and make a wide variety of anti-poverty services available to our clients.
Q. Tell us your favorite story about the library!
A. When I was younger, there was a book about Godzilla that I just loved. I took it out every chance I could. Once, they needed to put in a new lending card because the old one was filled with names. I had a chance to look at the old card, and noticed that the entire card was filled with only two names–mine and my best friend’s. That book is now actually pretty valuable as a collectable, but I was able to find a PDF copy of it to send to him for his birthday last year.
Q. What role does CLP have in helping your organization?
A. In addition to being a valuable community resource that has been a great partner in helping to promote our events and offerings, the Pardon Hubs/Job and Resource Fairs we have held have been wildly successful. Our upcoming collaborations with the other branches are looking like they will be a huge benefit for our organization, the library system and, most importantly, the community.
Q. Who’s your favorite author or artist at the moment?
A. Well, if you couldn’t tell from my Godzilla answer, I am a bit of a nerd, so I’d like to recognize some of my favorite comic book writers: Kurt Busiek, Garth Ennis, Jim Starlin, Warren Ellis, and Mark Millar.
Q. If you could change one thing about Pittsburgh, what would it be?
A. I’d make it much easier to get around–too many one-way roads, streets that go nowhere, bike lanes, bus lanes, traffic directions that change based on the time of day, bridges, tunnels, goat paths masquerading as roads, and never ending construction.
Q. What was an especially fulfilling moment for you in your work?
A. Taking an event from concept to execution, getting a good crowd, receiving positive feedback from our employers and partner organizations, and knowing that all stakeholders were happy is a (just a little bit) like raising a child and watching them graduate. It’s a lot of work and a lot of struggle, but in the end…it is all worth it.
Q. What is your favorite local business or organization?
A. I’ll continue leaning into being a nerd and shout out Phantom of the Attic (both comics and games) in Oakland as well as D&E Collectibles in Sharpsburg. And you can never go wrong with dinner at Max’s Allegheny Tavern on the North Side.