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August R. Carlino Announces Retirement

By Press Room

August R. Carlino Announces Retirement

Rivers of Steel’s founding President and CEO to retire in 2025

 

Homestead, PA (February 15, 2024)—August R. Carlino, president and chief executive officer of Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation, announced he will retire in March 2025, after nearly thirty-five years of service. Hired in 1990, Carlino was tasked with forming the coalition that would later become Rivers of Steel, a Homestead-based nonprofit whose transformative work can be seen throughout communities in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Guided by Carlino’s vision and a determination to achieve what many said could not be done, Rivers of Steel has been a pioneer in industrial preservation and heritage tourism, altering perspectives on how post-industrial communities can revitalize and thrive with creative approaches to economic revitalization.

By blending historic preservation and cultural conservation efforts with economic development initiatives, Rivers of Steel champions collaborations throughout the eight-county Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. It stewards four historical attractions—including three National Historic Landmarks; operates a S.T.E.M. educational riverboat; and works with communities by leveraging its assets to support heritage tourism, creative placemaking, outdoor recreation, and partnerships.

“Reflecting on my time with Rivers of Steel, it has been quite an adventure,” said Carlino. “With our board of directors and incredibly talented staff, we have achieved remarkable milestones, overcome challenges, and continuously pushed the boundaries of what is possible—always challenging what so many said was impossible. The memories I have, the projects accomplished, and the relationships I have forged will forever hold a special place in my heart.”

Rivers of Steel originated in 1990 as the Steel Industry Heritage Task Force, an endeavor launched by the Mon Valley Initiative. By 1992, led by Carlino, a Bloomfield native and graduate of Central Catholic High School and the University of Pittsburgh, the initiative was formalized into a nonprofit organization named the Steel Industry Heritage Corporation. This organization aimed to preserve the region’s rich history and culture while also working toward revitalizing communities that had been severely affected by the decline of the steel industry.

In 1996, the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area was established through legislation passed by both Congress and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Subsequently, the organization’s name was changed to the Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation to better reflect its alignment with the National Heritage Area’s name. Capitalizing on his experiences working with former Pittsburgh Congressman Bill Coyne, and then as a lobbyist for Jones Day in Washington, D.C., Carlino led the effort to gain congressional designation to create the National Heritage Area by presenting a vision to “weave together the cultural and historical resources in a way that makes our heritage visible, exciting, and accessible,” and by making the case that “[i]ts timely implementation will have a major impact on the regional economy by promoting tourism and economic development.” Simultaneously, he gained state heritage area designation by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These designations provide annual funding to Rivers of Steel to invest in former industrial communities in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Recognizing that the regional economy of Pittsburgh was changing, Carlino positioned Rivers of Steel to be another regional asset—partnering with governments, developers, and foundations to make industrial preservation an asset to economic revitalization rather than an impediment, as many stakeholders feared. With his background working in Congress and as a lobbyist, Carlino positioned Rivers of Steel on the radar of state- and federal-elected officials in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C., connecting with them to identify state and federal funding programs and legislation that, through the National Heritage Area designation, could benefit Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania.

Senator Jay Costa acknowledged Carlino’s efforts. “I extend my sincerest congratulations and best wishes to Augie with retirement, and thank him for his unwavering dedication and commitment to the communities of southwestern Pennsylvania and the 43rd Senatorial District as the president and CEO of Rivers of Steel National and State Heritage Area. His efforts to save Carrie Furnaces and work with me to advance its preservation and development will be a lasting tribute to all those who worked in the mills. If I didn’t see Augie somewhere in the Steel Valley, I would see him in Harrisburg as he worked with me and my colleagues in the Senate to advance the projects that would benefit the communities in the region. I am immensely grateful for his leadership and wish him the very best in his well-deserved retirement.”

Since 1990, Rivers of Steel has secured more than $28 million in federal funds that have been invested in the region. Furthermore, according to Rivers of Steel’s most recent economic impact study by the Hill Group, the annual average of direct, indirect, and induced economic impact estimates a $92 million return on the annual investment of $664,000 by the National Park Service through the National Heritage Area program and an average investment of $200,000 by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources through the Heritage Parks Program. The result is more than a one hundred-fold return on investment in terms of ultimate economic benefit for the eight-county region.

Mike Doyle, former U.S. representative for Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, reflected on his collaborations with Carlino. “I have the pleasure of knowing Augie Carlino for more than thirty years. During my time in Congress, I worked with Augie, who was a tireless advocate for securing federal authorization for Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, advancing the designations of the Carrie Furnaces and the Bost Building as National Historic Landmarks, and saving the Carrie Furnaces, where my grandfather worked for more than forty years. None of this would have happened without Augie’s dogged determination to make it a reality. I am proud to call Augie my friend and thank him for his contributions to the revitalization of Pittsburgh and the Mon Valley.”

One of Rivers of Steel’s earliest goals was to save the former U.S. Steel Carrie Furnaces from demolition with the intention to repurpose them as a historical attraction and revitalize the area. After facing more than a decade of obstacles, Rivers of Steel, in collaboration with Allegheny County, finally acquired access to the property in 2010 and began to work on stabilizing and restoring the furnaces and surrounding structures. Since then, the organization has been working to preserve and interpret the site for locals and tourists to the region. Today, the Carrie Blast Furnaces are a National Historic Landmark—the highest level of historic designation for property in the United States—and have become a preeminent historical attraction in southwestern Pennsylvania, hosting tens of thousands of visitors each year through tours, performances, arts workshops and exhibitions, and an array of events.

“I’ve known Augie for many years, and I am thankful for his leadership,” said Rich Fitzgerald, executive director of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission and former Allegheny County executive. “As County Executive, I spent a lot of time with Augie as he led the redevelopment of the Carrie Blast Furnaces in Rankin and helped to revitalize our steel and coal communities that needed support as the industries shifted. His steadfast commitment to preserving our region’s heritage while simultaneously working to propel us forward will forever be a part of our region’s legacy.”

Former board chair, Frank Reed, recalled his experience working with Augie during a period of dramatic growth, from the organization’s early success helping to facilitate the completion of the Great Allegheny Passage to later triumphs, including the development of a receptive tour program that services visiting motor coach groups and the acquisition of the Explorer riverboat and its S.T.E.M. programs.

Frank noted that Augie demonstrated a remarkable blend of prudence and opportunism in leading Rivers of Steel, particularly in the mid-2000s. “During the recession when numerous nonprofits faced challenges, I remember Augie collaborating with the board and staff to navigate wisely, safeguarding the organization while also seizing opportunities to expand Rivers of Steel’s impact. Augie’s approach involved strategically creating new revenue streams that not only sustained operations but now also play a crucial role in the organization’s financial stability. His guiding philosophy has always been to operate Rivers of Steel with a business mindset, seeking avenues for revenue generation while staying true to our nonprofit mission.”

Frank continued, “Augie’s initiative to acquire RiverQuest and its riverboat Explorer was a complement to Rivers of Steel’s existing programs, and it served to further the region and tourists by offering popular sightseeing tours, but this action also acted as a catalyst for significant expansion of the organization’s capacity to grow its arts programming, festivals, and events. Without Augie’s leadership and vision, none of these things would have happened.”

Under Carlino’s tenure, Rivers of Steel’s efforts have contributed to many projects in the revitalization of Pittsburgh, now a city frequently lauded for its “most livable” status, its nationally recognized trails, and its ability to adapt while still embracing its steel legacy. Carlino’s vision for Rivers of Steel was to focus on all of southwestern Pennsylvania and the smaller steel and coal communities that were integral to the larger steel operations in and just outside of Pittsburgh. Many communities in the Monongahela River Valley and beyond still struggle to rebound after the collapse of Big Steel. The commitment to support these places—a passion for Carlino and the Rivers of Steel staff—has resulted in initiatives in recent years to address communities that otherwise would be left behind.

“The Benedum Foundation has partnered with Augie Carlino for a long time because a workhorse with his intellect and persistence doesn’t come along very often,” said Jen Giovannitti, president of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. “Augie’s dedication to serving communities being left behind is why the Benedum Foundation views the Rivers of Steel—its people, economy, and industrial history—as essential to the future of the Mon Valley. The Rivers of Steel concept elevated a regional vision for philanthropy, Congress, state leaders, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and so many others to invest in.”

Rivers of Steel’s board of directions has responded to Carlino’s announcement by assembling a transition committee and will soon begin the search for his replacement.

“While it’s hard to conceive Rivers of Steel without Augie, we are thankful to have a full year to plan for his departure and hire a new CEO,” said Dick Wallace, board chair for Rivers of Steel. “Organizationally, he’s leaving on a high note, having built a committed board and staff that shares his passion and vision for supporting communities throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. That said, our plans for the coming years are ambitious; Augie’s work is not done, yet!”

“Rivers of Steel exists today because Augie understood the importance of the culture of Western Pennsylvania, its celebrated industrial heritage, and how commemorating that legacy could be a platform for revitalizing communities,” said David K. Roger, president of The Hillman Foundation. “At the core of his vision has been a commitment to people—to find a way to elevate and direct their pride in the past to create opportunities for the future.”

About Rivers of Steel

Founded on the principles of heritage development, community partnership, and a reverence for the region’s natural and shared resources, Rivers of Steel strengthens the economic and cultural fabric of western Pennsylvania by fostering dynamic initiatives and transformative experiences.

Rivers of Steel showcases the artistry and innovation of our region’s industrial and cultural heritage through its historical and twenty first-century attractions―offering unique experiences via tours, workshops, exhibitions, festivals, and more. Behind the scenes, Rivers of Steel supports economic revitalization—working at the grassroots level to deepen community partnerships, promote heritage tourism, and preserve local recreational and cultural resources for future generations.

 

 

Contact Carly McCoy at 412.464.4020 ext. 243, or cmccoy@riversofsteel.com.

Rivers of Steel   |   The Bost Building, 623 East Eighth Avenue, Homestead, PA 15120

riversofsteel.com

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staff and volunteers mug for the camera

Rivers of Steel is Hiring

By Press Room

Join the Team!

Rivers of Steel is excited to announce that we are hiring! We are in search of qualified candidates for one new full-time position and for several part-time positions.

Director of Historic Preservation Workforce Development Program – The director of historic preservation workforce training will assist in the development and implementation of the new Historic Preservation Workforce Training program at Rivers of Steel. This full-time position works under the guidance of the senior director of programs and regional partnerships and the vice president / chief operations officer.
Event Coordinator, Historic Sites – Rivers of Steel is seeking an event coordinator to manage day-of events operations at its historic sites in the Monongahela Valley, including at the Pump House at the Waterfront in Munhall and the Carrie Blast Furnaces National Historic Landmark in Rankin and Swissvale.
School Programs Educators – Qualified educator candidates should be engaging, informed, and enthusiastic individuals who will facilitate hands-on formal and informal programs for school groups, families, scouts, and higher education groups.
Deckhands – Qualified deckhand candidates should be comfortable working within a hierarchical structure and possess strong verbal communication skills.

Application Instructions

Please review the individual job listings for specific application instructions.

Rivers of Steel is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in hiring, transferring, promoting, terminating, paying, training, benefits or any other actions affecting employees. Rivers of Steel does not make any personnel decisions based on an employee’s race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, ancestry, marital status, veteran’s status, non-job related disability or handicap, or other prohibited criteria as these terms are used under applicable law. Rivers of Steel abides by applicable federal, state, and local laws that govern human rights in the employment process.

A black and white photo of an early housing project community with 1950s cars, a boy on a bit, and a large tree in the foreground.

Hawkins Village: A Community History

By Press Room

Hawkins Village Addition by John R. Shrader, 1956. Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh via Historic Pittsburgh, Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center Collection.

Share your Hawkins Village Stories

The story of the Monongahela River Valley echoes through the communities who live, work, and play in them. Each neighborhood in every town has its own chapter. As Hawkins Village is about to embark on the next phase of its community story, Rivers of Steel wants to help collect and preserve its history by recording your memories.

Did you live in Hawkins Village? Your voice is important! Rivers of Steel wants to hear from you, and we want to preserve your memories in our archives. Contact Kirsten Paine at kpaine@riversofsteel.com or (716) 640-4543. She will work with you over the course of 45 minutes to an hour to create a recording of your memories of the historic Hawkins Village, some of which will be showcased in the new Heritage Highlands Community Center.

Grant logo reading 2023 Power Award Recipient paired with stock images of people doing things.

Rivers of Steel Receives $1.4 Million from Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Initiative

By Press Room

Rivers of Steel Receives $1.4 Million from Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Initiative

Partners for Creative Economy is part of a nearly $54 million award package and will help revitalize coal-impacted communities in Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area

 

Homestead, PA (October 20, 2023)—Rivers of Steel has been awarded $1,463,222 by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to launch the Partners for Creative Economy initiatives in the eight counties of southwestern Pennsylvania that are part of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area—Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland.

This award is part of a recently announced nearly $54 million package supporting 64 projects in 217 coal-impacted counties through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, which directs federal resources to economic diversification projects in Appalachian communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries. This is the largest single POWER award package to date since the initiative launched in 2015.

Partners for Creative Economy is a long-term vision for the future of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. By strengthening local leadership, providing career opportunities in historic trades, and investing in future economic growth, Rivers of Steel is working to support the success of the region’s cultural and heritage assets. Partners for Creative Economy presents transformational opportunities to communities in the region that have been left out of the recent economic growth and prosperity in the City of Pittsburgh.

By bringing together artists and designers with community groups, municipal leaders, and heritage tourism assets, Rivers of Steel aims to build local creative leadership, provide career opportunities in historic trades, and boost the area’s tourism sector. Five key strategies, including a creative leadership program, joint program partnerships, collaborative marketing efforts, a new workforce training initiative, and an expanded Mini-Grants program, will advance the community-based work that Rivers of Steel is already engaged in.

Additional support for Partners for Creative Economy is provided by The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the National Park Foundation, the National Park Service, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and in-kind support from participating communities.

“From workforce training and agriculture to downtown development and broadband expansion, the projects receiving grants in this round of POWER funding show that the future of Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities is economically diverse and innovative,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “Projects like these are resulting in life-changing transformations, which in turn, not only provides new economic opportunities, but brings a renewed sense of hope and purpose across our Appalachian Region.”

“Rivers of Steel is thrilled to receive support from the Appalachian Regional Commission,” said August Carlino, president and CEO of the Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation. “This grant is transformational, not just for our organization, but for our region. Partners for Creative Economy presents comprehensive solutions to complex challenges that have persisted for the communities left behind since the collapse of Big Steel. The foundation for this work is the relationships Rivers of Steel has built with communities in southwestern Pennsylvania during the last few decades. We’re looking forward to supporting a new vision for the region, spurred by this new initiative and underscored by creative collaboration.”

Including today’s award package, ARC has invested over $420 million in 507 projects, impacting 365 coal-impacted counties since POWER was established in 2015. ARC’s investments have helped create or retain over 53,000 jobs and prepare over 142,000 workers and students for new opportunities in entrepreneurship, broadband, tourism, and other growing industries.

About the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area

This eight-county region is one of 62 National Heritage Areas designated by the U.S. Congress and one of 12 State Heritage Areas. A National Heritage Area is a place of national significance to America. For Rivers of Steel, Congress recognized the industrial and cultural heritage of southwestern Pennsylvania. Through a public-private partnership with the National Park Service and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Rivers of Steel supports heritage conservation, heritage tourism, and outdoor recreation as a means to foster economic redevelopment and enhance cultural engagement.

About Rivers of Steel

Founded on the principles of heritage development, community partnership, and a reverence for the region’s natural and shared resources, Rivers of Steel strengthens the economic and cultural fabric of western Pennsylvania by fostering dynamic initiatives and transformative experiences.

Rivers of Steel showcases the artistry and innovation of our region’s industrial and cultural heritage through its historical and 21st-century attractions―offering unique experiences via tours, workshops, exhibitions, festivals, and more. Behind the scenes, Rivers of Steel supports economic revitalization—working at the grassroots level to deepen community partnerships, promote heritage tourism, and preserve local recreational and cultural resources for future generations.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)

The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development partnership entity of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.

Contact Carly McCoy at 412.464.4020, ext. 243 or by emailing cmccoy@riversofsteel.com.

Rivers of Steel   |   The Bost Building, 623 East Eighth Ave, Homestead PA 15120

riversofsteel.com

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Sparks ascend towards the sky as a metal arts crew creates a performance iron pour in front of a crowd of people with the historic blast furnace behind them.

Festival of Combustion to Ignite Awe at the Carrie Blast Furnaces

By Press Room

The 2023 Festival of Combustion to Ignite Awe at the Carrie Blast Furnaces

Rivers of Steel’s signature event expands with more activities, demonstrations, and excitement!

 

Homestead, PA (August 30, 2023)—Rivers of Steel’s signature event, the Festival of Combustion presented by United States Steel, brings our region’s rich heritage into focus for a spectacle of flame and excitement in the only place hot enough to host it—the Carrie Blast Furnaces.

This one-of-a-kind extravaganza on October 7, from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m., invites audiences of all ages to celebrate the industrial arts and American crafts through hands-on activities, trade demonstrations, tours, live music, fireworks, and more!

“Carrie has become ground zero for the intersection of the industrial arts and American craft that define southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Chris McGinnis, director of arts for Rivers of Steel. “As both a revered historical landmark and place for creative vision, the furnaces are an ever-evolving chimera of industry, culture, and nature—an experience that resonates with all who visit this special site that is so important to our region’s legacy.”

The spirit of the festival takes its inspiration from the iron-making legacy of this National Historic Landmark. Rivers of Steel’s metal arts team will be pouring iron and aluminum throughout the day. Festival-goers can participate by carving their own mold and observing the casting process. This year, a special evening spectacle, entitled Ferrum Lux, offers up a live, site-specific molten iron performance with neon sculpture and electronic sound; it is presented by iron sculptor Coral Penelope Lambert and digital pioneer Paul Higham. Beforehand, flame performers will warm up the crowd as they twirl, dance, and juggle with fire.

The Festival of Combustion goes beyond the molten iron and flames to showcase the creativity and innovation of our region’s artists, makers, and builders in a variety of ways. The day features glassblowing demonstrations, stations for welding, metal fabrication, and more.

Now in its second year, the Heritage Craft Tent presented by Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey, is a festival within the festival that explores American heritage traditions—including the tastiest of all heritage crafts, rye whiskey distilling! Offering tastings for the adults, interactive activities for kids with the Bradford House Historical Association, live art with Touchstone Center for Crafts, along with blacksmith and metalsmith demonstrations, the Heritage Craft Tent is a must-see attraction.

Hands-on workshops allow festival-goers to experience the industrial arts and American crafts for themselves, including two new metalsmithing activities—penny pendants with Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media and embossed ornaments with Contemporary Craft. A mosaic coaster-making workshop is also a new offering. Returning activities include graffiti arts, scratch-mold casting, raku-fired vase glazing, and more kids’ zone workshops.

New this year, Xpogo will provide instruction and free to use pogo sticks for all skill levels and ages.

Craft beer, food trucks, live music, tattoos, and a maker marketplace with regional artisans will add to the festival atmosphere, including performances by Tom Breiding and the Union Railroad, Bindley Hardware Company, and The Shameless Hex.

Experience tours of the Carrie Blast Furnaces. Mini Blast Furnace Tours will be offered throughout the day. Guests are now able to reserve tickets in advance for a $5.00 fee. Those that register the day of can still participate at no charge, pending availability. Guests are also welcome to take a self-guide tour of the Iron Garden featuring the Mini Greens 2 art installation.

To cap off the night, Rivers of Steel will light up the Mon Valley with a fireworks display above the Carrie Furnaces.

Tickets are $20.00 in advance. Admission is free for those under age 18. Live demos, marketplace admission, and workshops are included in the event ticket. For those seeking advance mini-tours tickets, they can be purchased at the same time as admission tickets. Free parking is available on the grounds.

The Festival of Combustion is presented by United States Steel. Additional financial sponsorship has been provided by Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey, UPMC Health Plan, TMS International, Jackson Welding Supply Company, and Eaton Corporation, with media sponsorship from Pittsburgh City Paper.

For a full schedule of activities and tickets, go to RiversOfSteel.com/FestivalOfCombustion

About Rivers of Steel

Founded on the principles of heritage development, community partnership, and a reverence for the region’s natural and shared resources, Rivers of Steel strengthens the economic and cultural fabric of western Pennsylvania by fostering dynamic initiatives and transformative experiences.

Rivers of Steel showcases the artistry and innovation of our region’s industrial and cultural heritage through its historical and 21st-century attractions―offering unique experiences via tours, workshops, exhibitions, festivals, and more. Behind the scenes, Rivers of Steel supports economic revitalization—working at the grassroots level to deepen community partnerships, promote heritage tourism, and preserve local recreational and cultural resources for future generations.

Contact Carly McCoy at 412.464.4020, ext. 243 or by emailing cmccoy@riversofsteel.com.

Rivers of Steel   |   The Bost Building, 623 East Eighth Ave, Homestead PA 15120

riversofsteel.com

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A hulking piece of machinery in the Blowing Engine House of the Carrie Furnaces.

Rivers of Steel is Hiring

By Press Room

The workforce training program will focus, in part, on the reassembly of an historic 48-inch universal plate mill, seen above, currently located at the Carrie Blast Furnaces, which operated in the United States Steel Homestead Works facility until its closure in 1979.

Join the Team!

Rivers of Steel is seeking part-time apprentices for its new Historical Preservation Workforce Training Program. This six-month training program will provide knowledge of historic preservation principles and hands-on skills training in the historic trades. Trainees will receive specialized training and earn a competitive hourly wage while helping preserve some of our region’s most iconic historical structures like the Carrie Blast Furnaces National Historic Landmark. The program will focus, in part, on the reassembly of an historic 48-inch universal plate mill, currently located at the Carrie Blast Furnaces, which operated in the United States Steel Homestead Works facility until its closure in 1979.

Application Instructions

Please review the individual job listings for specific application instructions.

Rivers of Steel is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in hiring, transferring, promoting, terminating, paying, training, benefits or any other actions affecting employees. Rivers of Steel does not make any personnel decisions based on an employee’s race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, ancestry, marital status, veteran’s status, non-job related disability or handicap, or other prohibited criteria as these terms are used under applicable law. Rivers of Steel abides by applicable federal, state, and local laws that govern human rights in the employment process.

Rivers of Steel Awards Seven Mini Grants

By Press Room

Rivers of Steel Awards Seven Mini Grants

Funding for local nonprofits provides $60,000 for heritage tourism,
community development, and placemaking initiatives

 

Homestead, PA (April 11, 2023)—Rivers of Steel recently awarded $60,000 to seven organizations, including nonprofits and local boroughs, within the eight-county region of southwestern Pennsylvania that the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area represents.

The Mini-Grant Program assists heritage-related sites and organizations as well as municipalities within the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area to develop new and innovative programs, partnerships, exhibits, tours, and other initiatives.

Funded projects support heritage tourism, enhance preservation efforts, involve the stewardship of natural resources, encourage outdoor recreation, and include collaborative partnerships. Through these efforts, Rivers of Steel seeks to identify, conserve, promote, and interpret the industrial and cultural heritage that defines southwestern Pennsylvania.

Mini-Grants were awarded to:

Brownsville Borough, $5,000, to support the Fenwick Park development project, including hardscape installation and industrial heritage interpretation.

Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, $3,000, for cultural heritage and creative expression workshops with refugees who have recently settled in the Pittsburgh area.

Grow Pittsburgh, $3,000, to support the Urban Farmers in Training and the Farm Apprenticeship programs, two workforce development initiatives that prioritize Black / Brown applicants.

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, $7,500, for a visitor improvement / heritage tourism project in the Trolley Display Building, which includes installing heating to extend hours of operation into the winter months.

Pittsburgh Green Innovators, $8,500, to support the Patterns of Meaning project, including the historic preservation and archiving of industrial foundry patterns, which is paired with a workforce development initiative relating to the preservation of the objects and a carpentry apprenticeship program for Hill District residents.

Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka, $10,000, to support the Gledaj! The Gaze of Maxo Vanka exhibition of Maxo Vanka’s works, including community engagement and education programming offered in partnership with Rivers of Steel and the LIGHT Education Initiative.

Washington County Historical Society, $23,000, for the Arcs of Freedom exhibit, a heritage tourism initiative that interprets the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area is one of twelve supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Funding is provided via DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program and the Environmental Stewardship Fund to Rivers of Steel, which administers the Mini-Grant Program.

As part of its ongoing diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion efforts, Rivers of Steel gave special consideration to black- or minority-led organizations and organizations that serve a majority BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) audience and communities. Rivers of Steel is committed to working with organizations who share our long-held belief in diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion and is committed to fighting systemic racism and discrimination against people of color.

About Rivers of Steel

Founded on the principles of heritage development, community partnership, and a reverence for the region’s natural and shared resources, Rivers of Steel strengthens the economic and cultural fabric of western Pennsylvania by fostering dynamic initiatives and transformative experiences.

Rivers of Steel showcases the artistry and innovation of our region’s industrial and cultural heritage through its historical and 21st-century attractions―offering unique experiences via tours, workshops, exhibitions, festivals, and more. Behind the scenes, Rivers of Steel supports economic revitalization—working at the grassroots level to deepen community partnerships, promote heritage tourism, and preserve local recreational and cultural resources for future generations.

About the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area

This eight-county region is one of 62 National Heritage Areas designated by the U.S. Congress and one of 12 State Heritage Areas. A National Heritage Area is a place of national significance to America. For Rivers of Steel, Congress recognized the industrial and cultural heritage of southwestern Pennsylvania. Through a public-private partnership with the National Park Service and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Rivers of Steel supports heritage conservation, heritage tourism, and outdoor recreation as a means to foster economic redevelopment and enhance cultural engagement.

Contact Carly McCoy at 412.464.4020, ext. 243 or by emailing cmccoy@riversofsteel.com.

Rivers of Steel   |   The Bost Building, 623 East Eighth Ave, Homestead PA 15120

riversofsteel.com

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An employee of Rivers of Steel smiling slightly for the camera.

Rivers of Steel is Hiring

By Press Room

Join the Team!

Looking for a Summer Internship? Interested in being an Event Coordinator? Rivers of Steel is hiring.

Event Coordinator, Historic Sites – Rivers of Steel is seeking an event coordinator to manage day-of events operations at its historic sites in the Monongahela Valley, including at the Pump House at the Waterfront in Munhall and the Carrie Blast Furnaces National Historic Landmark in Rankin and Swissvale.
Event Coordinator, Explorer Riverboat – Rivers of Steel is seeking an event coordinator to manage day-of events operations for charters and private events on the Explorer riverboat, docked on Pittsburgh’s North Shore.
W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop Summer Internship – Rivers of Steel is seeking students interested in an opportunity to gain experience in historic preservation, traditional crafts and trades, historic machinery, and historic site interpretation to apply for a paid summer internship.

Application Instructions

Please review the individual job listings for specific application instructions.

Rivers of Steel is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in hiring, transferring, promoting, terminating, paying, training, benefits or any other actions affecting employees. Rivers of Steel does not make any personnel decisions based on an employee’s race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, ancestry, marital status, veteran’s status, non-job related disability or handicap, or other prohibited criteria as these terms are used under applicable law. Rivers of Steel abides by applicable federal, state, and local laws that govern human rights in the employment process.