September 15, 2023

PaCEO Launches Multi-Channel Outreach Campaign

Marketing and Community Outreach Coordinator, PaCEO

On September 5, the Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership (PaCEO), in conjunction with the Pittsburgh City Council and the Heinz Endowments, launched the U.S.’s first citywide task force on employee ownership. The Pittsburgh Citywide Task Force on Employee Ownership is now in the process of reaching out to roughly 30,000 businesses in the Pittsburgh region with the message of employee ownership through a variety of channels. The channels include email, direct mail, social media, radio ads, podcast ads, television, and a podcast episode on CityCast Pittsburgh on September 20. The last phase of the task force is a series of in-person informational sessions co-hosted by the Pennsylvania Center at various community groups around the city. These informational sessions will begin next month and will continue through the remainder of 2023 and into 2024. 

In the first few weeks since the official launch, the program has already seen great success. The task force's website has already seen nearly 600 unique visits, and there have been multiple signups for the informational sessions as well. The task force concept may ultimately be implemented in other cities around Pennsylvania and beyond.

The Pittsburgh Citywide Task Force on Employee Ownership is led by PaCEO Executive Director Kevin McPhillips and Pittsburgh City Council member Erika Strassburger. The multi-year project has assembled decision-makers from the Allegheny region to create an intricate program to both raise awareness and study ways that messaging can be more effective in helping business owners and others engage with employee ownership.

The Task Force includes members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, members of Pittsburgh City Council, a former Pennsylvania lieutenant governor, CEOs of area employee-owned companies, members of the Allegheny Council and the Allegheny Conference, academic leaders from the University of Pittsburgh and Chatham University, business media leaders, non-profit and organizational development leaders, and employee-owners themselves.

An important feature of the task force is a unique data collection system spearheaded by Beyster Institute Fellow Dr. Trevor Young-Hyman of the Katz Graduate School of Management at the University of Pittsburgh. Two of the media components include letters and emails to segments of 33,000 businesses, gathered from rich data collected through work with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. The letter uses a personalized QR code and individualized URLs that lead respondents to one of four websites based on the respondent's demographics. 

The program has four message styles: large and small company “Financial Message” and large and small company “Social Message.” The respondents are tracked back to the rich database through a Qualtrics program at the University of Pittsburgh. This allows visibility into the kinds of messages that garner specific responses based on company size, location, industry, employees, revenue, etc.

We hope this program will reveal patterns that can be shared with others seeking to raise awareness and promote employee ownership to improve the lives of working people and create a more equitable and rational economy. For more information, please feel free to reach out to the PaCEO at or visit the Task Force website at