Mon Valley Initiative opens Charleroi jobs, housing center

Scott Beveridge
Observer Reporter

People who need assistance in purchasing a house or finding a job have a new place to seek help in downtown Charleroi.

The Homestead-based Mon Valley Initiative has purchased a building at Fifth Street and McKean Avenue where a storefront is stocked with a bank of computers for job searches and making résumés.

“It’s a lot easier for people to get here from Elizabeth than to drive to Homestead,” said Jason Togyer, the initiative’s spokesman.

The initiative formed following the collapse of the steel industry in the 1980s as an avenue to strengthen the Mon Valley, provide career and financial training and develop residential and commercial properties.

It has constructed eight new houses in Charleroi and rehabilitated others there, and also turned the former Eisenberg’s department store in Monessen into an apartment building last year.

Togyer said the group systemwide matched 280 people with jobs last year, and it has had about 25 such placements this year.

The Charleroi building has 15 apartments on the upper two floors and another storefront facing Fifth Street.

The new office can be used by companies to hold job interviews, and there is a meeting space with a kitchen.

“An employer in Monroeville might have staff here and can use the space here free to conduct interviews,” said Jane Black, an employment and financial coach for the initiative.

The Charleroi office also provides free computer training in three-hour sessions between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.

The group also has a program where it can offer $10,000 incentives for people to purchase owner-occupied houses if they qualify. It also can find funding to help offset the cost of making repairs to these houses, Togyer said.

The initiative will offer tours of six to eight houses that are on the market in Charleroi from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Realtors will be available at the tours that begin at the new Charleroi office, 435 McKean Ave. For additional information, call 724-565-8040, ext. 1, or visit