Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg to welcome displaced Ukrainians
GREENSBURG – Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg has the potential to welcome Ukrainian families displaced by the war to live, work, and worship in Westmoreland County.
On Sunday and Monday, July 30 and 31, 2023, the Diocese of Greensburg will invite Ukrainians to visit Greensburg to learn more about opportunities available in Westmoreland County. Catholic Charities is providing free travel, meals, and hotel accommodations to those who qualify. The Economic Growth Connection, alongside General Carbide, will lead tours of the community on Monday.
Bishop Larry J. Kulick said the Diocese is working with the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia as part of a Catholic mission to provide for the spiritual and physical needs of those impacted by the war in Ukraine.
“Simultaneously, we were approached by community and business leaders who told us they would help sustain our mission by providing employment opportunities and even onsite job interviews when individuals come to visit,” Bishop Kulick said. “Right now, we have about 10 families interested in visiting, and with the help of the Archeparchy and Archbishop Borys Gudziak, who have been working on the front lines helping those who are displaced, we hope those numbers will grow.”
Business leaders like Mona Pappafava-Ray, CEO of General Carbide, are eager for a chance to help with the visit. “Not only is this a charitable outreach, but it is also a way to connect individuals who want to work with the many opportunities available in Westmoreland County. The labor shortage in this area is no secret. We are excited about the opportunity, even on a small scale, to have an influx of potential candidates,” Pappafava-Ray said.
The Diocese has created a bilingual website with visit and registration information at www.DioceseofGreensburg.org/WelcometoWestmoreland that includes photos, videos and links for Ukrainians to learn more about Westmoreland County. On it, Fr. Oleh Seremchuk, native of Ukraine and Pastor of St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church in Scottdale and St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Perryopolis, speaks directly to Ukrainians about the potential of a life in Western Pennsylvania.
The Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland County recognized immediately that the existing Ukrainian population in Western Pennsylvania could be a gateway to the next wave of Ukrainian immigration.
“There’s no doubt, this could help us to build a connection for many of the businesses in our community,” said Jim Smith, President and CEO of Economic Growth Connection, a private, non-profit economic development corporation. “I’ve had employers tell me that they are ready and willing to hire individuals who may not necessarily have all the requisite skills but are willing to be trained. Having more diverse channels and a wider reach for recruiting talent is a responsive strategy and one we will hope will work.”
“Many talented individuals have had to flee Ukraine and are pursuing opportunities elsewhere around the country, and there are no shortages of opportunities in Westmoreland County. Hopefully the business community can take an active role in the multitude of opportunities here,” said Mark Smail of Smail Automotive.
Melaney Hegyes, Managing Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg said, “If you or your organization would like to support this Catholic Charities initiative, online donations are being accepted at www.ccharitiesgreensburg.org.”