Edgar Largaespada is the Director of Industry Partnerships at Partner4Work, the $25 million workforce development organization for the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. As such, Edgar leads a team of developers empowered to engage businesses and other entities to develop and deploy strategic solutions to solve common challenges in talent pipeline development, recruitment, and retention. Prior to this work, Edgar led Partner4Work's efforts to understand the supply side, studying job seekers and workers looking to begin or advance in a career with a specific focus on job quality, equity, and inclusion. This research has been the topic of several speaking engagements and featured in both regional and national press publications. Edgar holds a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and a bachelor's from Ave Maria University Latin American Campus in Nicaragua. Edgar, his wife Krista, and their three children live in Sewickley.
What has the pandemic taught you about yourself?
The pandemic has taught me how privileged I am as a worker. During lockdown and stay-at-home orders, and for over a year now, I have been able to work remotely without any pressure of returning to the office prematurely. In a time filled with uncertainty, I have enjoyed tremendous job security. And throughout the Zoom burnout and overall stress of the pandemic, mental well-being has been one of the priorities addressed by my supervisor and the organization’s leadership team. So, this pandemic has taught me to be grateful for this privilege and do right by those who do not enjoy the same situation. My goal is that through the work I do every day, I may find ways to support those workers, job seekers, and businesses that found themselves at the front lines of this global crisis.
What would you tell your teenage self?
Aside from buying as much Amazon stock as possible, there are three main things that I would advise my teenage self. First, value your time with your parents and sisters. Time and distance will make it more difficult to nourish these relationships. Second, the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb. So worry less about dating that pretty girl in your class and instead focus on creating deeper bonds and memories with your chosen family of close friends. These friendships will carry you in some of your darkest moments as you learn how to be an adult in this world. And lastly, get out of your comfort zone and take more risks because failing is indeed an event and not a person. (Zig Ziglar) The regret of not taking a change will compound over the years.
Is workforce the career you envisioned in college or high school? Why or why not?
Absolutely not. I wanted to be a psychologist in high school, and towards the end of my college years, I wanted to be an epidemiologist. Neither one worked out for me, but it was a personal journey that showed me that I would be satisfied as long as I was constantly building new relationships and working towards the greater good of my community. Workforce development was never a thought in my mind. I approached it from a research perspective and enjoyed learning people’s stories. However, it put me on a path through which I discovered how my work could positively affect the well-being of individuals and their families. So maybe in the end, in a nonlinear way, Workforce is the career I envisioned in high school and college.