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Pilot STEM program provides students with career experience


Last updated 8/29/2019 at 8:36am

Mayor William Peduto joined Housing Authority City of Pittsburgh, Phase 4 Learning Inc., Allegheny County Housing Authority, and Everyone On to celebrate the launch of “Bridges to Tech.

This 10-week STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) pilot-program “Bridges to Tech” will host 20 youth in Pittsburgh at the Best Buy Teen Tech Center. A Best Buy sponsored afterschool curriculum taught by staff from Phase 4 Learning, Inc. with an emphasis on videography, digital editing, robotics, and sound recording.

To make the program more accessible, participants were given bus passes and also awarded a Google Chromebook upon completion of the program. These youth used their skills learned from Bridges to Tech at summer internships with Best Buy through the City and Partner 4 Work’s Learn and Earn program, and many also received Google IT certificates.

Students interested in pursuing a college degree can receive free SAT tutoring through a partnership with College Board and Everyone On. All participating students will have SAT test fees waived and are provided scholarship opportunities.

Bridges to Tech is part of a national initiative, ConnectHomeUSA, which seeks to remove barriers caused by low digital literacy and lack of internet access by providing HUD-assisted residents with the skills they need to succeed in today’s digital age. ConnectHomePGH is led by EveryoneOn, a non-profit that creates social and economic opportunity through connecting everyone to the internet.

“As our nation and city move toward rapid job growth in the technology sector, it is important, now more than ever, to invest in our youth so they can gain the skills and opportunity to achieve their highest potential. Bridges to Tech and our partners are an example of how we are supporting our future generations,” said Mayor Peduto.

“The Allegheny County Housing Authority is excited to partner with PHASE 4, the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, and the Office of Mayor Peduto for the Bridges to Tech program. Helping to end the digital divide is something that we are greatly invested in as an organization, and one of the best ways to do that is to reach the youth in our communities and make sure that they have access to the technology that will help them in all areas of life. We are looking forward to all of the wonderful accomplishments this program will produce,” said Beverly Moore.

“Bridges to Tech and, on a broader level, the entire ConnectHome initiative are indicative of HACP’s commitment to digital equity. We’re firmly committed to providing all HACP households with access to the tools they need to become self-sufficient and, in today’s world, that means computers, accessible high-speed Internet and digital literacy programming,” said Caster D. Binion.

“PHASE 4 is proud to partner with Best Buy to bring the Bridges to Tech Program to Pittsburgh. To witness the smiles and enjoyment of the kids as they explore and learn is priceless. The kids are our future; it is up to us to provide them with exposure and opportunities to build a great life,” said Terrie Suica-Reed.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Phase 4, the Office of Mayor Peduto, and the public housing authorities to ensure these students gain critical skills and information that will open new opportunities for them. Thank you to Best Buy for making Bridges to Tech possible for the youth of Pittsburgh. We look forward to expanding this program here and in other cities,” said Norma Fernandez.


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