This winter, a 10-week STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) program “Bridges to Tech” for 25 youth launched in Pittsburgh at the Best Buy Teen Tech Center. The Best Buy sponsored afterschool curriculum is a program of Phase 4 Learning, Inc. with an emphasis on videography, digital editing, robotics, and sound recording.
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.
To make the program more accessible, participants were provided transportation and also awarded incentives such a Google Chromebook or a laptop upon completion. These youth used their skills learned from Bridges to Tech at summer internships with Best Buy, throughout the City and Partner 4 Work’s Learn and Earn program.
On August 19, EveryoneOn, PHASE 4 Learning Center, The Mayor’s Office and the Housing Authority held a press conference at the Best Buy Teen Tech Center to highlight the youth and explain how the benefits of the program can bring about change and awareness for a young workforce.
“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.”
-Mayor William Peduto, City of Pittsburgh
“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.”
-Terrie Suica-Reed, President and CEO of PHASE 4
“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.”
-Norma Fernandez, Chief Programs Officer