Award Winning Rec2Tech Program Expanding Offerings to Pittsburgh Youth

PITTSBURGH, PA (March 16, 2021) Rec2Tech classes from the Department of Parks & Recreation continued virtually through the last year, and will continue to expand with new classes in computer coding this spring. 

Introduced by Mayor William Peduto and led by Citiparks’ Digital Inclusion Coordinator Max Dennison, the tech classes for youth seek to bridge the digital divide by providing free STEM instruction at City recreation centers. As the rec centers have been closed since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 Dennison moved the classes online, serving more than 100 students in all. 

“Max is one of the City of Pittsburgh’s finest ambassadors, and the training and opportunities he is giving City youth will pay off for years to come,” Mayor Peduto said. 

“With the direct support of Mayor Peduto and his Administration, the National Science Foundation / Digital Harbor Foundation, and other generous area supporters, the City of Pittsburgh is now better positioned to offer tech-based programs and activities that many city youth have had very limited exposure to,” Citiparks Director Ross Chapman said. 

“In addition to the dynamic recreational activities that we offer, my hope is that Citiparks' Recreation Centers will be able to be viewed more as learning hubs. The goal is to deliver impactful programs that are designed to help address the digital divide, while also provide more equitable and inclusive avenues to resources and enrichment. Max's experience, knowledge and commitment are helping us rethink our approach to more formal learning in less formal settings, and we're all very excited to see where we can take this in the next few years." 

In 2019-2020 Rec2Tech provided in-person and virtual trainings including: 

  • Paulson (Summer 2019), 12 student cohort  
  • Phillips AI Bootcamp (Oct/Nov 2019), four 2 hour classes 12 students  
  • Warrington (Fall/Winter 2019), 10 students  
  • Coding Camp (Summer 2020) — in conjunction with Citicamp@Home, 40 students served. 
  • Coding Camp 2 (Summer 2020 – in conjunction with Citicamp@Home, 40 students served.  
  • Holiday Coding Class (January 1, 2021), 10 students served  
  • Black History Month Coding Cohort (February 22, 2021), 10 students served. 

The following initiatives are being offered this year: 

2021 Coding Cohorts: Citiparks will continue to offer virtual and when able in-person coding classes for both beginner and intermediate level participants. These coding classes are four weeks of instruction, culminating in a project that provides participants with an opportunity to create with their new coding skills. Courses will start up this month. 

Clubhouse: An informal monthly drop-in style coding meet up for all. Each month will feature a new project for those that want to code to work on together. This program will feature a variety of partners that will co-lead projects and activities with participants. The first clubhouse session will be this month. 

Tech Talks with Mr. Max: This is a series of virtual conversations with tech professionals that will give young people a glimpse into various tech careers and an opportunity to ask local tech professionals about careers in tech. Kicking off in Spring of 2021.  

STEM Coding Lab & Pittsburgh Technology Council Partnership: A four week summer 2021 learning experience for middle school kids that will introduce participants to STEM and tech education and careers in STEM while also connecting youth to local STEM professionals.  

National Science Foundation Digital Harbor Foundation ProgramThis three year partnership will build out tech maker spaces in two Citiparks recreation centers and provide a robust maker based tech curriculum to participants. This project is scheduled to begin in the Fall of 2021. 

More information is available here

(Image: Citiparks/City Channel Pittsburgh. Click for video.)




Save as PDF
Experimental - may have alignment issues.


Timothy McNulty
Communications Director
Mayor's Office