Community Engagement | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh

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Community Engagement

Pitt Information Technology is committed to serving the larger community in which the University of Pittsburgh operates. We are keenly aware that technology services and skills can transform the way people live, learn, and work. Here are just some of the ways Pitt IT has partnered with community organizations to improve the lives of our neighbors.

  • “Building Bridges” Workforce Development Program
    This is a unique opportunity for high school seniors through the University’s Community Engagement Center in the Hill District. Developed in partnership with the School of Computing and Information, participants will take multiple classes over two nine-week sessions taught by SCI students. Students will earn a CompTIA A+ certification needed for a position as a Help Desk professional, an internship opportunity, and a pathway to a career in IT.
  • Every1online Community Wi-Fi
    Every1online is spearheaded by non-profit Meta Mesh Wireless Communities. It aims to bridge the digital divide by providing free Wi-Fi to area families in need. Working with Carnegie Mellon University and other community partners, Pitt has played a key role in making the program a reality by providing a perch for broadcasting equipment on the Cathedral and at a University facility on Thomas Boulevard in Pittsburgh’s East End, as well as installing required network infrastructure at both facilities. Phase one of the program is now providing service to Coraopolis, but will soon expand to Homewood, New Kensington, and more.
  • Community Technology Help Desk
    During the pandemic, many people needed to start using technology in new and intense ways, for education, employment, information, and to meet with healthcare providers. Staffed by Pitt faculty, staff, and student volunteers, the Community Technology Help Desk offers trained volunteers who can help answer the technology questions of families in the greater Pittsburgh area. 
  • Beyond the Laptops Program
    With most students shifting to online learning and workers telecommuting during shelter-in-place order, the needs of families who already faced technology challenges were even greater. Community development organization Neighborhood Allies partnered with computer-refurbishing company Computer Reach to address that need. Together, the two organizations were able to source 1,000 refurbished laptops—but all of them needed chargers. Pitt IT help source the chargers locally and assist in offsetting their cost.
  • AFA CyberCamp
    Each year, Pitt Cyber, in partnership with Pitt Information Technology, hosts the Air Force Association CyberCamp. This week-long camp is free and open to high school students from the Pittsburgh area and teaches cybersecurity principles and future career opportunities. The camp is designed for a range of technical skill levels, including introductory digital literacy, and is focused on cyber ethics and systems security. A portion of the spots were reserved for advanced registration for students in underserved communities.
  • Security Assured Data Science Education and Training (SADET) Workshops
    SADET aims to create a security-assured data science curriculum for local high schools in order to help students develop stronger digital literacy skills and a desire to pursue data science during their college and professional careers. Pitt IT has been involved with SADET since its start in 2017. The project has hosted several full-day workshops where technology experts give presentations to local high school educators and administrators about various topics in data science.
  • Other Initiatives
    • ​Partnering with CAI's Autism2Work initiative to create employment opportunities within Pitt IT for individuals on the autism spectrum
    • Working with the Office of Community and Government Relations and CMU to support Mayor’s OnePGH Rec2Tech initiative—providing technology infrastructure and curriculum to advance technical skills of young people utilizing Pittsburgh’s recreation centers
    • Serve as a technical advisor to New Granada Theater and help to set up computer classrooms and a Maker Space
    • Partnered with Pitt School of Education and Microsoft to develop remote learning technology for local teachers
    • Attended Virtual Career Day at Pittsburgh Milliones and spoke about cybersecurity careers