Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania is proud to announce the expansion of the pioneering PPG Artificial Intelligence Pathways Institute (AIPI) and Teen Accelerator Program thanks to the support of Governor Wolf’s 2021 Advancing Grants through PAsmart and in partnership with Clairton City School District, Will Allen Foundation and Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Academy. This collective partnership forms the Western Pennsylvania Artificial Intelligence Pathways Institute & Teen Accelerator to expand the program to 7 sites in: Clairton, McKeesport, Duquesne, Somerset, Carnegie, City of Pittsburgh and into a highly active virtual option. AIPI & Teen Accelerator is part of Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania’s Career Works, youth workforce development program which was launched in 2019 to formalize our teen career readiness programs.

We’re overjoyed to be part of such an amazing group of educational leaders working to Remake Learning especially BGCWPA and Clairton School District to build AI & CS skills as well as internship & credential opportunities for high school students!” Tweets Will Allen, Founder of the Will Allen Foundation.

PAsmart Advancing Grants will be distributed to multiple partnerships across Pennsylvania to help support quality educational opportunities and experiences to K-12 students in computer science and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

In its third year, the PPG AIPI will reach new local and national youth by offering a summer introductory program in artificial intelligence (AI) to students who are traditionally untapped and underrepresented in STEM Careers, helping them earn microcredentials from Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy for a pre-apprentice certificate in two occupations in addition to placing up to 20 AIPI second year students into corporate internships at companies like Argo, CGI, Google, Amazon and NVIDIA. Additionally the AIPI “Teen Accelerator” school year program, which takes place afterschool and virtually, focuses on providing wages, mentorship, advanced training to obtain certifications and pre-apprenticeship training necessary to enter directly into the workforce or other post-secondary training.

With the success and integrity of the program the last two years, we are excited to expand on the progress we have made and incorporate more communities into such a growing field,” shares Christine Nguyen, Director of STEM Education at Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania.

PPG AIPI + Teen Accelerator is not your average summer camp or after school program. A pioneering and first of its kind program in the region and at this point, nationally, AIPI is an intensive, interactive, hands-on and fun program that seeks to inspire the tech leaders and innovators of tomorrow. We do this by supporting the study of computer science, artificial intelligence, robotics, engineering and other closely related subjects by connecting youth to project based learning, mentorship/career exposure and connections to higher-education and industry. A three-week introduction to artificial intelligence, human centered design and STEM careers for rising 9th-12th grade students that culminates into a judged poster session where students present solutions to community social justice challenges that they select. These projects are mentored and judged by technical staff mentors from PPG Industries, a major supporter & corporate sponsor of the AIPI & Teen Accelerator that helped launch the program in 2019. Teens who complete all AIPI deliverables are eligible to earn a certificate from BGCWPA and our partner and program evaluator, Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy.

The support of Governor Wolf and the PAsmart team at Pennsylvania Department of Education allows for BGCWPA and our collaborative partners to expand our AIPI Program in order to serve more communities, particularly given the continued lack of diversity in STEM technical roles in this region and beyond; according to the Allegheny Conference less than 2% of the IT workforce are African Americans and less than 10% of computer programmers identify as being minority or females. Out-of-School Time organizations are critical partners to bridge learning gaps, identify, prepare and connect youth to these companies and emerging tech roles. Expanding our PPG AIPI into the Western PA AIPI will impact young peoples futures and the future of our city,” shares Boys & Girls Clubs of WPA President and CEO, Dr. Lisa Abel-Palmieri.

Thank you, Governor Wolf, for your commitment to our youth and to the growing industry of AI!
More exciting AIPI news from our partners at PPG and NVIDIA coming soon.