While Pittsburgh has transformed itself from a city of steel to a high tech mecca, not everyone has had an equal stake in this transformation. There exists a huge opportunity gap for young people of color. According to My Brother’s Keeper Playbook, 30% of Pittsburgh Public Schools fail to graduate. Meanwhile, there are over 17,000 open computing jobs in Pennsylvania, yet we only graduate 2,820 in computer science as reported by Code.org. And while jobs in computing make up half of openings in the STEM fields, there are relatively few men of color working toward computer science degrees.
The question then becomes what are the concrete steps we can take as a community to rectify this gap and ensure that young people of color become full participants in Pittsburgh’s success?
My Brother’s Keeper is President Barack Obama’s initiative to create “MBK Communities” which seek ways to provide more opportunities for all young people, but particularly for boys and young men of color. The City of Pittsburgh, in collaboration with Allegheny County, took up the President’s initiative in 2015 and created a committee whose first goal was to write a Greater Pittsburgh Region MBK Playbook, outlining effective strategies that are working to support the success of young men of color, and ways to implement these strategies locally.
Now, the Sprout Fund has joined with the City and County to implement the next phase of the ongoing My Brother’s Keeper initiative. Via the generous support of the Heinz Endowments, Sprout will identify and employ a project manager and a planning consultant, and make grants totaling $100,000 towards projects to “seed projects that enhance access to learning experiences that connect young people of color to career opportunities in technology.”
Sprout has issued two Requests for Proposals. They are seeking the following:
- Community & Stakeholder Planning Consultant to design and lead the community and stakeholder planning process and to prepare the initial recommendations that result from these discussions.
- Project Manager to provide the ongoing project management for the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and act as a liaison between and coordinator of participating organizations, including the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.
Proposals are due Friday, August 5, 2016 by 5:00 PM. Additional information can be found here.