PPG recently announced that its corporate information technology (IT) department has partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania to introduce students to careers in artificial intelligence (AI) and the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through the development of the PPG AI Pathways Institute (AIPI) & Teen Accelerator program. The PPG Foundation provided funds to help support this new initiative.
The three-week, intensive summer program connects students in ninth through 11th grades who have a passion for technology to project-based hands-on learning, mentorship, career exposure and networking opportunities.
“With the support of PPG and the PPG Foundation, we are helping students from historically underrepresented groups in these fields develop technical skills and confidence in their abilities, while encouraging them to build personal and professional connections with a diverse group of peers who share similar passions,” said Dr. Lisa Abel-Palmieri, president and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania.
More than 40 students and approximately 75 PPG IT employee volunteers participated in the inaugural PPG AIPI & Teen Accelerator program in early August at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania’s Lawrenceville and Carnegie locations.
As part of the program’s curriculum, student groups were tasked with using AI to identify, design and develop a prototype to solve a community problem. The students were introduced to computer programming specific to robotics, coding, human-centered design and other topics. They also had the opportunity to tour PPG’s Coatings Innovation Center (CIC) in Allison Park, Pennsylvania.
“We are extremely proud to partner with organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania to give young people in the community early exposure to computer science and STEM-based careers,” said Chris Caruso, PPG vice president, information technology. “This program is an incredible way for our PPG employee volunteers to have a positive impact on the lives, and minds, of our region’s future tech leaders and innovators.”
The students presented their prototypes to their families, school administration, local government officials and PPG employees at a public showcase and awards day held at PPG’s Pittsburgh headquarters on Aug. 16.
After completing the program, 20 students were offered paid, part-time internships to further develop their prototypes through the Teen Accelerator program, where PPG mentors will continue to work with the students during the 2019-2020 school year.
Learn more at www.ppgcommunities.com.