STEM education is not just for city kids anymore.

Thanks to a collaboration by Chevron, the nonprofit Fab Foundation and regional schools, digital fabrication workshops are coming to Fayette, Green and Washington counties.

A permanent workshop, known as a “Fab Lab,” will be located in Grindstone, Fayette County, while a second, mobile Fab Lab will travel to other rural school districts in area governed by regional education agency Intermediate Unit 1 (IU1). The labs will provide high-tech equipment and teacher resources that are not often available in rural parts of these counties.

fabLabOriginalrotatorIP“At Chevron, we understand STEM education is important to a successful future for our local communities. We are working with our partners to provide access to state-of-the-art education and technology resources to equip students with the critical skills needed to fill the jobs of tomorrow, particularly for those with limited access to the tools necessary for success in these fields,” said Nigel Hearne, vice president of Chevron Appalachia Michigan Business Unit based in the Pittsburgh area.

The IU1 Community Fab Lab will provide access to resources for the students in the K-12 system, undergraduate students and the community at-large, including skilled staff and volunteers, design and fabrication equipment and access to an international Fab Lab network. It will ultimately touch an estimated 56,000 people. Founded in 2009 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Fab Foundation brings digital fabrication tools and processes to people of all ages, developing educational and offering professional development training programs for teachers.

The hands-on learning that will be available at IU1 Fab Lab aims to spark interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and prepare individuals for the nearly 1 million U.S. jobs that will require basic STEM literacy over the next five years – including more than 2,000 energy and manufacturing jobs southwestern Pennsylvania.

“This Fab Lab is a tremendous resource for teachers and students throughout southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Fayette County Commissioner Al Ambrosini. “It will help get our kids excited about science and give them the technical skills they will need in their careers. I commend Chevron for its commitment to our community and to educating our children.”

The IU1 Community Fab Lab will feature such state-of-the-art design and fabrication equipment as laser cutters, 3D printers, vinyl cutters and milling machines. The Fab Lab will promote innovation and design in the community and will build the local workforce capacity.

This digital fabrication workshop is made possible through a $1.2 million contribution by Chevron. It is part of the company’s $10 million commitment to the Fab Foundation to build Fab Labs in areas where it operates in the United States. This Fab Lab is a component of the Appalachia Partnership Initiative, a collaborative effort formed by Chevron to develop a highly-skilled regional workforce.

“Intermediate Unit 1 is proud to be one of the few organizations selected from around the world to receive both a mobile and a stationary community Fab Lab,” said Charles F. Mahoney, Intermediate Unit 1 executive director.
“We will continue to be an innovative educational keystone transforming education and learning for the countless students, educators and community members we serve.”

Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Amanda Waltz

All eyes were on Pittsburgh yesterday when 500-plus invited guests gathered at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh for the first-ever White House Frontiers Conference, a daylong event culminating in an address by President Barack Obama and panel where he participated.

At CMU’s Jared L. Cohon University Center, Secret Service agents and SWAT team members weaved through hundreds of tech entrepreneurs and students attending panels featuring top scientists and researchers discussing innovative approaches to solving community and national issues. Those leading the interplanetary track–which covered space exploration and the journey to Mars–were easily identified by their shirts emblazoned with NASA patches.

Just down the street, the University of Pittsburgh hosted tracks on healthcare (Personal) and the issues of climate change and clean energy (Global). The other two tracks featured were Local, focusing on transportation and criminal justice, and National, featuring Artifical Intelligence.

At the event, it was announced that $300 million in funds would be granted to further technology’s role in improving city infrastructure, brain research, small-satellite technology and precision medicine.

The choice of setting made sense in a time when Pittsburgh has garnered wide attention for its role as an emerging tech hub and smart city.

“Pittsburgh’s overnight success story is 30 years of hard work and innovation,” said Mayor Bill Peduto while addressing attendees at the Local Frontiers track. At the center of that success are the research and startups produced by Pitt and CMU.

The Local Track

Peduto offered his views on transportation on a panel that included United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Zipcar co-founder and former CEO Robin Chase, and Tim Kentley-Klay of the autonomous driving startup Zoox.

In a breakout session on transportation that followed, Foxx asked, “What fundamental changes in transportation policy need to happen? It took a hell of a lot to get Congress focused on it. The conversation has always been 90 percent where will the money come from and 10 percent policy.” It needs to be the reverse, he said.

The $65 million in new funding awards announced at the Conference “will help cities and communities do the work to advance on a local level,” he said, citing the work of the Traffic 21 initiative in Pittsburgh where smart traffic signals have helped to reduce traffic congestion by 40 percent. The increased funding will allow that to “be applied to Downtown Pittsburgh much more broadly.”

“To reduce congestion, to increase safety, to really hardness opportunity, we are changing how we think about innovation,” Foxx said. ” There has to be constant vigilance by everyone . . . You tell us what you don’t like, tell us what you do like; we’re going to keep trying to build a better mousetrap.”

Kids are our future

Two themes that resounded throughout the day were about how our children will be the ones to solve many of the problems we face today and how critical it is to prepare all of our kids for the future, and how no one should be left behind as we innovate our way to the future.

“We are stronger than we think we are,” said Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer at the White House. “How do we unlock and unleash the talent of everyone?”

More than once, a panelist talked about how “a seven-year-old is out there” who will one day to be able to solve the problems we face today. The 20-year-old leader of Greening Forward, Charles Orgbon III, urged the audience to “think differently about your role with young people. You’re not just a teacher of young people. To create that transformative change, we’re gonna need a lot of things and one of those things is your role as a mentor.”

The problems of today, he said, “should not be left to so-called experts. Young people are ready to take action against the environmental issues that impact us and the global challenges we face. We’re the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change.”

Obama addressed climate change in his remarks. “We don’t listen to science just when it fits our ideology. That’s the path to ruin,” he said. “When the Russians beat us into space we didn’t deny that Sputnik was up there…we acknowledged the facts and then we built a space program almost overnight and beat them to the moon.”

Obama gave a shout-out to numerous people and groups advancing the city, including the Girls of Steel, the upcoming Maker Faire, and the remarkable work at Pitt around brain implants. He talked about meeting Nathan Copeland, paralyzed since 2014, who has a prosthetic arm that allows him to feel sensation in his fingers. He shook his hand, said Obama, then they fist-bumped.

Making sure all are included

A panel roundtable discussion later led by Chief Innovation & Performance Officer Debra Lam pointed out that Pittsburgh still has some hurdles to overcome in order to make this new tech landscape inclusive for all.

“You need to ask, am I reaching out to everyone?” Lam said as she led a group containing tech, education and nonprofit representatives from Pittsburgh and throughout the country. “If I’m not, how do I do that?”

One solution lies in sourcing and analyzing data to understand the city’s needs and concerns. It was recently used to show how diverse Pittsburgh’s 90 neighborhoods really were. “Data doesn’t lie,” said Lam.

Chief of Innovation and Performance Debra Lam at the White House Frontiers Conference. Photo by Amanda Waltz.
Chief of Innovation & Performance Debra Lam at the White House Frontiers Conference. Photo by Amanda Waltz.
The words ring true for one agreement made just prior to Obama’s arrival for his afternoon address. Peduto announced plans to join forces with White House-led Police Data Initiative (PDI), which supports efforts of local law enforcement to build trust with the communities they serve by using data to increase transparency and accountability.

“In order to rebuild police-community trust, transparency is a vital first step,” said Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay in an official statement. “In a free democracy, the public has a right to understand the workings of government, and the actions of law enforcement touch the lives of our citizenry in powerful ways.”

Part of the participation includes the expansion of the Guide to Crime, Courts, and Corrections, a website developed by the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center (WPRDC) to increase public access to law enforcement data for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The WPRDC will enlist help from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, the Department of Innovation & Performance, and the Allegheny County Human Services to add up-to-date information on everything from non-traffic violations to police training to civil rights lawsuits.

The site will also feature a variety of tools, such as charts, maps, interactive visuals and reports, as well as additional criminal justice-related data provided by Allegheny County and the State of Pennsylvania.

“This important work continues to build upon our broader efforts around open data,” said Lam in an official statement. “We hope that providing such data not only increases government accountability but empowers the community and strengthens partnerships. This is another testament to Pittsburgh’s inclusive innovation.”

Out of the way, San Jose! Pittsburgh is No.1 in mulitple realms, as the world is hearing on a nearly weekly basis.

Pittsburgh is increasingly a destination of choice for people looking to advance their careers — in tech and otherwise — and build a great life in a hip, affordable region.

Trulia  + LinkedIn’s new Graduate Opportunity Index touts the region for its affordability and wealth of entry-level jobs and educated Millennials. Sales industry intelligence platform DataFox calls Pittsburgh one of the country’s top cities for startups, with an “ecosystem – anchored by its prestigious colleges and universities – helping to prove the city’s upper hand and competitive advantage to most Silicon Valley/New York-esque, fast-moving, consumer-focused entrepreneurial cities.” Plus our restaurant scene is awesome.

Cool jobs. Hot industries. Affordability. And more than 20,000 jobs open today across southwestern PA. You can explore them all here at ImaginePittsburgh.com, the region’s digital hub for information about hot careers, industries and employers.

Arrived2nd rotatorWelcome to Pittsburgh – the “new cool,” a city topping lists for hippest neighborhoods, great places to eat and outdoors fun in all four seasons. You’ve arrived, so settle in and get to know the campus. Make new friends. And when you’re ready, grab your friends and get off campus. There’s an entire city to discover with adventures that are nearby and easy on the wallet, if not totally free!

Ready to start exploring now? Check out some great upcoming activities and events at ImaginePittsburgh.com/Play and gear up for a life you’ll love … in Pittsburgh.

Click here to learn about Pittsburgh as the new cool, and whether our Lawrenceville neighborhood really is the new Brooklyn.

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ImaginePittsburgh.com is a hub for career exploration and the great LIVE-WORK-PLAY-LEARN options in the 10-county region. 

The ATHENA Awards are the networking event of the season for men and women of all backgrounds! Tickets available here: Athena-Pittsburgh.com

Eight women – five veteran managers and three emerging leaders – have been selected as finalists for the 2016 ATHENA Awards Program of Greater Pittsburgh. They will be among the many nominees recognized for their professional excellence, contributions to the community and mentorship of other women at the annual ATHENA Awards luncheon on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. The awards are presented by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development at the Westin Convention Center Hotel. One finalist from each category – the traditional ATHENA award, and the ATHENA Young Professional Award – will receive her respective award at the event.

The finalists for the traditional ATHENA award compose a varied and distinguished group. Each woman uses her leadership to create professional excellence and positive regional impact. The finalists are:

  • Audrey Dunning, CEO, Summa Technologies, Inc.
  • Kelly Gray, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, FedEx Ground
  • Diana Reid, Executive Vice President, PNC Real Estate
  • Tracy Vitale, Superintendent of Schools, Seneca Valley School District
  • Yvette Williams, Senior Patient Advocate/Program Manager, Allegheny Health Network/The Open Door, Inc.

The ATHENA Young Professional Award (AYPA) will be presented to a woman 35 years of age or younger who exemplifies the traditional ATHENA qualities, with an emphasis on being a role model. The finalists are:

  • Marteen Garay, Director of Entrepreneurship Programming, Urban Innovation21
  • Caitlin Green, Vice President, PNC Bank, N.A.
  • Katie Kopczynski, Marketing Analyst, Eaton

A complete list of nominees can be found at ATHENA-Pittsburgh.com.

Also at the luncheon, ATHENA officials will announce the recipient of the new Barbara McNees Spirit of ATHENA Scholarship, named for the ATHENA program’s founder and retired president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce (an Allegheny Conference affiliate). The scholarship will be awarded annually to one woman age 35 or younger to attend, tuition-free, the Carnegie Mellon Leadership and Negotiation Academy for Women. The deadline to apply is July 29 for the academy session that begins Sept. 23. Learn more about the scholarship and the academy here.

Last year’s Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Awards luncheon drew nearly 900 attendees. That makes it among the largest stand-alone events of its kind among the 500-plus communities around the globe that present the award each year.

Tickets for the luncheon can be purchased online at ATHENA-Pittsburgh.com. Sponsorships are still available; contact ATHENA@alleghenyconference.org.

As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Kris B. Mamula reported recently, additive manufacturing — also known as 3D printing — has broad implications for the region. Pittsburgh still makes things — in new, flexible ways. 

Published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette under the headline CMU center relives city’s industrial past / July 23, 2016

 

Part of Pittsburgh’s industrial past was reborn Friday in a sleek new building on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University.

The university announced a collaboration of industry, academia and government as part of its year-old NextManufacturing Center. Attending the kickoff reception were faculty, students and business owners who are interested in reinventing how things are made in the 21st century.

Additive manufacturing — sometimes called 3D printing — is the biggest thing to happen in metallurgy in 50 years and one with broad implications for the Western Pennsylvania economy, said Anthony Rollett, associate director of the NextManufacturing Center.

“This will change the way people think about making things,” said Mr. Rollett, who is also a professor of materials science and engineering. “You’re going to see it pop up in many different ways and it will have a broad and pervasive economic impact.”

Additive manufacturing shapes layers of metal bits, liquid polymers or other materials into aerospace parts, biomedical devices and wide variety of other items. Historically, metal parts have been cast from molten metal, which is a slower process with less flexibility.

CMU’s center is the second of its kind in the region — the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering in June announced plans to open the Ansys Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory.

U.S. Steel Corp., a corporate name synonymous with Pittsburgh’s industrial heritage, was among 11 companies that signed on as founding members of the new consortium at CMU. Others include Alcoa, Ansys Inc. Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corp. and General Electric Co.

In April, GE announced the investment of $39 million in an advanced manufacturing research center in Findlay. GE’s Center for Additive Technology Advancement employs 22 engineers and plans to add another 28 high-tech workers next years.

Additive manufacturing also has big implications for biomedical devices, said Adam Feinberg, associate professor materials science and engineering and biomedical engineering. Making catheters that are tailored to the individual patient is among many opportunities offered by the technology, he said.

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Wondering about the implications for your own future? Check out ImaginePittsburgh.com to explore southwestern PA’s trending careers, industries and the more than 20,000 jobs open now on our custom-built aggregator, updated nightly.

Find a job, advance your career, build a life you’ll love: ImaginePittsburgh.com.