USW and Partners Open Computer Lab in Local Pittsburgh Neighborhood

The United Steelworkers (USW) partnered with several local organizations to open a computer lab in the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh on Monday, June 19, as part of a larger initiative to form a community workforce alliance in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The coalition so far consists of the USW, PACE (Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise), Mon Valley Circles, and the A. Philip Randolph Institute. Its goal is to better the lives of those living in disadvantaged communities in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County by improving educational outcomes and providing professional opportunities and resources. Comp Lab

“People have been pushed out of the city due to gentrification and now live out in the valley,” said DeWitt Walton, vice president of the Pittsburgh A. Philip Randolph Institute. “We need to reach out to them and create opportunities for them. This is where the alliance comes in.”

Erica Maloney from Mon Valley Circles, which works to connect people across socioeconomic lines in an effort to move people and families out of poverty, emphasized the necessity for groups like hers and the Steelworkers to come together and the power that comes along with it.

“We are working with a lot of folks in disadvantaged areas who don’t have access to a lot of services,” Maloney said. “This is giving us an opportunity to really have some synergy.”

The ten computers donated by the USW will reside at Brothers and Sisters Emerging, a nonprofit that serves as an umbrella organization to Garfield Youth Sports. Their vision is that through sports, mentoring, and advocacy, youth and their families can achieve successful educational performance and attain a solid economic future. This is one of the common goals shared by all of the organizations involved in this budding workforce coalition.

“We need citizens to come together to build the next generation of kids,” said Leo W. Gerard, president of the USW. “Education is one way to do that. It’s about building alliances and making a statement about where our society ought to be.”

The alliance plans to expand their reach into the greater Pittsburgh and Allegheny County areas, but starting locally in a neighborhood full of promise that was so hard hit by gentrification was a critical first move.

“It’s been a privilege to be able to work with all of these amazing organizations,” said Walton. “This is just another step on our journey.”

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