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'City As Our Makerspace' Teaches Women Of Color Tech And Entrepreneurship Skills

Bryanna Johnson
The Prototype logo and a Boxzy machine.

Five Pittsburgh nonprofits are banding together for a free workshop series on tech and entrepreneurship skills. The program, called the City as our Makerspace, is specifically aimed at women of color and is a collaboration of Prototype PGH, Black Unicorn Library, A Peace of Mind, Ujamaa Collective and Flower House.

Each nonprofit will host two of the ten workshops. Bryanna Johnson is operations manager of Prototype, which bills itself as a feminist makerspace and aims to improve gender and race equity in the tech world.

"Pittsburgh has this growing tech sector, a lot of people have noticed the neighborhoods that have been changing around town," Johnson said. "But certain people are being left out, and historically it's women of color."

One upcoming workshop will teach 3-D modeling and printing to attendees using a three-in-one machine called Boxzy. This will give participants the opportunity to use a tool that retails at thousands of dollars.

Johnson said she hopes attendees will pass on the skills they learn to others, creating a domino effect of information-sharing.

"If you're able to integrate those practices into your job or side hustle or whatever, you can then teach other people how to use it," Johnson said. "You'll become a resource for people who are looking to find these things but don't know how to use it, or aren't able to pay for it sometimes."

The workshops provide free childcare to make it as easy as possible for women to attend.

Kathleen J. Davis covers news about just about anything at WESA. She’s also the primary reporter and producer of WESA’s weekly series Pittsburgh Tech Report. Kathleen originally hails from the great state of Michigan, and is always available to talk about suburban Detroit and Coney Island diners. She lives in Bloomfield.