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OPDC Future Makers

Building bright futures through hands-on experiences.

Through OPDC's Future Makers program, students become confident in public speaking, clear and articulate in interviews, earn certifications to boost their skill sets, write top-notch resumes, and create plans for their future.


Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.






February 2019
The best way to learn is with your own two hands.

About the innovation

Build a Bright Future

Founded in January 2018, Future Makers provides hands-on enrichment activities that motivate and inspire youth to explore college and career opportunities. Youth are able to experience and develop new skills, connect with area programs, meet professionals, and expand their college and career options.

Maker days occur on Saturday mornings,  two hours in length, twice monthly. At each maker day, youth work directly with industry professionals to learn about 21st-century careers. Each maker day features the career track component  that outline a career path and academic steps to achieve success, and hands on enrichment activities to give youth exposure in the field.


Our Future Makers students are proud to represent our program at School 2 Career's annual College and Career Fair!
Our students participate in awesome workshops, and we want to make sure they know how to tell the world about them! In our Resume and Interview Workshop, we help our kids organize their skills and experience into a professional resume and teach them how to ace their summer interviews.
Future Makers isn't just about reinforcing and building upon academic concepts; we want to make sure that we are exposing students to a wide variety of professions, including those often seen as non-traditional. In our Future Artists workshop, students learn the basics of painting and sculpture as well as the various ways to make the Arts into a lifelong career.
Future Makers is dedicated to providing hands-on activities that engage participants in constructivist learning, like our Engineering Concepts workshop with ALCOSAN.
Our Techno Teens workshop, facilitated by the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, is a surefire hit!
At least once per year, we invite all of our workshop providers to a special event designed to showcase all of the wonderful community partners who work together to make Future Makers a reality. Not only do we want to express our gratitude to these wonderful people, but we also want to get out the word about other free enrichment activities happening throughout the city of Pittsburgh.
Science and creativity came together stunningly in our "Shaping Futures" workshop with Monica and Dajah from Salon XO. Our students explored the various responsibilities and skills associated with cosmetology and hair care through group discussions, theory, demonstrations, and hands-on activities. After beginning with some cosmetological theory, such as hair porosity and skin types, participants learned various braiding and styling techniques, practiced dyeing and coloring hair samples, and created their own hair care products using natural moisturizers and essential oils.
In our "Drop the Mic" workshop, presented Trust Arts Education, participants explored various roles within the film industry, including storyboard creator, director, photographer, and on-screen personality. By taking on various roles and creating their own short films, they developed problem solving, teamwork, and communication skills, all while cultivating their creativity and willingness to take risks.

Implementation steps

Identify target population

Where do the students live who you hope to serve? It is easy to want to help every student all at once, but a smaller, more concerted effort can grow if cultivated properly; a large, blanket effort is more likely to wear thin and lose momentum.

Find a space

Make certain that the space you select is modular in order to accommodate a wide variety of activities, and that there is ready access to both electrical outlets and internet connections (wired or wireless). Specific needs will vary from workshop to workshop, and there is no way to guarantee that the space will be ideal for all future uses, so the more adaptable a facility you can find, the better.

Secure staff
Future Makers staff will share many responsibilities in the planning and facilitation of Maker Days, whether working on scheduling, organization, invoicing, etc. Especially during the events themselves, staff should both circulate around the space, making their presence known and ensuring participants and staff have all necessary materials, but without detracting too much from the pace of the workshop.
Connect with providers

Find out what careers middle and high school youth want to pursue. Visit schools and community events and ask youth to complete interest surveys. Check with local businesses, museums, community centers, and after-school/out-of-school-time programs and see what they've offered in the past. Can you replicate these in your space? Or would it be possible to amend it in order to work within your space and time parameters? The best way to find out is to reach out and start a conversation.

Develop a schedule
Once you have your location settled and have connected with providers, it's time to get a schedule together! It may be helpful to group similar workshops into "seasons" in order to create a cohesive feel for your program. OPDC's Future Makers follows the seasons, with STEM in the Fall, Arts & Entrepreneurship in the Winter, and Health & Wellness in the Spring.
Get out the word!
Also, print media can be expensive, but it is often the best way to increase visibility for your program. Whether you produce them in house or hire a professional, postcards, posters, and even billboards are often the best way to get people to take notice. Think of the places that your community members, especially youth, spend their time, either destinations or popular commute routes, and make sure your program materials are visible. Also, do not forget popular lunch spots, local bank branches, and haunts like hair salons, barber shops, community centers, etc. Visit these places regularly, both to maintain a presence and to make sure your flyers are well-stocked.

Spread of the innovation

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