On Thursday, June 30 at the Matt Dishman Community Center, Mayor Charlie Hales recognized the next generation of coders for their launch of a cellphone app that supports the city’s Teen Force Pass, free access to community centers and teen programming.

A group of diverse teens developed the app with support from the city’s Innovation Fund and iUrbanTeen, which engages people of color in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and addresses the digital divide by reaching out to groups underrepresented in tech.

The mayor’s $2 million Community Centers Initiative made community centers and teen programming free for Portland youth, removing a cost barrier to access recreational opportunities at a time when youth- and gang-related violence was reaching record highs.

PDC has partnered with iUrban Teen on our Outreach and Technology Training Pilot Program, which focuses on two key actions on behalf of underrepresented populations: raising their awareness of careers in tech, and providing training so they can better access careers in this highly paid, high growth industry sector.