University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

CODE for Commonwealth

young children in a classroom

Computational-Learning for Opportunities in a Digital Environment

Pitt-Johnstown and partners have launched a bold and ambitious initiative – CODE (Computational-Learning for Opportunities in a Digital Environment) for Commonwealth & Country – with the goal of enhancing digital literacy for workforce competitiveness, beginning in K-12 and beyond.

Computer Science Opportunity Gap: The U.S. has 527,169 open computing jobs

Schools Lag Behind Parent Demand: 90-percent of parents want their child to learn computer science
Statistics source:

young girl using a computer


  • Establish Coding Literacy as a critical component of a complete 21st century K-12 education 
  • Make computer science accessible for all students, including underserved communities
  • Prepare PA K-12 for 21st century workforce
  • Create a statewide model for delivering coding education
  • Support the PA Department of Education efforts to develop common standards for computer science
  • Prepare teachers for 21st century digital literacy
  • Serve as a national model for transforming so-called “Rust Belt” areas into digital-age economies
children building things out of toy blocks

Path to Progress K-12

Code for the Commonwealth, launched in the Greater Johnstown region through the Pitt-Johnstown Outreach Office, is the first step in an effort to assimilate coding literacy into the K-12 curriculum and after school and summer programs across the commonwealth.

Plan For Action:

  • Deliver a framework for 21st century learning to PA school districts
  • Emphasize hands-on, easy to learn, interactive, project-based learning approaches
  • Provide relevant cross-curriculum projects and experiences
  • Align digital literacy with real world applications in music, arts, sports and the like
  • Offer fun, game-based program delivery 
  • Develop a community-based model of learning support
adult showing a child something on a computer

Education Beyond K-12

Under the leadership of Dr. Gerald Zahorchak, former PA Secretary of Education, Pitt-Johnstown is taking steps to prepare teachers to advance 21st century digital literacy.

Pitt-Johnstown Plan For Educators:

  • Prepare pre-service teachers by requiring mastery of STEM and digital literacy
  • Offer computer science minor for students seeking education degrees
  • Seek PA Department of Education STEM endorsements for emerging educators’ certification
  • Establish a professional learning and support network within PA, offering Act 45 and Act 48 certification
  • Help school districts develop high-level AP/Dual Enrollment delivery
  • Establish a team of students - The Coding Corps For The Commonwealth - to work with K-12 students across the state