Community Forge Programs

Community Forge is home to a number of programs run by our organization as well as some of our tenants. Owned and operated by our non-profit, Locally Grown, our mission is to "Build an equitable economy for Wilkinsburg and the Greater Pittsburgh region by creating opportunities that promote professional development, financial wellbeing, and entrepreneurial growth. We believe in participatory programming that gives voice to those we serve, breaking down silos between communities, and developing equitable pathways to economic success." We design and implement our own set of programs to achieve these aims. Please browse here to learn about our primary programs, but feel free to reach out to us with any questions, by email at or use our contact form.

Practical Skills for Entrepreneurs

Community Forge has developed a 6 course series on practical skills for entrepreneurs with classes on personal finance, business leadership, operations, sales, bookkeeping, and technology. These courses are focused on solving immediate practical challenges and gaining skills that can be implemented in your business or life immediately. Courses are generally $50 for Community Forge members or $150 for the public and run 6-10 weeks, pending the course.

Our next course on business leadership starts March 3, 2022 and will be Thursday nights 6:30-8PM in-person at Community Forge sign up here

Entrepreneur Hub

The Entrepreneur Hub at Community Forge is at the center of our mission. The Hub is our designed entrepreneurial ecosystem which has several components we focus on to make sure we are creating the highest opportunities for those we serve; particularly Black entrepeneurs. (1) The Hub offers a powerful network of entrepreneurs, non-profits, artists, and local experts to intermingle communities and create a baseline of designed social capital; (2) We offer business services such as coaching, technical assistance, and multimedia asset development; (3) The Hub is our co-working commons, which includes a large work lounge, four meeting spaces, a quiet work room, a small workshop space (~15 people), and a seminar room (~30 people).

If you're thinking about a new business or want to be part of a diverse professional network that cares about creating an equitable future, join us

Bloom Program

Bloom is our annual business incubator program. This program offers 20 small businesses coaching, strategy development, professional services, networking, education, and financial investments over an 8 month period. The program focuses on digging in deep and discovering your strategic needs and areas of your back office in most need of development. We focuse on businesses that are already generating some revenue and emphasize making sure that all participants leave with increases in revenue, clients, a better understanding of their finances, and a more organized back-office. Each participant gets a lead business coach and advisory team that helps develop and oversee the implementation of the owner's strategic goals. Further, participants receive funds toward professional services such as accounting, legal, branding, HR, and web design. They also receive access to our internal consultant network for pro bono help in developing business strategies. There will be courses and workshops available throughout the program targeting key business skills. Finally, there is a series of financial investment opportunities such as pitch competitions and cash awards for achieving growth plans.

If you have questions about the program, please reach out to our program manager, Herman Johnson, Applications for the 2022 Bloom cohort will open in January 2022 so keep an eye out!

BootUp PGH

Looking to get more into technology? BootUp PGH wants to empower you to master technology and prepare for the future. Check out BootUp on all major social media and streaming platforms.

Pittsburgh Learning Commons and Community Forge have launched a new computer lab and technology pathways program - BOOTUP PGH (Building Our Own Technology from an Urban Perspective). This program is for youth and young adults and is centered around open drop-in hours and live streams currently running on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday with themed activities including e-sports, mobile app development, hip hop engineering, website creation, graphic design, and more. Any kid or young adult that wants to explore the possibilities around using technology to build your future should come through. Everything starts during the live stream and drop-in hours, but advanced skill workshops, career and college mentorship, dinner nights with tech professionals, and paid summer internships are all part of the journey once you find your interest area.

Youth Leadership Council

Co-run with Pittsburgh Learning Commons, the Community Forge Youth Leadership Council is a group of high schoolers living in Wilkinsburg who work with our organization's leadership to create youth opportunities and give input from a youth perspective. Each gets an individual mentor from our organization's staff and board, and meet bi-weekly to discuss things happening at the Forge, plan events, and work on their own life goals and planning. Our leadership council was featured at the National League of Cities Conference in 2020 as a keynote for their youth delegation.

Public Playground

The playground of the former Johnston Elementary School has remained a staple for our community; particularly our youth. With over a 100 years of kids building relationships and families gathering, Community Forge has honored this tradition by keeping the playground as a public park for the Wilkinsburg community and all those gather at Community Forge. The space is used by 50 neighborhood youth regularly as well as the youth in our internal and resident-led programs, and is the site of many free events through the year.

Artist Residency Program (Coming Soon)

Community Forge is working on new programming to support artists. We are currently piloting an artist sustainability program where two artists (Jacquea Mae and Kelsey Robinson) are receiving entrepreneurial training to aid in building the business around their art practice while using our facility as a catalyst for their own art making. We are currently developing new partnerships with Bricolage Production Company and the Warhol Museum and anticipate launching a pilot artist residency in 2022. Keep an eye out for new announcements coming soon.

Pictured left is the cohort from our first ever pilot artist program: Activate the Arts, run in 2018.

Resident-led Programs

Looking for more activities? Check out the programs that our resident organizations on our resident page.
Some example programs and services include:

Afterschool Program

with Gwen’s Girls and Pittsburgh Learning Commons

Pogo Meet-up

with Xpogo

Childcare Services

with 4ever Charmy World

CURE Violence

with Allegheny County Office of Violence Prevention

Socialist Organizing

with the DSA

Physical Training

with Global Human Performance

Acting Coaching

with Official Entertainment

Transportation Services

with Briggs Transportation