Please join us in welcoming Itha to the Neighborhood Allies team!

Sep 20, 2021

Itha Cao joins our team as the Senior Program Manager for Digital Inclusion. In this role, she will oversee and manage our Digital Inclusion work, including the launching of our Digital Inclusion Community Centers and Level Up 412. This includes the formal launch and ongoing program management of three local learning centers that will provide community members of all ages with digital skills and entrepreneurship training, STEM education, and workforce development opportunities through advanced technology and educational resources. 

“Digital skills and reliable high-speed internet access should be a right to all, not a privilege to some. I am excited to be a part of this critical shift to bridge the digital divide so that every young person in the Pittsburgh region has access to STEM learning, and every adult has access to digital skills training so they are able to build wealth for themselves and their communities.”

-Itha Cao, Senior Program Manager for Digital Inclusion

Itha brings with her a deep understanding and knowledge of digital equity, access, and innovation. She most recently served as the Senior Civic Innovation Specialist in the Department of Innovation and Performance at the City of Pittsburgh. In this role, she managed PGH Lab, the city’s urban incubator for startups to test their products and services with local government, and pivoted the program to focus and prioritize local startups owned and benefiting women, minorities, and disabled individuals.  

Prior to that, Itha was also a dynamic and integral part of the Mayor’s Office of Equity as a policy analyst–managing digital inclusion initiatives like Rec2Tech, the city’s STEAM/STEM afterschool learning program, and ConnectHome, a national digital inclusion initiative from former President Obama to connect public housing residents with digital skills training, devices, and high speed internet access.

Itha is also the owner and chef of The Hungry Cao, a private food business that provides authentic Chinese cooking classes, with the dual mission of elevating the standing of Chinese cuisine in the ethnic food scene, while also fundraising for intersectional Black and Brown social justice causes. She strongly values mentorship, allyship, and community service, and is a proud Big Sister and former Student Conservation Association/Americorps Fellow.

Itha currently serves on the boards of Vibrant Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Urban Magnet (PUMP), Civically, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, and is a Commissioner for Governor Wolf’s PA Commission for Women.

Top Header Image Photo Credit: Prototyping Larimer Stories by artist John Peña, photo by OPA