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Karliss Akins

Assistant Director, Philadelphia Center for Arts and Technology

Karliss Akins is a community building professional with 15 years of practical experience working with at-risk populations. Currently, he provides operational and instructional assistance for all programming conducted at Foundations' Philadelphia Center for Arts and Technology (PCAT) in Northwest Philadelphia. From individualized tutoring and dance classes to adult technology courses and summer camp, PCAT offers children, youth, and adults the opportunity to develop the academic, work, and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.

One of Mr. Akins' central roles is to build relationships. He cultivates partnerships with the regional organizations, businesses, and universities that PCAT relies on to support successful program delivery. Most importantly, he maintains trusted relationships within the surrounding community to promote PCAT as a vital community resource.

On the facilities side, Mr. Akins oversees all logistics and technical support for use of PCAT's high-tech, 25,000 square-foot learning space, equipped with 100 MAC and PC learning stations, as well as a state-of-the-art music lab, recording studio, and dance studio.

He is a certified technology instructor and, for the past several years, has taught PCAT's Technology is Power Seminar (TIPS) to community members of all ages. TIPS participants learn the basics of computer hardware, utilization of the Microsoft Office Suite, digital communication including email and social media, and well as how to use the internet to simplify their lives.

During his eight-year tenure at Foundations, Inc., Mr. Akins has worked with numerous direct-service initiatives. Most notably, he worked with the KidZone Philadelphia initiative that engaged community members in education, employment, and civic engagement. He was also a youth monitor with Foundations' Summer Career Exploration Program.

Mr. Akins' early career includes coaching and mentoring young people at the Freedom Schools Philadelphia, where he worked as a college monitor. From there he became a counselor and activities coordinator with the After School All Stars, a program that provides middle school children enhanced engagement in on-going relationships to increase confidence and encourage success in all areas of their lives.