Program Profiles

How do successful afterschool STEM programs do it?

These innovative afterschool programs offer impactful STEM programming to diverse populations. Read on to hear their advice for success and to learn about their program structure, evaluation results and partnership models.

Tech Kids Unlimited

Brooklyn, New York

Tech Kids Unlimited is a not-for-profit technology-based educational organization for kids ages 7 to 21 with special needs. Their work-based learning program empowers and inspires the next generation of digital natives to learn, create, develop, and share the tools of technology in a supportive and nurturing environment.

Population Served

Tech Kids Unlimited works with students aged 7-21 with special needs, including students with autism, AD(H)D, OCD, and social/emotional or learning disabilities. They serve approximately 300 students each year.

Program Features

Tech Kids Unlimited features three major program pipelines. Their youth program is for kids ages 7-13 and is designed as a comfortable space for students to socialize, learn, and embrace their passions through project-based tech workshops focused on topics such as coding, game design, video editing, animation, and 3D printing. The programming for teens is broken into two classes: one program teaches introductory coding and computer skills, while real client work is done in the advanced class. All of their programming aims to teach technology in conjunction with social, emotional, and work-based skills.


Tech Kids Unlimited's curriculum uses various methodologies, as they follow the Universal Design for Learning, which allows for different kinds of learners to succeed by developing flexible learning environments that accommodate for individual needs. All workshops are project-based and rely on students' affinities to motivate them. The program hopes to lay the foundational work for students and prepare them to fill a gap in the STEM world. People with autism are much more likely to be unemployed or underemployed than their neruotypical peers, and Tech Kids Unlimited is working to change that by providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to enter the workforce

Professional Development

Staff members are provided professional development sessions provided by experts from various backgrounds, including speech therapists and clinical social workers. Tech Kids Unlimited trains their staff to adapt and work with a strength-based model, which is important for working with their population of students.


An external evaluator collects data from students, staff, and parents. They have measured skills gained around social/emotional learning, as well as technology skills and work-based skills. They have seen positive measures across the board, especially in improved self-esteem, self-advocacy, tech skills, and digital literacy. According to parents and counselors, 77% of youth participants indicated significant gains in technology skills after one week and 73% of parents believed their child gained skills to help secure future employment.


Tech Kids Unlimited works with partners to provide their students with the best staff, facilities, computers, and programming. NYU Tandon is their premier partner: they hold most of their workshops at NYU Tandon facilities and work with many NYU graduate and undergraduate students as their staff members.


Tech Kids Unlimited is funded by private foundations, individual and corporate donations, government funding, and program revenue.

Advice for Success

Beth Rosenberg, Founder/Executive Director

Q1 | What's been most crucial for your program's success?
The most crucial part of our program's success is providing a much-needed learning opportunity for students with special needs. We are a community of tech learners who want to teach 21st century skills to students who learn differently. Diversity is disability.
Q2 | What were some of the challenges the program faced in its early stages?

It was a challenge in the early stages to secure funding and explain this population of learners' needs to funders. For example, in the beginning many funders didn't understand why so many staff members were needed per classroom. As more understanding about the needs of this population has increased, it has benefited students and helped motivate funders.

Q3 | For afterschool programs new to offering STEM, what's your advice?
Our advice is to hire staff who are multifaceted and can teach a lot of different topics within STEM—from gaming to 3D making to web development and design and more.
Q4 | Let's talk partnerships! How do you develop and maintain them?

We have wonderful partnerships at NYU Tandon School of Engineering and at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science at Pace University. We also have partnerships with other not-for-profits, community organizations, special needs agencies, museums and more. We love working collaboratively and are excited to always expose our students to new people and projects.

Q5 | How does your program support students traditionally underrepresented in STEM?
We teach technology to special needs youth, an incredibly underrepresented population in STEM. We also provide financial aid to provide an opportunity to students regardless of socioeconomic background.

For more information, please contact:
Beth Rosenberg, Founder/Executive Director