A University of California San Diego pilot program that will offer classes to schoolchildren in southeastern San Diego officially kicked off Wednesday with an open house at the South Metro Career Center in the Mountain View neighborhood.

The program, which does not yet have a name, aims to provide schoolchildren with special skills and inspire them to potentially seek careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The project is a combined effort of UCSD’s Center for Community Well-Being and the San Diego Workforce Partnership.

Wednesday’s two-hour event was primarily an attempt to introduce the community to this summer’s offerings, which will include online tutoring and classes in programming, engineering and art design. Organizers also wanted to get input to help refine the program.

Currently, all offerings will be free of charge. However, there could be a small surcharge at some point for some of the courses, said Edward Abeyta, UCSD’s director of K-16 programs. Initially, every service will be operated out of the South Metro Career Center, 4389 Imperial Ave.

Organizers expect the program to be fully functional by January.

“This community has been ravaged by cuts in rec centers and other programs that engaged youth in the summer,” Abeyta said. “We are attempting to fill some of that void.”

On Wednesday, the public had a chance to sit through presentations that demonstrated the technology being brought to the center by UCSD staff and students. One presenter, MyLab program founder Saura Naderi, showed how she could communicate with UCSD staff on campus via a remote link.

“The whole idea of the open house is to let the community know we’re here and get them engaged,” Naderi said. U-T

NATHAN MAX •