Wilkes-Barre expands computer science education for young Luzerne County students
From a press release:
The CSforALL movement to bring computer science to all U.S. students marked a major growth milestone today. Along with 126 organizations, Wilkes-Barre Connect has made a new commitment to advance computer science education access and opportunity for youth across the United States at the 2020 CSforALL Commitments Showcase.
“Our team here at Wilkes-Barre Connect has been working diligently on our Coding the Coal Region pilot program through our NEPA Works Project. Coding the Coal Region is a 12-month pilot program designed to increase the computer programming skills in Northeast PA. To do this, we are offering free, instructor-led online courses outside the classroom, providing Luzerne County students in grades 6-12 the opportunity to build basic computer programming foundations while also offering pathways in graphic design and web, game, and app development,” said Shanie Mohamed, economic development specialist for Wilkes-Barre Connect.
“In the months planning this program, we have brought on several partners that not only bring their expertise and vast resources to our program, but also add to the incredible community effort involved in bringing Coding the Coal Region to our area. NEPA Works’ Coding the Coal Region project, in partnership with Codelicious, the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development, and Penn State Wilkes-Barre, is proud to announce our commitment to providing 1,000 6th-12th grade students in Northeastern Pennsylvania with access to curriculum and training through a customized CS pathway to meet the workforce needs of the computer programming industry in Northeastern PA by Fall 2021.”
The Wilkes-Barre Connect program helps businesses grow in NEPA. Powered by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business & Industry, Connect features partnerships among the Small Business Development Center at Wilkes University, the Diamond City Partnership, the Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development at Wilkes University, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Family Business Alliance at Wilkes University, and the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at Wilkes University.
“Codelicious is excited and proud to support Wilkes-Barre Connect and their partners in the Coding the Coal Region pilot program. We believe that computer science education is a foundational skill for all students. We are honored to be supporting the educators in this pilot program by providing them with computer science curriculum that is comprehensive, flexible, and teacher-friendly,” said Codelicious CEO Chrisitine McDonnell.
“Penn State Wilkes-Barre is proud to partner with the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce in delivering this new coding program free of charge to students. By working with young people in our community, we are actively contributing to the future of advanced computer coding and the workforce in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Dale Jones, chancellor and chief academic officer at Penn State Wilkes-Barre.
“The Institute is pleased to be part of this incredible education initiative through the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber’s Wilkes-Barre Connect initiative. Focus on education and elevating the skills of the youth in Luzerne County is an excellent workforce development strategy that will provide a significant return on investment as these young people will likely pursue technology careers in NEPA,” said Teri Ooms, executive director of The Institute.
#CSforALL commitments are new, specific, and measurable actions aimed at advancing the goal of rigorous and inclusive computer science education for all U.S. youth and are designed to grow support and momentum for a sustainable K-12 computer science education system in and out of school. Notably, 29 organizations have made a #CSforALL commitment annually since 2017. To continue the trend in 2020, 78 organizations have returned to make a commitment at least twice. The commitments detailed below include investments in 34 individual states, three commitments with a nationwide focus, and five commitments with an international focus.
“The collective impact and systems level change that the CS education community is making through #CSforALL commitments are pushing us all forward toward the goal of rigorous, inclusive, and sustainable CS for all youth,” said Ruthe Farmer, chief evangelist for CSforALL.
As the U.S. continues to grapple with COVID-19 and racial injustice in a year full of obstacles and surprises, the need to bring rigorous and equitable computer science education to prepare all students for a successful future is more urgent than ever. Fortunately, the systems in place to expand that critical access is getting a significant boost today through 163 new commitments from 126 organizations to advance computer science education access and opportunity for youth across the United States and beyond.
CSforALL is the national hub of the computer science for all movement with a mission to make high-quality computer science an integral part of K-12 education in the United States. Its three-pillar approach – support local change, increase rigor and equity, and grow the movement – directs work across a national and local spectrum to provide equitable and accessible K-12 computer science education to every student while engaging with diverse stakeholders leading computer science initiatives across the nation.