A new Computer Science Education initiative was launched with the Detroit Public School Community District this week that aims to broaden access to computer science learning opportunities for students.
The CSforDetroit initiative – sponsored by the Kapor Foundation, Google.org, Song Foundation, and CSforALL’s Accelerator Program – is a multi-year project that works directly with DPSCD students, professionals, and policymakers to bring equitable computer science education to the city.
“We know from research that the earlier that young people are exposed to computer science, the more they embrace it, the less challenging it is for them to see themselves in those types of learning environments,” said Kalisha Davis, CS Equity Programs director with Kapor Center, a collective of organizations working to build a more inclusive and equitable technology sector.
Across the state of Michigan, there is a monthly average of 21,062 open computing jobs, but only 2,639 CS graduates are prepared to fill these positions with just 46% of Michigan high schools currently offering computer science courses, the group reports.
“We just want to ensure we take this opportunity to ensure that there is more of a chance for students in K-12 education to gain those computational thinking and computing literacy skills that will enhance their abilities to enter the world and the workforce,” said Davis, adding that the program will engage students in school through after-school programs and student-led groups.
“We will be forming a city-wide student leadership team to help amplify their voices and position young people as critical leaders that contribute their own thoughts and ideas to what their learning experience can look like,” she said.
Detroit is one of 10 communities chosen as part of the first cohort of the CSforAll accelerator program.