America’s unmet need for top talent in information technology (IT) and computer science (CS) is a longstanding problem. However, a new report from the IT + CS Business Advisory Council, Addressing America’s Growing Demand for IT and CS: The Case for Change in K–12 Education, identifies what businesses, education leaders and policymakers can do to address this skills gap.
The findings and recommendations in the report represent aggregated interview responses from Council members—including education organizations, businesses and some of the world’s leading tech companies.
“Fortunately for today’s students, workforce development is receiving significant attention from state leaders this year, and computer science has been a focus in many states for several years,” said report co-author Lowell Matthews, Jr., Director of College and Career Pathways at ExcelinEd. “It is our hope that this report serves as a timely and essential resource to help policymakers ensure their efforts will address the skills gap.”
“K-12 computer science education forms a foundation by which many students can pursue careers such as those in information technology,” added co-author Pat Yongpradit, Chief Academic Officer at Code.org. “States are making progress to help students access computer science and information technology opportunities, but there are still inequities that prohibit many students from learning these skills.”
ExcelinEd and Code.org co-created the IT + CS Business Advisory Council and invited businesses and organizations to collaborate on increasing opportunities for all students to learn IT and CS skills. Addressing America’s Growing Demand for IT and CS was designed with the support of the following Council members.
Students need expanded opportunities to learn IT and CS knowledge and skills that sequentially build to a level of mastery and prepare them for college, careers and life. However, IT and CS skill acquisition opportunities are limited in K–12 education. For example, just 35% of American high schools teach computer science, yet 90% of parents want their children to study it.