Governor Cooper Joins National Bipartisan Effort to Expand K-12 Computer Science Education

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To help ensure every North Carolina student has access to the skills and training they need to be ready for college and career, Governor Cooper today announced that he is joining the Governors’ Partnership for K-12 Computer Science.

“Many 21st century jobs require computer programming skills,” Gov. Cooper said. “We need to provide more students with opportunities to develop computer science skills so that they graduate ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

The Governors’ Partnership for K-12 Computer Science is a group of bipartisan state leaders committed to advancing policy and funding to expand access to, and increase equity in, K-12 computer science education. Governor Cooper is joining 16 other Governors from both parties from across the country who are part of this national effort. 

As a member of the Partnership, Governor Cooper will work with other state education leaders to support the development of K-12 computer science standards, expand computer science professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers, and enable every high school in North Carolina to offer at least one computer science course. To support expanding computer science education efforts in NC, the Governor will include funding for teacher professional development in computer science in his 2018-19 budget proposal to be released next month.  

“The first question employers ask me when they are considering North Carolina for relocation or expansion is whether our workforce has the skills for the jobs these businesses want to create,” Governor Cooper said. “Providing more opportunities for students to study computer science and computer programming will better prepare them for our evolving economy and help to attract new businesses to our state.”

Currently, there are more than 18,000 open computing jobs in North Carolina. However, in 2015, just under 2,300 postsecondary graduates in NC completed an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in computer science.  In addition, fewer than 6,000 K-12 students were enrolled in a computer science course in 2016. The average annual salary for computing jobs in North Carolina is around $89,000.  

In addition to helping students learn coding and computer programming skills, computer science education also helps students develop and apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are vital to the 21st century workplace. 

Governor Cooper’s commitment to expanding access to K-12 computer science education is a key component of his education and workforce development initiatives.  Earlier this year, Governor Cooper launched NC Job Ready, a workforce development initiative built on three core principles: skills and education attainment so North Carolinians are ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow, employer leadership to remain relevant to evolving industry needs, and local innovation to take great ideas and apply them statewide. 

In December 2017, Governor Cooper proclaimed Computer Science Education Week.  Read the proclamation here.

For more information on the Governors’ Partnership for K-12 Computer Science, visit www.governorsforcs.org.
 

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