Gov. Phil Murphy recently announced an $800,000 grant to generate training hubs for educators involved with computer science education in K-12 schools.
The “Expanding Access to Computer Science: Professional Learning” grant will fund learning hubs in three New Jersey colleges and universities, which will work with K-12 school districts to help them implement effective learning strategies in computer science. The learning hubs established in each of the three institutions of higher education will provide professional development to teachers, administrators, and others who are instrumental in computer science education in the K-12 school setting. The programs will focus on schools with students who have traditionally had limited access to high-quality computer science instruction.
“In order for New Jersey to be a leader in the innovation economy, we must invest in our educators who do so much to shape our children’s futures,” said Governor Murphy. “Through this grant opportunity, our educators will develop the skills they need to provide top-quality computer science education to prepare our students for jobs of the future.”
“When schools have the resources to provide high-quality technology and computer science programs, students benefit in many ways,” said Acting Education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan, Ed.D. “These programs improve the computational thinking and problem-solving skills that are essential for success in all subjects and in all 21st-Century jobs. In short, this helps teachers give students the edge they need for success in school – and after graduation.”
The Department of Education is expected to announce the awards around March of 2021, and the programs could be implemented in institutions of higher education as early as the summer.
The “Expanding Access to Computer Science: Professional Learning” grant is one element of Governor Murphy’s Computer Science for All State Plan, which sets out a multi-year, multi-pronged vision to broaden computer science opportunities for New Jersey students.
According to the Computer Science for All State Plan, more than 500,000 computing jobs remain unfilled in the United States. Nationally, STEM jobs are growing faster than any other job sector in our economy. In New Jersey alone, there are more than 15,000 open computing jobs spanning every industry, with computing occupations boasting a significantly higher average salary ($107,260) than the average salary in the state ($56,970). Despite this, only 1,642 computer science majors graduated from the state’s universities in 2017.