Wicker, Gillibrand Announce Bill to Promote Computer Science Programs

March 15, 2017

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2024, 1 in every 2 STEM jobs will be in computing, and there will be 1.3 million job openings in computing occupations due to growth in the field
Fewer than 50,000 students graduate with bachelor’s degrees in computer science each year; Most states do not offer computer science courses as part of their core curriculum in math and science
Legislation would create grant programs to bolster access to computer science career education programs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., today introduced the Computer Science Career Education Act, bipartisan legislation that would promote learning opportunities in computer science for underrepresented students, in order to create more opportunities in fields that demand high-tech skills training.

With a projected 1.3 million job openings in computing occupations and with women, minority, rural, and low-income students underrepresented in STEM and computer-related careers, Senators Gillibrand and Wicker introduced the Computer Science Career Education Act in order to create a pipeline of education and work-based opportunities in computer science that can open doors for students into careers in computer science fields. The bill would create a grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Education for consortia of schools, non-profits, and employers to develop computer science career education programs that meet the market needs of employers and better integrate secondary and postsecondary education.

“In too many classrooms across America, our students do not have access to a computer science education,” said Senator Wicker. “The world is moving fast, and our states need to keep up with job growth in the technology industry. The long-term success of our economy and our national security depend on having a workforce that understands these ever-changing technologies. I believe this legislation can help us achieve that goal.”

“In order for New York to keep our competiveness in the 21st century global economy and keep our skilled workforce in the region, we must prepare our students with the education they need for the jobs of the future,” said Senator Gillibrand. “That starts with getting more talented students from diverse backgrounds into the STEM pipeline and developing programs that will introduce students to the many career opportunities in computer science. This legislation would increase access and create new opportunities for students to experience the field of computer science.”

A computer science career education program would do the following:

  • Include the development of computer science programs for both secondary (grades 6-12) and postsecondary education that are consistent with computer science K-12 standards;
  • Link secondary schools and institutions of higher education;
  • Create workplace experiences for students through internships, apprenticeships, and mentorships with business partners;
  • Provide professional development in computer science for teachers;
  • Develop training programs that prepare students for careers in computing; and
  • Provide equal access to individuals who are members of underrepresented groups and special populations.

This legislation has been endorsed by the Association of Career Technical Education (ACTE), Citizen Schools, Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), Computing in the Core, Girls Who Code, Teach for America, New York State Association of Career Technical Education, New York University Tandon School of Engineering, and Rochester Institute of Technology.