DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Dec. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Plans by the Chicago Public schools to elevate computer science to a core learning subject will go a long way toward bridging the digital divide and expanding and diversifying the high-tech workforce, according to CompTIA, the non-profit association for the information technology (IT) industry.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Barbara Byrd-Bennett, chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools, today unveiled a new five-year plan to make computer science a core subject rather than an elective; offer at least one computer science class at every high school; and help students learn the tools required to build computer applications and programs, starting in elementary school.
"Early identification of students who have a real aptitude for computers and technology is a key factor in educating these kids on the many career opportunities available to them later in life," said Todd Thibodeaux, president and chief executive officer, CompTIA.
"More importantly, technical literacy is a prerequisite for virtually every occupation in today's information economy, even beyond technology positions," Thibodeaux continued. "We applaud the Chicago Public schools for taking this important step. By expanding access to technology in the classroom, students will be better prepared and more eager to pursue advanced degrees and professional certifications and embark on careers that offer good pay and opportunities for advancement and growth."
CompTIA has worked closely for several years with the Chicago Tech Academy, a non-profit, four-year contract school located in the city's University Village neighborhood. The school was founded to inspire, educate and connect the next generation of leaders; and to increase the number of minority and low income students that pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in college and careers.
The bond between teen-agers, young adults and technology is strong. A 2012 CompTIA survey of 1,000 young people between the ages of 13 and 24 found that 97 percent of them loved or liked technology. Additionally, 58 percent frequently served as technology troubleshooters, helping family members and friends with questions about computers, software, mobile devices and related technologies.