CHEVY CHASE, Md., Aug. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- If there is one point on which most Americans agree, it is that technology will play an increasingly important role in the way we live and work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that in just three years there will be 1.4 million computer science-related jobs, and only 400,000 qualified job candidates.
In response, 4-H, America's largest youth development organization, and Google are coming together for a first-of-its-kind computer science (CS) collaboration that will teach kids both technical skills like coding, and essential skills students will need in the future like, teamwork and resilience. But the program isn't just about programming computers, it's about helping students learn skills they'll need to approach problems in a fundamentally different way across every discipline from business to engineering to the arts.
The collaboration is funded by a $1.5 million grant from Google.org to establish a CS program that will empower more than 100,000 young people across 22 states in its first year. The collaboration will include an effort to reach communities where youth traditionally have limited access to computers, internet or CS training. With Google's support, 4-H will equip community educators with new funding, curriculum, training, devices and the support of Google CS experts. As with most 4-H programs, the effort will feature teen-led, peer-to-peer mentoring.
4-H and Google publicly announced the collaboration today at a press conference at the Illinois State Fair, where they also debuted a new 4-H-themed virtual reality Expedition showcasing 4-H youth using technology to improve their communities.
"It is incredibly exciting to combine the power of 4-H with the impact of Google's philanthropy, products and people," said Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO of National 4-H Council. "Working together, our two organizations will make a tremendous difference in the lives of young people by making computer science education accessible and engaging. No matter where kids live or what they aspire to be, these are skills that will help them succeed."
The collaboration between 4-H and Google lays the groundwork for 4-H to deliver computer science education across the organization, which reaches nearly six million kids in every county and parish in the United States. It establishes an official 4-H Computer Science Career Pathway, which helps kids progress from casual interest in CS, to dedicated studies and ultimately career experience. Utah State University Extension's 4-H program is a key partner in co-creating the 4-H CS Career Pathway and developing tools for educators to implement the program.
"We are proud to be a part of this effort to bring hands-on programming to our nation's youth," said Jacquelline Fuller, President of Google.org. "It's important for kids to develop a wide range of skills, like computer science skills, analytical thinking and creative problem solving, and our work with National 4-H Council will help ensure that kids across the country have access to a better future."
In its first year, the program is available in the following states: Alabama, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Parents and educators seeking more information on how to get involved can reach out to their local 4-H office at www.4-h.org/find.
4‑H, the nation's largest youth development organization, grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for career tomorrow. 4‑H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4‑H is the youth development program of our nation's Cooperative Extension System and USDA, and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3,000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4‑H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4‑H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.
Google.org works to extend the reach of nonprofit innovators and connect them with a unique blend of support that includes funding, tools, and volunteers from around Google. These innovators are the believers-turned-doers who have made the biggest impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change that can scale. To date, Google.org has given over $110M to help close learning gaps around the world. This grant builds on that legacy by providing CS to students who have traditionally lacked access.
To learn more about Google.org, please visit https://www.google.org/.
SOURCE National 4-H Council