Editor’s Note: The following post from Microsoft Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs Fred Humphries was originally published on the Computer Science Education Week Blog on Dec. 11.
The United States is facing a growing challenge that impacts American competitiveness and the opportunities available to the next generation. Put simply, our nation faces an increasing shortage of individuals with the skills necessary to create and deploy the next generation of information technology. At Microsoft, we have seen this challenge firsthand for our workforce and the workforce of our partners and customers, and we welcome opportunities, like Computer Science Education Week, where companies, government, schools, non-profits, students and parents can come together to tackle this challenge.
Despite the growing importance of computer science, it is only taught in a small percentage of U.S. schools. Out of 42,000 U.S. high schools, only 2,100 of them were certified to teach Advanced Placement Computer Science. As part of broader efforts to improve this situation, Microsoft’s Technology Education and Literacy [TEALS] program works to place high-tech professionals into high school classrooms as part-time instructors in a team teaching model in locations where school districts are unable to meet the computer science needs of their students on their own.
In addition, this fall, Microsoft launched a National Talent Strategy, a two-pronged approach that couples long-term improvements in U.S. STEM education with short-term, high-skilled immigration reform. We believe this approach can help keep jobs here in the U.S. by providing a supply of skilled employees who can fill jobs in STEM fields, both now and in the future. The National Talent Strategy proposes ways to strengthen America’s STEM pipeline, including broadening access to computer science in high school, strengthening K-12 math and science, and better preparing students for completing college, especially in STEM and computer science.
We are excited to be participating in Computer Science Education Week, and look forward to working with the community to enable the next generation to explore and enjoy computer science and the opportunities computing creates for students and society.
To learn more about Microsoft’s National Talent Strategy proposal, and to read a letter from more than 20 organizations in support of the proposal, click here. For more on TEALS, read a recent New York Times article on the program, and click here to learn about Microsoft’s YouthSpark program to create opportunities for more than 300 million young people over the next three years.