$10M Donation Helps Target Skills Gap


This industry spends a lot of time exploring ways to fill the skilled workforce gap and it’s because technical skills have infiltrated every market. There was a time when the industrial space wasn’t vying for workers with STEM skills, but today’s manufacturing environment requires everything from automation to programming capabilities.

So while we’re competing for some of the same workers who are entertaining options with top tech businesses, that doesn’t mean we can’t benefit from some of the initiatives companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook are undertaking to help kids improve their marketable skill sets.

Microsoft recently announced a commitment of $10 million to Code.org, which is a not-for-profit program that helps assist K-12 kids to gain access to computer science education.

As a way to kick off Computer Science Week on December 3rd, the software company announced the pledge and stressed in a statement that it’s not just in the business of creating future software engineers, rather, helping push “creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will prepare [kids] to thrive in the future workforce.”

According to Cnet, Microsoft isn’t just ponying up dollars either. They’re helping Code.org lobby to have computer science recognized at federal and state levels as a “modern academic field.” Why? Turns out that while 88% of teachers say coding skills are “critical” to the success of their students once they hit the workforce, fewer than two-thirds say it’s offered within their schools.

Hadi Partovi, CEO of Code.org, said the organization’s efforts aren’t about creating coders, per se, but just making sure that kids have access to some skills training so they can decide if they like it or not. If poorer schools are less likely to offer computer science curriculum, as Partovi asserts, then the traditional educational system is showing its own gaps in readying the future workforce for one of its fastest-growing fields.

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