Today the Utah STEM Action Center and the Utah State Office of Education announced a partnership with Code.org that will increase participation in computer science courses by women and underrepresented students of color.

Code.org is a non-profit dedicated to expanding computer science education by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and minorities. Their vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to have access to computer science education. Code.org believes computer science should be part of the core curriculum in education, alongside other courses, such as biology, physics, chemistry and algebra.

“Our partnership with Code.org and the Utah STEM Action Center is another great example of how Utah is leveraging public-private partnerships to offer better educational opportunities for students,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brad C. Smith. “This partnership gives students a chance at a better, more prosperous future for themselves and a better, more prosperous future for Utah.”

The partnership will begin in November 2015 with a statewide call for applications for current classroom teachers who are interested in being trained in computer science. Students at these schools will have increased access to computer science courses, curriculum and resources. The partnership will also provide new opportunities for professional development and training for Utah teachers, in addition to creating a sustainable program via a community of support for the teachers.

“Code.org is excited to partner with both the Utah STEM Action Center and Utah State Office of Education to expand access to computer science.  They are among our first state partners leading the nation in this movement,” said Cameron Wilson Chief Operating Office/VP Government Affairs of Code.org. “This partnership can help change the lives of Utah’s students by preparing them to think critically about real world problems and put them on a pathway toward the highest demand jobs in the U.S. economy.”

This will be a three-year partnership to infuse Utah’s schools with more computer science teachers, expertise and leadership capacity. The goal is to transition the continued development of teachers back to the State after the partnership ends.

“The Utah STEM Action Center is committed to supporting students in their education and career efforts,” said Dr. Tamara Goetz, executive director of the Utah STEM Action Center.  “This project with Code.org aligns with that commitment. It not only provides students exciting opportunities in computer sciences but also helps to address the talent needs of Utah’s growing and vibrant information technology and software companies.”

More information about Code.org is available on their website at http://code.org.