Labor and Economic Opportunity
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Microsoft TEALS Media Contact:
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
LANSING, Mich. – This school year, 21 high schools in Michigan are offering a hands-on computer science education course for students through the Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program, operated by Microsoft Philanthropies.
TEALS pairs trained computer science professionals from across the technology industry with classroom teachers to team-teach computer science. This fall, 59 volunteers, from 33 companies and organizations, will work side-by-side with teachers, through TEALS. The program, which was in ten Michigan schools last year, has more than doubled its presence in the state.
According to Code.org, the gap between open computing jobs in the US, and those with the training to compete for those jobs, will continue to grow long into the future. The nonprofit also points out that those with computer science degrees earn, on average 40 percent more than those with other degrees.
“With more than 270,000 information technology and computer science career openings in Michigan through 2024, business and education partnerships that train our students with the skills they need to be placed in these high-demand, high-wage careers are critical to closing the state’s talent gap,” Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan Director Roger Curtis said.
“Students have an increased interest in learning computer science, yet most high schools don’t have the resources to offer the rigorous courses,” Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles said. “We’re encouraged to see local school districts partnering with TEALS, and for the support of all of the businesses that have stepped up to support the program. It will help our high schools and teachers throughout Michigan build and grow sustainable computer science programs.”
Increasing the number of students from diverse backgrounds is also a focus for TEALS. Among the teachers who work with TEALS volunteers is Zach Sweet, of Detroit’s Renaissance High School. Sweet was trained by Code.org to teach computer science, and TEALS volunteers provide extra support in his class. Last year, Sweet’s class alone caused a 225 percent increase in the number of African-American students, in the entire state of Michigan, who passed the AP Computer Science Principles exam from 2017 to 2018.
“It’s a unique public-private partnership for technology professionals and classroom teachers to come together to inspire students every day, to show young people what’s possible when they learn computer science,” said Kevin Wang, the Microsoft software engineer and former classroom computer science (CS) teacher who founded TEALS. “Computational thinking and CS are in demand for careers from marketing to manufacturing to agriculture to sports management, and all students should have the opportunity to learn CS.”
Since its founding in 2009, employees from hundreds of companies across the country have volunteered through TEALS to serve over 37,000 students. A key priority is ultimately making computer science education available to every Michigan student, with an emphasis on outreach to young women and minorities who are currently underrepresented among the ranks of tech workers.
Microsoft is also among those in the private sector working with Michigan educators, legislators and Gov. Snyder to help transform the state’s talent pipeline and create more economic opportunities through the Marshall Plan for Talent.
Detroit Area Schools
Lansing Area Schools
Oakland County Schools
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PARTICIPATING EMPLOYERS PROVIDING VOLUNTEERS