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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Lt. Gov. kicks off week-long MiSTEM Computer Science forum for Michigan educators

State of Michigan, Grand Valley State University host virtual event to equip middle and high school teachers with tools to help students into high-demand, high-wage careers

July 20, 2020
Contact: Erica Quealy
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II kicked off a five-day rigorous computer science professional learning event today for educators that will support their implementation of middle school and high school STEM courses, better preparing students for high-demand careers.

“I want to thank our educators for their time and commitment to computer science and their willingness to step outside of their comfort zone to teach new courses that will better prepare our students today for vital careers of the future,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II said. “Spending five days of their summer for the betterment of their community and students, and problem solving and planning during the stress of this pandemic, show the true grit and commitment of Michigan’s educators making a difference for our young students.”

The event, hosted by the Michigan MiSTEM Network and Grand Valley State University (GVSU), provides Computer Science professional learning for all K-12 Michigan educators at little to no cost.

“Through our partnership with and with funding from the MiSTEM Advisory Council grants, we have been able to provide professional learning to almost 600 middle and high school teachers over the past four years to implement a computer science course in their school,” said Kris Pachla, Director of Regional Math and Science Center and MiSTEM Director at GVSU. “The students of teachers in our program significantly outperform other STEM subjects on their Advanced Placement (AP) passing rates even as first year Computer Science (CS) instructors."

By creating computer science opportunities for students, this will help solve the demand for computer science employees in Michigan. The state currently has over 15,000 open computing jobs which is 3.8 times the average demand rate in Michigan. All students need access to computer science learning tools to help solve this issue. In 2019, of the students who took AP Computer Science Principles or AP CS, 29% were female and even less were minorities.

“Our program has a heavy focus on equity in computer science,” Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity, MiSTEM Network Director Megan Schrauben said. “Recognizing and taking steps forward to bridge the gap for women and minority populations is a key focus to ensure a diverse workforce that creates the strongest solutions for our future.”

The event will have around 100 middle school and high school teachers in attendance and is part of ongoing efforts to help schools across the state implement important STEM education programs.

To learn more about professional learning in Michigan, visit

To learn more about the MiSTEM Network, visit