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Google supports Iowa Hour of Code with $20,000 gift



This news story was published on October 6, 2014.
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computer dataCEDAR FALLS, IOWA – (Oct. 1, 2014) – The Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Advisory Council has received a $20,000 contribution from Google to support the Hour of Code in Iowa.

The Hour of Code, launched in 2013 during Computer Science Education Week by the non-profit organization Code.org, was hugely successful, reaching over 15 million people worldwide in one week who were challenged to try one hour of computer programming. More than 15,000 Iowa students participated in the first event.

“Although only 10 percent of schools teach computer science, today even one hour of exposure can be enough to change a student’s life, as it did mine,” said Hadi Partovi, co-founder and CEO of Code.org. “It’s the 21st century. This isn’t just a subject you study to get a job in software – it’s important for every student and every career.”

This year, with the support of the STEM Council and initial funding from Google, Iowa will declare Computer Science Education Week – (Dec. 8-14), as the Hour of Code week in Iowa. Educators in formal and non-formal education settings across the state will be supported by STEM Council to participate in the Hour of Code.

“By 2018, Iowa will have 72,000 STEM jobs to fill. That statistic represents unlimited opportunities for young people to stay in our state with successful careers. Add to that equation, the high tech entrepreneurial ecosystem in Iowa and our overall ingenuity, you begin to understand why the Hour of Code is vital to peek students’ interest in computer science,” stated Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, STEM Council co-chair.

She went on to say, “STEM applies to everything when considering careers. For instance, marketing directors use analytics and start-up founders use a spectrum of disciplines across science, technology, engineering and math. That’s why we’re transforming Iowa’s approach to education and actively engaging parents, students, teachers, communities, business and industry in our statewide STEM strategy. We understand companies like Google and others are relying on us to provide a workforce with the skills needed to excel and compete in a global knowledge-based economy.”

With the investment from Google, the STEM Council plans to further promote the Hour of Code by engaging schools to demonstrate commitment beyond one hour and support future computer science programs in Iowa.

“Investing in a talent pipeline and a highly skilled workforce helps ensure Google can hire the engineers it needs to provide steady, reliable and leading edge products to its users,” said Chris Russell, Operations Manager for Google’s Council Bluffs Data Center. “Iowa’s commitment to STEM education inspires us to commit our time and resources to partnering in preparing a bright, diverse wave of young coders and programmers.”

Exposing young Iowans to computer science is one of many tactics employed by the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council to deliver on the promise of STEM-literate and post-secondary ready graduates. Other work includes delivering high-quality STEM education programs to students across the state, a public awareness campaign, a new STEM teaching license, model classrooms focused on STEM, and school-business partnerships in applied STEM learning. More information on Council programs is available at www.IowaSTEM.gov.

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