SAN ANTONIO – There are more computer science jobs in Texas waiting to be filled than there are graduates to fill them each year.
The statistics, according to U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, helped launch a new middle school computer science initiative announced Wednesday.
"It's a great program partnering with the STEM education center at University of Texas Austin and a number of corporate sponsors like Facebook, Brocade, Dell and Intel to train 40 middle school math teachers on how to introduce coding into their curriculum," Hurd said. "We're going to have 5,000 kids in the fall exposed to computer science and coding."
The congressman for District 23 said over 40,000 computing vacancies exist in Texas, but state colleges only graduate 2,000 computer scientists each year. Hurd studied computer science at Texas A&M University.
"UT's working with a group called Bootstrap, which is a nonprofit that does this training, and then you have these corporate sponsors that are willing to fund the program and you have a number of amazing superintendents that are interested in introducing this to their curriculum," Hurd said.
The learning materials reinforce core concepts from algebra, making the curriculum compatible with the state standards set by the Texas Education Agency, according to a news release. Since the curriculum is taught through existing math classes schools do not need additional teachers or classes.
Northeast Independent School District superintendent Brian Gottardy accompanied seventh grade students at a press conference who are expected to benefit from the program next fall.
"I'm just excited about the coding and like actually being able to learn how to do it and then like being able to get a job using the coding, something I love," Andrea Conner, 12, said.
Today's kids are growing up with technology much different than past generations. However, some seem to understand they'll need computer science training and skills for a variety of professions.
"We have to prepare our kids for jobs that don't exist and coding is the language of the 21st century," Hurd said.
For more information about the program click here.