Governor Gina M. Raimondo- joined by federal, state, and local officials, as well as representatives from business and education- today launched the state's first comprehensive computer science education initiative. The Computer Science for RI (CS4RI) effort, in partnership with Microsoft, Code.org, colleges and universities across Rhode Island, and others, seeks to help every public school in Rhode Island teach computer science classes by December 2017.
"Our kids deserve the best opportunities in the 21st century tech-driven economy, so we need to do everything we can to help them get ahead by developing the skills that matter," Raimondo said. "Part of turning our economy around and creating jobs is making sure every student, at every level, has access to the new basic skill: computer science. Thanks to the partners we have assembled for this initiative, I know we can achieve this goal."
Keep reading to find out what key business leaders are saying about #CS4RI.
"We applaud Governor Raimondo's bold new computer science initiative and thank her for her diligent work to provide every student in Rhode Island with the opportunity to develop the skills needed to thrive in the knowledge economy," Facebook Vice President of U.S. Policy Erin Egan said.
"Hasbro is a Rhode Island-based global company on the cutting edge of new technologies as we deliver brand-driven storytelling and play experiences to consumers around the world," Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said. "We're consistently focused on creating a dynamic talent pipeline to support our future growth. I applaud Governor Raimondo for her ambitious computer science education initiative which will ensure that every Rhode Island student has a chance to acquire the skills they need to compete in the innovation economy."
"CVS Health is proud to call Rhode Island home and we applaud Governor Raimondo's leadership in bringing these exciting partnerships -- including with Microsoft -- to the Ocean State," CVS Health President and CEO Larry Merlo said. "Developing a highly skilled, technology-ready workforce is critical to the success of our state's economy and this comprehensive computer science education will lay a solid foundation for the STEM and IT leaders of the future."
"Governor Raimondo's initiative to bring computer science courses to all Rhode Island students is right on target to prepare today's youth for tomorrow's jobs," Electric Boat President Jeff Geiger said. "General Dynamics Electric Boat supports and looks forward to the success of this program."
"Today's students are exposed to technology immediately," Amica Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Peter Moreau said. "Smartphones and tablets have been integrated into many schools, and students have the chance to use these technologies to enhance their learning experience. We hope this initiative encourages students across the state to potentially pursue a career in the computer science field."
"Our industry is being transformed by new technologies, so we clearly appreciate the need for improved technology skills and capabilities," Citizens Financial Group Chairman and CEO Bruce Van Saun said. "Gov. Raimondo and her administration are to be commended for creating this visionary initiative that will lead to better job opportunities for individual Rhode Islanders and a sharper competitive advantage for the broader Rhode Island economy. We are pleased to be able to support this initiative with volunteer mentors from our Technology Solutions team."
"For K-12 students, Governor Raimondo's Computer Science RI initiative will strengthen awareness of the broad spectrum of opportunities in tech beyond coding," Beacon Mutual Insurance Company Vice President of Information Systems Rajani Mahadevan said. "Programs like this will help to improve, increase, and maintain the talent pipeline in the Ocean State which, in turn, will only serve to better Rhode Island's economy."
"Fidelity has a history of innovation, and technology is critical to our customer relationships and our employee experience," Fidelity Investments Vice President of Public Affairs John Muggeridge said. "A strong pipeline of talented technology professionals is critical to help achieve our business goals and continue to improve the way we serve our customers. The Computer Science for Rhode Island initiative is a smart approach to extend the offering in schools and prepare Rhode Island students now for future computer science opportunities."
"Computer science skills are the foundation for national security and defense careers, including cybersecurity," SENEDIA Executive Director Molly Magee said. "We commend Governor Raimondo for initiating this important effort to ensure computer science education is integrated throughout the RI K-12 curriculum. This is an opportunity for RI students to understand and assimilate the power of computer science and be on the path to great and important careers."
"The Northern RI Chamber of Commerce applauds the Governor for leading this effort," Northern RI Chamber of Commerce President and CEO John Gregory said. "Expanding access to computer science education will give today's students an advantage as they prepare to compete for good paying jobs in the future."
"A highly-skilled, home grown tech workforce is critical to the long-term success of the Providence Innovation and Design District/ I-195 Land," I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Chair Joseph F. Azrack said. "When we speak with businesses that are growing and receptive to relocating, they consistently ask whether Rhode Island will have the technology proficient talent to support their employment needs. With this remarkable computer science education initiative, the Governor is assuring businesses that Rhode Island will have a high quality pool of talent for their future growth, as well as ensuring that Rhode Islanders have the skills to compete in and create the next generation innovation economy."
"The robust outlook for computer science professionals is unquestioned," OSHEAN, Inc. CEO David Marble said. "From Cybersecurity to Data Science, our industry will thirst for talent for the foreseeable future and beyond."
"CS4RI will help familiarize our children with the use of cutting edge technology thus properly framing the future application of their education," Datarista, Inc. founder and CEO Pat Sabatino said.
"To thrive in a world driven by technology and innovation people need an understanding of CIS fundamentals from an early age," Envision Technology Advisors CEO Todd S. Knapp said. "It is great to see a forward thinking program like Governor Raimondo's Computer Science for RI. This initiative will not only reinforce the importance of computer and technology education to Rhode Island students, it provides a platform to inspire these young minds to become makers and innovators. This can only strengthen their future prospects and will empower Rhode Island's workforce with dynamic, technology savvy minds."
"Today's youth must have a solid foundation in Computer Science to be successful in the 21st Century economy," EpiVax CEO and CSO Annie De Groot, M.D., said. "We live in the Information Age, and technology is so ubiquitous that a proficiency in Computer Science is now equally important to reading, writing, and arithmetic. EpiVax believes that computers in the classroom should be as pervasive as textbooks."
"The task of preparing our children for the jobs of the 21st century takes a giant step forward with this initiative," Women's Care Inc. President Dr. Pablo Rodriguez said. "This will especially benefit poor and urban children who do not have the same opportunities as others. Thank you Governor!" "Tech Collective supports Governor Raimondo's Computer Science for RI initiative," Tech Collective Executive Director Tom Falcone said. "CS is a critical educational component in fostering our future workforce. In addition to raising awareness of technology pathways, at its core, CS reinforces critical thinking and problem solving skills relevant to all aspects of students' educational and workforce careers. Tech Collective looks forward to working with our educators and employers to offer robust CS opportunities for all Rhode Island students."
"A talented workforce is the lifeblood of business, and it's essential that we devote even more attention to our schools and workforce development efforts to ensure that there's a pipeline of people equipped with 21st century skills," Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council Executive Director John C. Simmons said. "We applaud Gov. Raimondo for bringing together this coalition of business, non-profit, education, and government partners to focus attention on expanding computer science education -- this is a great way to help students, businesses, and the Rhode Island economy."