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 government leaders are saying about #CS4RI.
"We must ensure all students have the skills they need to compete in today's innovation economy and that means making computer science much more accessible for all learners," Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. said. "President Obama's budget includes funding for states and districts to increase access to computer science by providing training for educators, expanding access to high-quality instructional materials, and building effective regional partnerships. By offering computer science in every public school and every grade, Rhode Island has become the latest state to lead the way in offering computer science for all."
"For young people to graduate ready for college and career, we must ensure our students are producers – not just consumers – in the digital economy," Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, said. "I applaud Governor Raimondo for taking these bold new steps to prepare Rhode Island students for success in the 21st century. As President Obama said, 'They're the ones who will make sure America keeps growing, keeps innovating, and keeps leading the years ahead.' Computer Science for Rhode Island will help make that vision a reality."
"We need to align our policies and programs to drive innovation, create good jobs, and fuel economic growth," U.S. Senator Jack Reed said. "The job market out there for computer science is huge and growing. This initiative will connect more kids to computer science opportunities and help the state develop a talented and innovative workforce."
"It's getting harder and harder to find a job in our modern economy that doesn't require strong computer skills and a firm grasp of technology," U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said. "I applaud the Governor and her team on this new tech initiative to set up Rhode Island students for success in the twenty-first century."
"We need to ensure that young people in Rhode Island have 21st century skills for a 21st century economy, and that means developing tech-based skills in areas like computer science," Congressman Jim Langevin said. "Technological proficiency is now essential across a range of industries, including cybersecurity, a field with limitless growth-potential. As co-chair of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus, I have seen firsthand the difference that experiential education can have on a child, and I am confident that this initiative put together by Governor Raimondo will put many students on the path to a stable, successful, and rewarding career."
"Creating a talented and diverse pipeline of students with computer science expertise is critical to our economic prosperity and bringing together national leadership to work collaboratively with great Rhode Island organizations to make sure our young people begin to develop these skills in the early years of their education," Congressman David Cicilline said. "That's why I'm so glad to join with Governor Raimondo to launch CS4RI, among the most comprehensive statewide computer science initiatives in the country, that will help make Rhode Island a leader in ensuring the next generation has the skills they will need to be successful. I commend the Governor for her visionary leadership on this initiative and look forward to working with her to implement this program across the state."
"Providing opportunities for Central Falls students to gain the necessary skills to compete in the job market is a great thing," Central Falls Mayor James Diossa said. "This is a forward-thinking plan that sets Rhode Island up to get ahead in the 21st century. I commend Governor Raimondo and her team for putting forth a meaningful solution to challenges we face in our communities."
"The Governor's Computer Science for RI initiative is a tremendous step toward equipping Rhode Island's future workforce with the in-demand skills they need to compete in the 21st century," Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien said. "As the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, Pawtucket and Rhode Island have been a cradle of innovation for many years and initiatives like these will ensure that we are well-positioned for the future."