With seven new states, including Ohio and Wisconsin, TEALS offered in more than 31 states
REDMOND, Wash. — May 15, 2017 — Microsoft Philanthropies on Monday announced the expansion of TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools), which pairs technology professionals with teachers to “co-teach” computer science. The TEALS program will add nearly 100 schools in the United States, and will recruit 1,100 volunteers, for the coming school year. Volunteers come from companies ranging from small startups to large brands such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft Corp., among others. Volunteers are invited to apply through the TEALS website.
“As industries evolve, we should prepare young people with the skills they need,” said Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies. “Half a million jobs that require computing skills are unfilled in the United States, with openings in every industry and in every state. Yet most high schools do not teach computer science. Volunteers from Microsoft and more than 300 other companies are working to fill that gap, in partnership with teachers, through TEALS.”
Some of the top manufacturing regions in the country will benefit from the TEALS expansion. Among the new states for the program are Wisconsin, Ohio and North Carolina. A majority of the five high schools added in Michigan are in the Detroit metropolitan area. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) estimates the gap between the technology skills employers need, and the skills many workers possess, is keeping 350,000 manufacturing jobs unfilled.
TEALS volunteers co-teach Introduction to Computer Science and AP Computer Science, depending on a school’s preference, and some schools offer both. The TEALS curriculum was developed in conjunction with the UC Berkeley and the University of Washington computer science departments. A key part of the program is helping to prepare classroom teachers to teach the subject in the future. Over two years, the classroom teachers gradually take over teaching the course on their own.
This expansion is the result of new partnerships with schools, businesses, government leaders and nonprofits. In Ohio, spurred in part by a 2014 Cleveland Foundation study that showed the need for 10,000 local information technology (IT) workers, the Cuyahoga County Executive and the Cleveland Foundation forged a partnership with Microsoft to bring TEALS to the state. The Cleveland Foundation provided a $185,000 grant and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Cleveland State University, and the Envision Excellence in STEM Education also played key roles in bringing the program to Ohio. Together, they will expand access to rigorous computer science courses across Cuyahoga County, and especially in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
“One of Cuyahoga County’s key priorities is to ensure the workforce’s competitive advantage by offering programs that include the entire spectrum of our residents’ lives from early childhood through post-secondary education and into the workplace,” said Armond Budish, Cuyahoga County executive. “The TEALS program is a critical component to our workforce development initiative. We are focused on establishing career pathways for youth and young adults and support county schoolchildren enrolled in the TEALS programs, feeding students directly into our local businesses.”
Gener8tor, a startup accelerator, and the Milwaukee Institute, a nonprofit, joined with Thrivent Financial, a financial services firm, Schneider National, a transportation company, and others to bring the program to Wisconsin. TEALS will be offered in high schools in Appleton, Green Bay and Milwaukee, in addition to other cities.
“We are thrilled that Microsoft is investing in our region by establishing the TEALS program in support of computer science education in several Wisconsin high schools,” said Paul Mueller, chief information officer, Thrivent Financial. “Given the current and growing shortage of IT talent needed to drive our economy, TEALS is a welcome approach. It will accelerate the development of the talent we need, while investing in the futures of our students.”
The private sector plays an especially critical role in TEALS, which depends on volunteers from local companies to partner with classroom teachers to bring computer science into high schools. Anyone with a computer programming background and a desire to contribute to their community is encouraged to apply. TEALS arranges with schools for classes to be taught during first period, allowing volunteers to teach before the workday begins. Those interested in volunteering can learn more at https://www.tealsk12.org/volunteers/.
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