#YesWeCode Supports White House's Commitment to Expand Computer Science Education


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Jenna Chambers

Communications and Digital Media Associate  | The Dream Corps

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#YesWeCode Supports White House's Commitment to Expand Computer Science Education


#YesWeCode, Oakland Unified School District, Collective Shift-LRNG, LaGuardia Community College and others commit to ensuring all students have access to computer science education and careers


Oakland, CA, Feb 3, 2016  -- #YesWeCode, a Dream Corps initiative, has announced a set of commitments specific to expanding computer science education and providing access to the tools and training needed to find success in the tech sector. This announcement reflects Computer Science for All, an initiative unveiled this week by the White House to make computer science courses available to all students. 

#YesWeCode has pledged to:  

  • Launch a three-year pilot with Oakland Unified School District to give 500 underrepresented students the opportunity to take CS courses while earning college credit.

  • Partner with Collective Shift / LRNG to co-design a playlist with digital badges that students can collect as they complete CS projects to showcase their creativity and skills.

  • Work with leading tech companies to provide technical internships for Oakland youth.

  • Host a convening of community colleges in collaboration with LaGuardia Community College and others to develop a mechanism for sharing best practices around coding instruction within the community college setting.

Van Jones, Founder and President of Dream Corps, said, "President Obama knows the importance of computer science education for every student. #YesWeCode believes it is time to stop wasting genius in our communities. We are proud to support the building of solid tech training pipelines in communities of color."

Oakland Unified School District is among the growing list of K-12 district leaders committed to supporting the expanded effort to offer computer science courses to their students. In Oakland’s growing tech economy, educators and industry leaders are increasingly recognizing computer science as a “basic skill” necessary to succeed in 21st century jobs.

“We have an obligation to ensure that our residents, particularly our young people, are ready to step into their rightful place in the tech sector that drives our global economy,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Providing opportunities for students in Oakland schools to connect with tech companies will benefit OUSD and the tech sector alike. Students in Oakland schools will soon become leaders in our growing tech economy making programs like #YesWeCode's technical internships essential to our computer science education efforts."

“Students of Oakland schools will  benefit from the connections to tech industry partners that #YesWeCode creates,” Claire Shorall, Manager of Computer Science at OUSD said. “Our collective work to build pipelines of opportunity into the field of tech will be catalyzed by youth internships and industry engagement - two of #YesWeCode's contributions that will be vital to our district."

#YesWeCode has joined forces with LRNG, the MacArthur Foundation and other national tech and education leaders to create a series of out-of-school opportunities for students to learn computer science skills called digital badges. Through this new system of learning opportunities, #YesWeCode will begin providing a series of tech related digital badges designed to teach students about tech careers.

"Computer science is a key 21st century skill but it is not yet offered, or even recognized as qualifying content for graduation, in many American high schools," said Connie Yowell, chief executive officer of LRNG, a movement that promotes and recognizes learning in both formal and informal settings. "LRNG and #YesWeCode will help students and schools bridge this gap, using digital badges to document computer science learning outside the classroom. LRNG's badges, which use an open technical standard, are secure, verifiable, and easily shared. High school students can use these micro-credentials to demonstrate their achievements in computer science to colleges and potential employers.

#YesWeCode, in collaboration with LaGuardia Community College in New York City, will host a national convening to bring community colleges around the country together to expand the discussion on the role of tech training in higher education through community colleges.

"With more than 40,000 coding jobs expected to be created over the next decade, we are thrilled to support #YesWeCode in order to ensure that highly-trained candidates are available to fill these positions,” said LaGuardia Community College President Gail Mellow. “Community colleges, among the largest and most affordable providers of training in the latest computer programming languages and tools, will be vital to this effort. For people of all backgrounds to have an opportunity to reach the middle class, our country must continue to invest in efforts that expand an inclusive innovation economy.”

About #YesWeCode

#YesWeCode is a Dream Corps initiative that works with partners to help train 100,000 young women and men of low-opportunity backgrounds find success in the tech sector. By learning this highly valuable and relevant 21st century skill, these young people can not only shift the trajectory of their own futures, but transform their relationships with their communities and their country. To learn more about #YesWeCode, visit yeswecode.org