Bringing kids code – and a key to success4 minutes
What happens when a million jobs are created but industry can’t find the talent to fill the positions? Over the next five years, 1.4 million new computer science jobs will need to be filled in the United States – but there are only about 400,000 computer science students in that employment pipeline, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Currently, there are over 500,000 vacant tech jobs.
Meanwhile, software continues to become a larger part of our lives. From our food to the way we enjoy media, software – and the companies that build it – are continuously redefining the way we live our lives.
Those who write the code that make-up this software are making valuable contributions and being rewarded for that work. Millennials in their mid-twenties working for these software companies can even expect to make six figures in some cases, according to the Harvard Business Review. There were 7 million jobs that required some level of coding skills in 2015 and coding positions are expanding ahead of market average by 12 percent.
The education gap
Unfortunately, coding classes aren’t offered in 90% of U.S. high schools. Furthermore, in 33 of the 50 states in the U.S., computer science classes aren’t counted as high school math or science graduation requirements.
This gap presents an opportunity. By addressing the lack of computer science education for students in underserved communities, access to new employment opportunities can be created. At the same time, businesses can foster the talent they need to fill these emerging positions. Still, how exactly do we help connect students to skills, confidence and leadership building?
Bridging the gap
To address this, Panasonic is working with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation in the process to help America fulfill its workforce needs going forward. One initiative includes the launch of a coding institute in Newark, home of Panasonic’s North America headquarters. Subsequent institutes Reno, NV, Atlanta, GA and Calexico, CA are also planned. These institutes will operate as an extension of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s successful Coding as a Second Language program.
The Coding as a Second Language program is a national initiative to introduce and teach Latino youth computer programming. The program makes pathways in tech accessible to underrepresented minorities and transform communities by providing access to technology where there is otherwise little available. What started in Los Angeles as a pilot program has now grown to 50 different markets.
These programs include six weeks of instruction. Along with a mentoring component, there are follow-ups that offer additional support. These connections can lead to industry apprenticeships and full-time opportunities.
Committed to our communities
As we look toward the future, it is evident that the talent that we have in our classrooms today will be the talent that occupies tech jobs in the future. Investments made by the Panasonic Foundation focus on incubating ideas and developing public/private partnerships that directly impact students and provide them with the skills and credentials they are going to need to lead fulfilling and successful lives.