Increasing access to computer science for all youth

Last evening, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced our commitment to increase access to computer science education for youth worldwide, with a special focus on those from under-represented backgrounds. We believe this is a significant commitment that will create opportunities for young people everywhere to help build the future of our increasingly digital world.

Computer science education, and the computational-thinking and problem-solving skills they involve, are critical to the future of technology. The world needs a diverse talent pipeline that will advance innovation in ways that better serve the diversity of customers everywhere. This is important not only for the technology industry, but for all industries across the global economy.

In the U.S. alone, the economy will create 1.4 million new computing jobs by the year 2022. Yet, less than a quarter of U.S. high schools currently teach computer science. That’s not enough and we’re working with schools and policy-makers to change that. One of the programs that we’re enthusiastic about is Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS). It’s an initiative that pairs volunteer computer science engineers with classroom educators to team-teach students across the country.

Last year, TEALS volunteers from across the tech industry helped teach 6,000 students in 131 high schools. We’re increasing our investment to expand our reach five-fold to reach within three years 700 high schools per year and 30,000 students annually. In fact, our goal is to reach 4,000 high schools – 10 percent of all in the U.S. – over the next decade.

To do so, we’ll need to partner even more with volunteers from across the industry. That’s why Satya has called upon everyone to join this effort, highlighting that one of our industry’s greatest opportunities is to ignite the next generation of boys’ and girls’ passion for computer science.

And, we know that when we ignite the passion of one young person, there’s often a great ripple effect among their friends and fellow students. One story that struck me is that of Victoria Tran of San Francisco, who is the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants. Not only did Victoria discover new possibilities for herself through the TEALS computer science course, she’s now sharing her passion with other young women and teaching them to code.

This week’s announcement kicks off a series of initiatives that Microsoft will drive to create even more opportunities for youth of all backgrounds to see what’s possible for themselves and for their future….and for ours.

We’re looking forward to sharing more in the coming weeks and months….