A Call to Massachusetts: Make Computer Science Count

 |   Jackney Prioly Joseph, Director, Future Ready Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE) is committed to a high-quality education system that prepares all students to engage successfully in a global economy and society. For three decades MBAE has worked to ensure all students graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills they need to participate fully in a global society and competitive workforce.

We were delighted to learn that this Board intends to focus on computer science education at the joint meeting with the Board of Higher Education scheduled for January 23, 2018 at Bridgewater State University. Computer Science is foundational for every child, regardless of career. “Technology” jobs are no longer relegated to the high tech industry. Jobs requiring computer science skills can be found in retail, healthcare and finance. MBAE and our twenty-four Affiliate organizations are concerned that every child in every school acquire a conceptual understanding of computing and have equal opportunities to pursue advanced computer science study if they so choose.

In Massachusetts, computing jobs are projected to grow 22% by 2024. Almost 1 in 4 jobs (23%) in Massachusetts involve computer science skills, yet we are not preparing enough of our residents to compete for these opportunities. In the last 12 months alone there were over 100,000 openings in Computer Science/ Information Technology and IT-adjacent jobs. 76% of Massachusetts tech company leaders report that talent challenges are a barrier to company growth. These are living-wage positions with salaries ranging from approximately $50,000 to over $90,000. According to the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), the high-tech sector directly and indirectly produces 46% of the payroll in Massachusetts.

To ensure all Massachusetts students have access to K12 computer science education, we’ve compiled a list of actions that need to be discussed with the Board of Higher Education. Find those and our full testimony here.

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