Microsoft’s Allyson Knox testifies before Congress on the state of computer science education

On Nov. 15, Microsoft Education Policy and Programs Director Allyson Knox testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade regarding the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the U.S.

The hearing, titled “Our Nation of Builders:  Training the Builders of the Future,” included a panel of industry and policy experts examining the critical business need for workers trained in STEM fields to ensure continued U.S. innovation and economic growth.

In her testimony, Knox emphasized the need to expand access to computer science education in U.S. schools and the importance of addressing the skills mismatch too many Americans face by strengthening our nation’s jobs training programs. Knox testified that over the next 10 years, the U.S. will generate more than 120,000 new jobs annually that require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, yet last year our nation’s universities only graduated 52,000 students with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.  This STEM and computer science shortage isn’t only felt by tech companies, it is felt across industries throughout the country.

To help solve this challenge, Knox reiterated the importance of public-private partnerships and highlighted Microsoft’s youth and education-focused initiatives. Specifically, she spoke about Microsoft’s school-focused programs, including Partners in Learning and Microsoft IT Academy. She also discussed Microsoft’s YouthSpark initiative, including our TEALS program, in which volunteers partner with in-service teachers to teach computer science at more than 70 high schools across the country.

To watch the webcast of this hearing, click here. Allyson’s written testimony is posted on the House of Energy and Commerce’s website here. To view a video interview with Allyson following the hearing, click here.

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