To provide computer science courses to underserved students, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on Sep. 21 introduced the Computer Science for All Act.

The bill would authorize $250 million in new grants to advance computer science education for pre-K to 12th-graders.

Lee underscored in a statement that an estimated 70 percent of the projected 1.4 million new tech jobs could go unfilled.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that our students are prepared to out-compete and succeed in the jobs of today and tomorrow,” she said.

President Barack Obama announced the Computer Science For All initiative in January, which needs congressional funding to implement fully.

The president launched the initiative in February, when he sent his chief technology officer, Megan Smith, to Oakland’s Skyline High School to meet with students in their computer lab class.

Lee said fewer than 25 percent of high schools offer Advanced Placement computer science courses. Moreover, students of color and girls are least represented in those classes.

“There is a lack of African American representation in the technology industry, which means that many of our best and brightest – problem solvers, critical thinkers, and those that challenge conventional thinking – are often not included,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairman, Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), one of several co-sponsors of the legislation.



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