Lane County schools and others statewide are receiving an influx of $5 million as part of plan to provide computer science education in all high schools by the fall of 2027.
The funding was announced by Gov. Kate Brown last week when she visited Connected Lane County’s SparkLab, which offers extended out-of-school STEM education and training opportunities for youth to gain hands-on experience.
“Now, more than ever, a deep understanding of computer science is a critical skill for today’s workforce,” Brown said in a news release. “That’s why I am proud to announce this important investment and chart a roadmap to ensure equitable access to computer science skills for Oregon’s students.”
While there are existing computer science programs in some schools, it’s not ubiquitous or equally available to different demographics.
The funding will also allow the state to build up its STEM and CTE technology literacy and computer science courses with a focus on inclusivity for female students, students of color and other groups that have been historically marginalized, said Colt Gill, director of the Oregon Department of Education, in the release.
The $5 million comes from the available Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds, and will be dedicated to schools and community-based organizations to ensure Oregon students, particularly women and students of color, are provided with computer science education and opportunities, Brown’s office said in the release, adding that she has directed ODE and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to develop a statewide plan to implement computer science programs.
Brown was joined at the announcement by Connected Lane County Executive Director Heidi Larwick, STEM Investment board members, Gill, Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission Deputy Executive Director Ramona Rodamaker, state legislators, and students from local elementary, middle, and high schools.