Youth Code Jam becomes member of CSforAll Consortium

June 2018

Youth Code Jam is proud to be the newest member in The CSforAll Consortium, a national collaborative of education providers, schools, funders, and researchers working to support the mission of expanding access to CS education for all students and to support student pathways to college and career success.

The Consortium, launched in 2016, is designed as a community of practice to help all students in K-12 achieve computer literacy as part of their educational experience.

Through this new relationship, Youth Code Jam is now listed at alongside prominent businesses and organizations, including Google, several leading universities (M.I.T., University of California at Davis, The University of Texas at Austin), and an array of high-tech companies. Other CSforAll members include researchers, educators, and policy makers.

Currently, only four other Texas entities are included in The CSforAll Consortium.

Youth Code Jam aligns with the mission and work of the Consortium by working to:

  • build the capacity of school districts and other organizations to deliver CS to all students,
  • help the CS education community improve their ability to serve all students,
  • develop rigorous and relevant CS and computational thinking education for all students in grades K-12, with a focus on unlocking the missing talent of underrepresented groups of students, and
  • serve as a platform for connecting diverse stakeholders and communicating about computer science learning resources to local and statewide audiences.

As part of this bold initiative to empower all students K-12 to learn computer science and be equipped with the computational thinking skills they need to be active citizens in our technology-driven world, Youth Code Jam is committed to mapping and aligning its curriculum to the K-12 Computer Science Framework, as well as working with teachers, parents and students to further the mission of computer science for all.

Why is Computer Science for All important? Our economy is rapidly shifting, and educators, policymakers, families, and business leaders are increasingly recognizing that computer science (CS) is a new basic skill necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility. Meaningful CS education for all students is critical to both building a diverse workforce to support our innovation-based economy and developing computational literacy for all students regardless of their career path. Although technology is one of the fastest-growing job sectors and offers some of the highest salaries, today only 40% of students have access to CS classes in school, and few students self-select into elective courses without prior exposure. There are more than 600,000 high-paying tech jobs across the US that are currently unfilled, and by 2018, 51% of all STEM jobs are projected to be in CS-related fields. Yet, less than 3% of Texas students have completed a computer science class in high school.

Most widely known in the San Antonio media market for its annual Jam—a free, popular, large-scale, family-oriented event held each September—Youth Code Jam also provides training to educators statewide, hosts summer camps, smaller coding events designed for children and teens with special developmental needs, and provides outreach to area districts via after-school clubs.

At a time when computer literacy is widely regarded as an essential skill for both educational and work-place success, Youth Code Jam both supports educators in their work and helps connect the dots for students and parents from playing online to creating online to real world jobs.

Debi Pfitzenmaier