Technology has transformed the way we do almost everything. And yet – all too often – we resign kids to a use-only mode. Teaching students to create, rather than consume – to understand how technology works, not just how to use it – serves to strengthen a host of lifelong skills like logic, problem solving, creativity and critical thinking.

You see that kid playing on his computer? He may be the next Steve Jobs. And that teenage girl building a robot? She may discover a new advancement in biomedical engineering. But only if we are able to help them connect the dots from playing with technology to using it to create something new to real world jobs.

Fortunately, there are a host of programs throughout San Antonio (including San Antonio Youth Code Jam) to help them on their way…from maker camps and free coding events to certification programs and bootcamps to degree programs. All are outlined in the recently released San Antonio Technology Education Report, researched and developed by the 80/20 Foundation.

“It’s our education system,” reads the report, “that allows a company to continue hiring talented individuals. The cities that produce high-skilled technology talent at the necessary magnitude for companies rise above the rest in building a vibrant, prosperous community in our modern economy.”

In fact, according to The Hidden STEM Economy by the Brookings Institution, “STEM-oriented metropolitan economies perform strongly on a wide range of economic indicators, from innovation to employment. Job growth, employment rates, patenting, wages and exports are all higher in more STEM-based economies.”

So if you know a kid — take advantage of all our City On The Rise has to offer. Take a class. Go to a camp. Learn online. And just see where it will take you.

I’ll leave you with these inspiring words from none other than Dr. Seuss: “You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”