Boys & Girls Clubs of King County selected as host location
This week, as the AmeriCorps VISTA program celebrates its 50th anniversary, the Corporation for National and Community Service has announced a partnership with Google and Boys & Girls Club of America to inspire and train the next generation of computer scientists. The organizations have come together to launch a program, Code Corps, that will increase access to computer science education across the United States. Seattle is one of seven cities where the program will be rolled out.
The AmeriCorps VISTA Code Corps program will recruit and train a group of AmeriCorps VISTAs to facilitate Google’s CS First curriculum and other technology experiences for Boys and Girls Club members across the United States. The inaugural class will be comprised of 20 AmeriCorps VISTA members who will be placed in Boys & Girls Clubs in seven cities. The program will reach 5,000 Boys & Girls Club members and equip them with the skills necessary to reach their full potential. Through the Code Corps program, full-time AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers will also provide Clubs with visible support for, and energy around, technology and technology education through volunteer training.
“We are thrilled to work with Google and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to inspire students and give them the skills they need to pursue careers in science and technology,” said Wendy Spencer, the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “As we mark the 50th anniversary of AmeriCorps VISTA, this public-private partnership is another example of how we are fighting poverty in innovative ways. Access to technology is critical to a young person’s economic future. These AmeriCorps members will help usher in the new generation of leaders who will transform our world through their creativity.”
“With more than 8 million STEM jobs projected in our country by 2018, it is imperative that we provide our Club kids with access to technology training of the highest level to enable them to achieve a great future,” said Dr. Damon A. Williams, chief educational & youth development officer for BGCA. “Through this partnership with Google and Corporation for National and Community Service we’re preparing thousands of kids with the tools necessary for leadership in the 21st century.”
“CS First is helping to build a pipeline of future computer scientists with diversity in mind.
About half of the students partaking in the curriculum are women and about half are underrepresented minorities.” said Maggie Johnson Director of Education and University Relations at Google. “But whether or not students pursue computer science following CS First, the exposure and understanding of the impact of computer science is valuable to any future.”
Google’s CS First curriculum aims to make computer science accessible and inspiring. Since launching in 2013, the free online curriculum has reached more than 19,000 students participating in more than 1,300 clubs across the country. The curriculum does not require facilitators to have a background in technology or computer science and clubs are mostly run by teachers, parents or volunteers. The lessons draw upon relatable topics, from music to politics, demonstrating that computer science can tap into students’ interests.
Applications are open for AmeriCorps VISTA Code Corps members until March 1. Accepted Corps members will travel to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California for training.
AmeriCorps VISTA Code Corps is also an expansion of STEM AmeriCorps, an initiative announced by President Obama in 2013 to encourage public-private partnerships to expand national service and thus spur greater interest by K-12 students in the STEM professions.