A new program being considered at Highland High School would help prepare students for a career in computer coding.
The city of Highland and the Highland School District are looking to team up and start a computer coding course offered by Project Lead The Way (PLTW).
PLTW is the nation’s leading provider of K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education courses, which help students develop skills necessary to succeed in today’s global economy.
City and District 5 officials have held a number of meetings to discuss the possibility of starting the course. Both sides expressed optimism last week that an accord will be reached shortly.
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The elective course would be offered to upper classmen and could start this fall, District 5 Superintendent Mike Sutton said.
PLTW is currently offered to more than 8,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that jobs in STEM will grow 17 percent by 2018 — nearly double the growth for non-STEM fields.
By 2018, the U.S. will have more than 1.2 million unfilled STEM jobs because there will not be enough qualified workers to fill them.
Last August, Assistant City Manager Lisa Peck introduced the PLTW program to the city’s Industrial Development Commission (IDC). Peck told the IDC then that students could learn very marketable skill by pairing a them with people who already work with the computer programming/coding skills. The program could also be widened to include networking, software support and hardware support.
Sutton said the STEM program would result in a workforce that is attractive to potential businesses looking to take advantage of the city’s GIGABIT internet service.
“The city and BEA will be partners in securing sufficient funding to implement and support the program,” he said. “I am confident that this opportunity will benefit our students and open doors to new interests.”