Tech leaders determined to bring computer science to every Utah school

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Aaron Skonnard, the CEO of Pluralsight, says there's been a lot of focus on STEM, but STEM is missing computer science. Skonnard and others were tasked by the Governor Gary Herbert to create a state strategy to get computer science education into every Utah school, even in the very rural parts of our state. (Photo: KUTV)

2018 was a banner year for Utah's Silicon Slopes.

Although the tech sector appears to be growing and thriving, there is concern among its leaders about its future. At the root of the concern is a lack of a computer science education in Utah schools.

"Our companies don't have enough workers. We can't find enough tech people," said the CEO of Pluralsight Aaron Skonnard.

Skonnard and other tech leaders are on a mission to get computer science into every Utah school by 2022.

"We have a lot of work to do because only about 16 percent of high schools in Utah today offer computer science," said Skonnard.

Skonnard added that Utah's tech companies can't find enough qualified workers in the state.

"There's 5,000 open computing jobs in Utah right now that we can't fill. We have them here at Pluralsight, we can't fill them," said Skonnard.

Skonnard says there's been a lot of focus on STEM, but STEM is missing computer science. Skonnard and others were tasked by the Governor Gary Herbert to create a state strategy to get computer science education into every Utah school, even in the very rural parts of our state.

"If our kids are going to be part of this new digital economy, a new element of literacy is computer science and every child should at least be exposed to it, to be taught the fundamentals," said Skonnard.

For the first time Governor Herbert earmarked $3.9 million of his 2020 budget for computer science curriculum in every Utah middle school. Skonnard says computer science education in Utah is a necessity.

"Without this Utah will falter, without this we will not achieve our potential as a state," said Skonnard

The details of getting computer science in every Utah school still need to be worked out, but the beginning phases are in place.



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