Rural Appalachia can be a vibrant and attractive place to live and work. It can be a place where families and culture thrive; where education and opportunities abound for our next generation of young leaders.
To transform the Appalachia region, we need to equip the next generation of leaders with the right skills; we need to create opportunities; and we need to cultivate the next leaders and visionaries.
We believe that the key to economic and community development begins with a strong education foundation for the young people of the region.
In order to compete in the 21st, our young people need to be equipped with all the skills, tools, and knowledge that the best schools in this country offers. We know that one of the fastest growing and highest paying industries today is in the field of computer technology. By 2020, there will be 1.4 million new computer science jobs, but at current rates it is estimated that only 30% of those jobs can be filled by U.S. graduates (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Right now, according to Code.org, nine out 10 high schools in the U.S. do not offer computer science classes. Industry professionals are worried that there will not be enough educated workers to fill the ballooning number of computer science jobs. According to Advanced Kentucky (KSTC), only 19 Kentucky high schools currently offer AP computer science. The gender gap is also glaring; only 13% of the students taking these classes are women.
The goal of Rural Up! Code Academy is to create an exciting and engaging environment in which middle school and high school students are challenged to think about technology in very tangible and applicable ways. By giving them the information and resources needed for success in computer coding, Rural Up! hopes that they will become leaders of the high tech workforce right here in Kentucky.
We’re not just talking about courses to teach our young people how to create a video game-- imagine if they learn to also design a software application that will solve real world problems! One of the most exciting things about working in the field of computer science is that an internet savvy and entrepreneurial minded individual can work from anywhere in the world. Imagine if rural Eastern Kentucky and all of Appalachia is where the next great forward thinking technological ideas are birthed!