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Google pledges $20,000 to STEM Council for ‘Code Iowa’

Google pledges $20,000 to STEM Council for ‘Code Iowa’

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CEDAR FALLS | The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council received $20,000 from Google to support a computer science program.

This is the second time Google has funded "Code Iowa," which focuses on increasing the state's participation in Code.org’s international effort called “The Hour of Code.” Last December, more than 450 schools took part in the event, and 50 schools signed up through the STEM Council to become a certified Code Iowa partner. Google’s first $20,000 contribution allowed the STEM Council to award five schools across Iowa with $4,000 technology awards for participating in the “Hour of Code” during Computer Science Education Week.

The council is based at the University of Northern Iowa. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

According to Code.org statistics, Iowa currently has nearly 4,500 open computing jobs with only 358 computer science graduates to fill them, which is a demand 3.1 times the state average.

“The demand for more STEM-talented workers in Iowa is very similar across all STEM fields, but it is safe to say that the demand for jobs in computer science is needed consistently by nearly all of Iowa’s businesses,” said Chris Nelson, Kemin Industries president and CEO and co-chair of the STEM council. “We see technology in almost every aspect of our daily lives, and businesses have become reliant on it for their success. Google’s gift will, in the long run, allow the STEM council to benefit businesses across the state.”

Google began in 1998 as an internet search engine that has grown to include features such as Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Google+ and more. These additions came with a demand for more employees able to work in fields like engineering and design to developer relations and technical solutions. Google opened a data center in Council Bluffs in 2007 and has invested $2.5 billion in Iowa and created more than 300 jobs.

This year, Computer Science Education Week is Dec. 7-13. Those schools that plan to participate during that week and submit a proposal to the STEM Council and Code.org will be eligible for technology awards. Interested schools must create a plan on how they will organize every student to do the Hour of Code at their school at www.IowaSTEM.gov/CodeIowa by Nov. 16.

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