CodeForKids.us is a non-profit organization focused on building a diverse pool of IT professionals by promoting high-tech topics to students, with special focus on Pre-K to K-4 students.
Research shows that by the time students reach fourth grade, a third of boys and girls have lost an interest in science. By eighth grade, almost 50 percent have lost interest or deemed it irrelevant to their education or future plans.
There is another phenomena: the above quoted study of fourth graders showed that 66 percent of girls and 68 percent of boys reported liking science. But something else starts happening in elementary school. By second grade, when students (both boys and girls) are asked to draw a scientist, most portray a white male in a lab coat. Any woman scientist they draw looks severe and not very happy. The persistence of the stereotypes start to turn girls off, and by eighth grade, boys are twice as interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) careers as girls are.
The number of jobs available to IT specialists is growing. According to Code.org, last year there were 583,155 open computing jobs nationwide. But last year, only 59,764 computer science students graduated into the workforce. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be 1,000,000 more IT jobs than graduating students, and the increased need for H-1B for foreign IT workers is a clear proof for it. However, we don't do enough to interest underprivileged kids in STEM/IT so they can take advantage of these jobs.
But it is not only about IT jobs. The "Digital Literacy" is today as important as Reading and Writing. However, the Digital Divide is huge, and growing. As some research has shown, widening levels of education seem to magnify the digital divide; households with higher levels of education are increasingly more likely to use computers and the Internet. Also, students with limited home Internet access and computer literacy skills have found it increasingly difficult to find, apply for and obtain jobs, even at minimum-wage positions. While the Internet access/use has improved in recent years, the risk is that most of the residents in poor neighborhood are using it for video games, and not for education, because nobody has shown them how they can use Web as a learning tool.
The main Project websites is http://CodeForKids.us