The Office of Children’s Affairs today announced it is working with Microsoft on a Digital Alliance Agreement, and yesterday worked with Microsoft to provide free computer and technology training to 80 middle schoolers at Denver Discovery School. This is the beginning of subsequent computer science and entrepreneur training for youth.
The Microsoft YouthSpark program, Digi Camp, gave students from Denver Discover School the opportunity to participate in hands-on workshops to learn more about digital literacy, basic coding, robotics, making movies with 3D and mixed reality, pairing technology with philanthropy, and business development in the industry of computer science. Professionals from the field were also on-site to help participants explore educational and career paths that can lead to a wide range of technology jobs or specialized positions.
“These skills are defining the economy for the next generation, and it’s critical that we work together to provide these learning experiences to youth across our city,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “The Digital Alliance Agreement with Microsoft provides us an opportunity to build on our commitment to prepare Denver’s youth to be leaders, innovators and ready to compete for advanced employment in the fields of computer science and technology.”
“Denver is excited to work with Microsoft and continuing our partnership through the Digital Alliance to engage students in becoming digital innovators,” said Erin Brown, Executive Director of the Office of Children’s Affairs. “We want all youth to have opportunities to develop technology skills that employers will be looking for in the future. Programs, like YouthSpark, ensure we remove barriers and provide access to experiences that benefit youth regardless of socio-economic status.”
“Our Digital Alliance Agreement with the City and County of Denver demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to community outreach efforts supporting career exploration opportunities for local youth,” said Celeste Alleyne, Director of Citizenship for the West Region. “And it also supports the development of impactful STEM career pathways in an important metropolitan city such as Denver.”
The demand for skilled workers in STEM careers and technology is increasing. According to Code.org, in 2016, there were 530,472 open computing jobs in the United States, but only 42,969 computer science graduates to fill them. Denver and Microsoft are empowering youth at an early age to successfully pursue careers in STEM and technology. Engaging early learners and providing innovative STEM experiences to underserved youth will foster a more diverse workforce in the field and increase economic opportunities for young people across the city.