Florida Chamber Joins Broad Coalition in Urging Florida House to Support HB 1213

 

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To: Members of the Florida House

On behalf of our broad coalition of education, business and industry groups, we are writing in strong support of HB 1213 (Porter), a bill that will expand access to computer science in Florida public schools and help prepare Florida students for the 21st century workforce.

Computing is a foundational skill for K-12 students. It develops students’ computational and critical thinking skills and teaches them how to create — not just use — new technologies. These skills will benefit students in every subject, in the classroom and beyond.

In Florida and across the country, computer science is driving job growth and innovation. Computer science skills are in high demand in the job market; in fact, more than half of projected jobs in STEM fields are in computing occupations, and computer science is one of the most desirable degrees for new college graduates. According to the Conference Board, there are approximately 22,365 open computing jobs in the State of Florida, and demand for these jobs is growing at 3.6 times the state average.

HB 1213 will better prepare Florida students for these high paying, in-demand careers by phasing in a reasonable requirement that high schools offer computer science courses and providing professional development for computer science teachers.

Please join us in supporting HB 1213 to ensure Florida students have educational opportunities that prepare them for a successful future in a competitive, global workforce. Thank you for your consideration, and please consider our organizations as a resource as you deliberate this bill.

Sincerely,

Code.org
College Board
Florida Chamber of Commerce
Project Lead the Way
TechNet

Florida Chamber Urges Senate Committee to Support SB 1056

 

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To: Senate Education Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support DE amendment #233566 to SB 1056. This bill, which is sponsored by Senator Kathleen Passidomo, will be heard Tuesday, January 16th, in the Senate Education Committee.

The Florida Chamber supports legislation that allows Florida to continue to attract high wage jobs and keep high-skilled talent in our state. Providing opportunities for STEM involvement at earlier levels of learning will give Florida’s students the best chance at being competitive. The Florida Chamber believes greater STEM opportunities and initiatives will help to position Florida as a leader in high-tech, high-wage job creation. This legislation is important to Florida’s business community because this bill:

  • Promotes opportunities for public middle and high school students to learn computer science taught by qualified teachers.

    The Florida Chamber urges you to support DE amendment #233566 to SB 1056, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Verizon & PLTW Offering Computer Science Opportunity for Florida Students

By Jennifer Cahill Erbacher, Senior Director of Media and Public Relations, Project Lead The Way, Inc.

Florida middle schools can apply for a grant to offer hands-on, project-based computer science learning to their students for the 2017-18 school year. More than $3 million in grant funding is available to 150 middle schools nationwide, thanks to Verizon and Project Lead The Lead (PLTW), a nonprofit that provides transformative learning experiences for K-12 students and teachers. The grant is an expansion of an initial $5 million partnership between the two organizations, which has allowed more than 240 middle schools across 36 states – including 20 in Florida – to train teachers and implement PLTW’s high-quality computer science curriculum.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates more than 1.3 million open positions in computer- and math-related fields by 2022, with computer science skills needed in more than 180 industries from auto repair to health care. Yet a recent Gallup survey showed that less than 40 percent of U.S. schools offer any form of computer science education.

PLTW’s middle school computer science units – App Creators and Computer Science for Innovators and Makers – are part of PLTW’s K-12 Computer Science pathway and are built on PLTW’s hands-on, project-based instructional approach. The units provide an opportunity for students to experience computer science in a relevant and engaging way, empowering them to solve problems using the powerful ideas behind computational thinking and preparing them for further computer science learning in high school.

The application for grant funding is currently open, and eligible schools must apply by April 15. For more information or to apply, visit https://www.pltw.org/experience-pltw/funding-and-grant-opportunities