BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced Monday the state will launch a new version of Idaho Codes in collaboration with the Idaho Technology Council. Idaho Codes is an online computer science course designed to teach middle and high school students how to code, build websites and create apps.
"Job opportunities in computer science will continue to grow, and introducing our students to computer science early on will expose them to real-world experiences and strengthen critical thinking skills that will serve them throughout their lives," Gov. Little said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
Coding camps will also be held at four state community colleges this summer: College of Eastern Idaho, College of Southern Idaho, College of Western Idaho and North Idaho College.
Students who register for the course will have their fees waived thanks to donations from the Åcahand Foundation, St. Luke's Health System, J. R. Simplot Foundation, Idaho Central Credit Union, Micron Foundation, and a partnership with the STEM Action Center.
"When I discovered this program, I was thrilled to introduce it to the Idaho industry because the skills acquired through Idaho Codes are both quantifiable and recognizable in today's job market," Idaho Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt said during the press conference. "As a mom of two high school students, I wanted this learning opportunity for my kids and every student in Idaho."
ITC and the Idaho Stem Action Center are working closely with the state on Idaho Codes. ITC founder and CEO Jay Larsen said the program was in development before the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm really excited about Idaho Codes," Larsen said. "Computer science is going to be very important in these students' lives and it's important they have a good understanding of it because everything we have today is run by code. You can take this course anywhere as long as you have Internet access, which is crucial in a mostly rural state like Idaho. And students who don't have sufficient bandwidth or are otherwise unable to get online can reach out to us for help. We are thrilled about coding camps being offered through Idaho community colleges, which is new this year."
Last year, more than 1,000 students registered for the program within three days of its launch, according to Larsen. 1,800 students overall enrolled statewide. Nearly 67% of students who registered were from rural areas, and 33% of participants were female.
Interim Executive Director of the STEM Action Center Kaitlin Maguire said the course is an excellent match for Idaho.
For more information about the Idaho Codes program, click here.
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