Our New Computer Science Education Program Prepares Youth for Post-Secondary Education and 21st Century Careers

CS Pathway program, in partnership with Microsoft Philanthropies, designed for youth, especially girls and youth from minority communities, to learn vital computer science skills

The Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena is helping area youth learn critical thinking, problem-solving, and coding through the new Computer Science (CS) Pathway program, thanks to a $5 million partnership between Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Microsoft Philanthropies. Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Microsoft developed the CS Pathway to prepare the next generation of students with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills. The program puts a special emphasis on helping a larger number of underserved youth, specifically girls and youth from minority communities, learn and apply computer science skills throughout their education so that they will be prepared to succeed in an increasingly technology driven economy. The pathway structure empowers young people to find programs that best meet their needs. For Club members who already have some coding proficiency, the CS Pathway provides additional options to take them further and build on that interest. The Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena and 30 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country will offer four levels of fun and engaging CS curriculum. Pathway delivery and acquired skills build on one another to encourage members to develop passion and proficiencies in coding, over time and at any level.

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be one million unfilled jobs for computer scientists and programmers by 2020, yet many children today still lack access to the tools and resources they need to learn and love computer science,” said Brian J. Davis, Executive Director & CEO. “More specifically, when we look at the lack of women in the field, we know that we have a responsibility to do more to spark girls’ interest and empower them to explore computer science fields. Thanks to the CS Pathway program, we will be able to help our Club members interact with code and other computer science skills by channeling their personal interests and providing a long-term path to develop programming capabilities over time.”

“Jobs increasingly require critical and computational thinking skills, yet only 40% of high schools in the United States offer computer science,” said Mary Snapp, Corporate Vice President and head of Microsoft Philanthropies. “What’s even more unsettling is that women make up 58 percent of the U.S. workforce, but only 25 percent of the computing workforce. By implementing the Computer Science Pathway at Boys & Girls Clubs, we can reach more youth after-school and empower young people from all backgrounds, especially girls, to pursue a broad range of career opportunities, both in technology and otherwise.”

Boys & Girls Clubs of America serves nearly four million youth through Club membership and community outreach annually and partnered with Microsoft to ensure kids and teens have access to great future. The CS Pathway curriculum taps into engaging content like gaming and app development to introduce more underrepresented youth, of all ages, to computer science skills. The program is part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s strategy aimed at ensuring all members graduate from high school on time, are ready for a post-secondary education, and a 21st-century career.

Members of the Slavik Branch begin the Computer Science Pathway Program this week.