Students at the Northeast College High School in Rochester got a taste of computer coding this week with the launch of a program aimed at bringing this hot job skill to city students.
The program is a joint effort between Women in Computing at Rochester Institute of Technology and AT&T to expose more students to the growing need for qualified candidates in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.
The RIT & AT&T Mobile Tech Lab will work with students at Northeast for three weeks before moving on to other public and charter schools.
“We are very thankful for AT&T’s support in helping to make the dream of this outreach lab come alive,” said Lana Verschage, director of RIT’s WiC. “We are excited to give public high school students an opportunity to experience computing. In an ideal world, every child should be learning some code like a second language.” The Women in Computing program came up with the high school curriculum, which includes hardware and programming to computer networks to developing apps.
“If someone doesn’t like to write code, that doesn’t mean that tech isn’t for them,” said Shannon McIntosh, a fifth-year software engineering major. “We want to demonstrate how broad the industry is by showcasing many topics in our classes, including hardware and networking.”
AT&T contributed $20,000 to get the program rolling. The RIT participants bring laptops and other materials to the campus and provide instruction at no cost to the schools.
Both Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren praised the program.
“It’s important that we bridge the tech skills gap to help build our next-generation workforce of the future,” Dinolfo said.
After three weeks at Northeast, the lab will move on to Edison Tech and Monroe High School .
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