Do you remember a moment when a mentor, teacher, or friend opened up your eyes to something that changed your life? Do you remember a wide-eyed moment when the impossible became possible and it put you on a path of discovery and maybe even helped put you on the career path you are on today?
Heroes across the country help create these incredible moments every day. Many are working hard to connect and spark young minds to get excited about technology through mentoring; many others are dreaming up the technology tools themselves that can spark imagination and wonder. These champions are inspiring students to get excited about becoming the developers, engineers, and innovators who will create solutions to some of our toughest challenges.
This July, the White House will host a “Champions of Change” event on Tech Inclusion. This event will celebrate and honor local change-agents who are making these moments of wonder and discovery happen for kids – specifically those making a difference for kids from communities underrepresented in technology, like girls and minorities.
And today, we’re asking you to help us identify these standout local leaders by nominating a Champion of Change for Tech Inclusion by July 1st.
The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that by 2020 there will be more than 1.4 million computing-related job openings. At current rates, however, U.S. computing bachelor’s degree program grads will fill only about 30% of those jobs. To help address this gap, President Obama set an ambitious goal to increase the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by one million within the next ten years. We and many others are working hard to meet this goal. Underrepresented minorities, women, and girls represent a valuable talent pool the country must tap into, to meet the President’s goal. But in order to expand the Nation’s tech talent pool, it will take all of us working together to knock down any barriers that stand in the way.
That is why we launched the White House Tech Inclusion efforts - to help connect everyone to tech skills and opportunity, and ensure that we are all working together so the next generation of innovators is enriched by, and reflects the full diversity of, America.
A Champion’s work may involve:
- Being a positive role model in their community for younger kids.
- Dedicating time to helping build programs and outlets that specifically engage youth from underrepresented communities in technology.
- Taking time to mentor and inspire youth to think about a future career in technology.
- Helping develop a new, impactful technology education curriculum that reaches at-risk youth.
- Establishing programs that help connect youth with internships and job opportunities in the tech sector.
- Working with libraries, museums, or other non-school partners to build Maker spaces, design studios, or other safe spaces for using technology.
- Building programs that recognize and honor young men and women for their accomplishments and interest in technology.
These kinds of work can make critical differences in helping ensure that younger generations get exposed to the incredible world of technology and opportunity. We are looking forward to celebrating who those who are making a difference already, and helping to spark more people to follow their lead!
Nominate a Champion of Change for Tech Inclusion by July 1st (under theme of service, choose "Tech Inclusion").
We will review all applications and this July honor a team of Champions. Stay tuned for more information on the Champs and the event to come.
Todd Park is US Chief Technology Officer