There is a staggering statistic being tossed around within the US Technology Industry. It’s estimated there will be nearly 1 million jobs needed to be filled in the tech job market by 2020. Additional statistics show there are a declining number of students selecting computer science and technology related majors in college. That’s not a good mixture for these high paying jobs to have a declining interest. It is definitely a problem worth solving. Computer Mentors Group, Inc. (CMG) sees this as an opportunity and is answering the problem with several unique solutions to capture the minds of students early on, before they make their choices about college majors. They have several programs answering the over arching gap in technology access to students, including minorities, with their KidsCode Program, STEM Corps Programs, and Teen Business Challenge.
“We feel there is an opportunity to use technology to help struggling students maintain interest in school, increase academic proficiency, and develop the skills necessary to complete high school and then obtain employment and contribute back to the community.” Ralph Smith, Founder & Executive Director
CMG gets kids interested in computer technology and related STEM concepts, and more recently they have begun teaching students how to transition from being technology consumers to becoming creators, using technology through several unique programs.
This past year, CMG expanded their reach by introducing a middle-school learning initiative where students are introduced to robotics, computer controls and actual programming basics. In the KidsCode Program, CMG brings a cutting edge curriculum to teach middle-school students STEM concepts through programming. The program is 3-phase and covers 3 school semesters. It is designed to be a fun, engaging way for students to meet STEM requirements, learn the foundations of programming, as well as learn to use technology for problem solving techniques and strategies by applying STEM in real-world applications. The goal is an increase in conceptual and applicable knowledge in both math and language. With both in school and after school classes, the bold move into middle-school allows for more students to have access to the technology tools they will need today, and to build upon for their future.
In its STEM Corps Program, CMG mentors high-school students in technology projects, teaches them about emerging technologies, and even provides them with an industry standard MS Office certification through a 5-phase curriculum. This program is CMG’s Flagship program and has been in existence, in one form or another, since its inception in 1998.
Teen Business Challenge
With its annual entrepreneurial event, Teen Business Challenge, CMG brings a fun filled weekend event centered around creative thinking, collaboration and communication tied together with five challenges to get high-school students excited about entrepreneurship. The event is gamified, and teams compete on 5 challenges to win bragging rights, and technology products. In February 2014, 4 teams competed and all students were awarded iPad Minis.
Leading by Example
CMG doesn’t just look for new and emerging technologies to teach the students, they engage social media and crowd funding for themselves also to help raise awareness and donations. Visit their gofundme campaign to help them purchase iPads, or to find out more about Computer Mentors Group and the awesome work they are doing, visit them online at: (www.computermentors.com)