Google.org — the charitable arm of Google — announced an $80,000 grant to Utah 4-H on Monday during a coding event for local middle school students from Davis County and Salt Lake County. The new grant will help increase the reach of computer science education for students across the state — including in rural counties, where resources aren’t as readily available.
Utah, a state with a booming tech industry, is one of four states chosen to lead the development of a new national 4-H computer science curriculum. At Monday’s event, 4-H showcased the first installment of the computer science curriculum created by Utah State University on CLOVER by 4-H — a new e-learning platform with activities spanning STEM, emotional well-being, financial literacy, career readiness, and more. With support from Google funding, Utah 4-H will help bring even more CS education to young people with a collection of free CLOVER activities ranging from computer basics to augmented reality.
Local middle school students participated in Monday’s event at the Utah State University Botanical Center 4-H Clubhouse, where they learned basic coding skills. Local elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Blake Moore, offered their support for this program:
“Between Silicon Slopes and Utah’s strong agricultural community, a solid foundation in STEM and computer science will be key to filling the jobs of tomorrow,” Moore said. “We are grateful to Google and 4-H for their commitment to computer science education in Utah. By investing in our students today, we are ensuring that Utah remains a leader in the tech industry for years to come.”
According to the 2022 State of Computer Science Education from Code.org, 91 percent of Utah high school students attend a school that offers foundational computer science, but only 10 percent of students are enrolled in a computer science course. In 2022, Utah averaged 7,549 open computing jobs each month, with an average salary of $85,899, yet the state had only 1,349 graduates in computer science in 2019.
“As the nation’s largest youth development organization with research-backed curricula from land-grant universities, Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program is uniquely positioned to prepare young people for the careers of tomorrow,” said Dave Francis, Youth Development Director, Utah State University Cooperative Extension. “We are grateful to Google.org for this investment which will increase our capacity to deliver high-impact CS programming in Utah and on CLOVER, creating life-changing career pathways for more students.”
In 2022, Google.org announced a $5 million grant to the National 4-H Council to extend CS education access to six million 4-H’ers across the country. In Utah, this new funding will help continue and expand previous work related to CS and computational thinking skills.
“Google is committed to creating pathways for students to explore their interest in computer science education, regardless of their socioeconomic status, background, race or geographic location,” said Google Public Affairs Manager MJ Henshaw, a native of Utah. “We are proud to support 4-H and advance these types of critical opportunities in Utah and allow the next generation of coders to begin developing the skills that will serve them well into the future.”
»Related: Google.org awards $5M to 4-H to widen computer science access