Gov Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark) on the Critical Need to Fund STEM Education

Gov Asa Hutchinson is interviewed by "The Hill" editor, Bob Cusack, during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland

From the Republican National Convention in Cleveland:  During a discussion hosted by The Hill Newspaper and Microsoft, Arkansas Gov Asa Hutchinson made the case for the critical need to fund STEM education in American schools.  [STEM is short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.]

Gov Asa Hutchinson is interviewed by "The Hill" editor, Bob Cusack, during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland
Gov Asa Hutchinson is interviewed by “The Hill” editor, Bob Cusack, during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland

Gov Hutchinson noted the growing number of jobs that are often difficult to fill in many areas due to the lack of qualified American workers with the proper skills.

He noted the great number of jobs now available to those who have the skills to code computer language, and that it is not an overwhelming task to learn.

The governor noted his 11 year old granddaughter had learned enough computer code to create his campaign’s phone app.

James Brown, Executive Director of the STEM Education Coalition
James Brown, Executive Director of the STEM Education Coalition

To facilitate the learning, Gov Hutchinson argued that computer science should be made a mandatory part of high school curriculum, which he has accomplished in Arkansas.  It was also noted as part of the discussion, that if American workers are unable to fill these jobs, American firms will be forced to seek these tasks from foreign firms.

Others spoke of the ongoing effort to get funding for STEM education at the Federal and State levels.  Jame Brown, of the STEM Coalition, said his organization operates with over 600 partners nationwide, to educate lawmakers on the need for America to increase funding for these critical areas of the economy, if America is to remain competitive in the future of the world economy.

Lauren Holloway, of "We Can Code IT"
Lauren Holloway, of “We Can Code IT”

Lauren Holloway, works with “We Code Can Code IT” which works to train workers in learning how to understand computer code and then gain new jobs.  Her organization, based in Cleveland, will work with anyone wishing to have their career move into a new area, but she says they have a particular outreach to those in the minority community and women looking to increase their incomes.  The course they offer cost a minimum of $10,000, which is costly, but far less than the cost of one year at an average institution of higher education.

The course they offer can be completed by a full-time student in just 12 weeks, or in 22 weeks — about six months — if a student takes the course work on a part-time basis.  Holloway says it is not unusual for students, who were working at jobs, with incomes in the mid-30 thousand dollar range, to get positions after graduation that will double their incomes.

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