HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The C Spire Foundation announced a $1 million commitment Thursday to help implement computer science programs in Mississippi school districts.
The Mississippi Legislature reconvened this week and is expected to consider legislation to give students equal access to computer science curriculum in the classroom.
C Spire backed an effort to pass the legislation last year. After the bill passed the House in March, the effort was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But lawmakers’ allocation of $200 million for school districts to purchase computers and other devices for distance learning provided a boost to the effort, according to C Spire.
“Now more than ever, we need to be equipping all of our children to master the digital tools of the 21st century and providing them with educational opportunities to hone their knowledge and skills on the building blocks of meaningful and relevant learning that will form the foundation of our state’s economic future,” said C Spire president and CEO Hu Meena.
Meena believes expanding access to computer science in public schools will create more job opportunities for students graduating from Mississippi schools.
Workers with a background in computer science are in high demand and short supply in the state, with more than 1,475 jobs currently unfilled. The average salary for these positions is almost double the statewide average.
“In all our efforts, our goal is to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve and help students achieve their dreams of success through STEM-related educational initiatives,” said Foundation Executive Director Beth C. Pickering.
“C Spire looks forward to working with Gov. Tate Reeves, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and Speaker Philip Gunn, as well as the entire Mississippi House and Senate, in providing equal access to computer science education for all children in our state,” Meena said.
You can learn more about the effort or get involved by texting FUTURE to 50457 or go to ourMSfuture.com.