Inspiring Students is the Goal of goIT Program

BUFFALO - The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 4.4 million jobs will require computer science and information technology skills by 2024, due to the increase in growth of mobile technology, cloud computing and big data.

The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and the Wyoming Department of Education have teamed up with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to address these needs. The partnership, called goIT, ramps up the week of Oct. 8 with teacher training and a student competition. TCS pioneered the goIT program with the goal of demystifying computer science to help students gain the skills and confidence required to pursue STEM degrees.

The program has gotten off to a fast start and will be piloted by Johnson County School District #1 and will be rolled out across the state over the next year. To assist with that, the Department of Education and TCS are hosting a goIT training Oct. 8-10 at Clear Creek Middle School in Buffalo.

The current workforce is limited by a shortage of workers and recent graduates with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) degrees. Primary schools that teach coding are rare, leaving a gap in students' educations that make it difficult to pursue STEM studies in college.

The goIT program was developed to address the workforce shortages in this area. The program is an experimental, immersive initiative for middle school students to get hands-on education in design thinking, mobile app development and mentorship from TCS employee volunteers. The students work in teams to identify problems, generate solutions through the design thinking process and then present their work to peers and judges.

Since its launch in 2009, goIT has touched more than 10,000 students in more than 100 school districts, and 70 percent of goIT students say they're more interested in STEM fields after experiencing the program. In Wyoming, goIT has been introduced in the Johnson County school district, where it is currently in its first year.

Teacher training will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 8, and students will participate in a two-day goIT app building competition on Oct. 9 and 10. There will be approximately 315 students and 39 teachers participating.

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