GREENVILLE, S.C. — Google.org announced a $150K grant to South Carolina 4-H on Thursday during a coding event for local middle school students in Greenville as part of a statewide effort to help expand access to computer science (CS) education in the state.
With the new funding from Google.org, the company’s philanthropy, 4-H will increase the reach of the CS Career Pathway program for students in the state by 20%, from 57,000 to around 70,000 students. As a result, young people across the state will now have expanded access to CS education through Clemson University Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program and the e-learning platform CLOVER by 4-H.
Students at Berea Middle School participated in Thursday’s event, during which they learned basic coding skills and heard remarks from U.S. Rep. William Timmons of Greenville about the importance of computer science education.
“South Carolina and the Upstate have seen a growing demand for computer science jobs, making it essential that we provide access and encouragement for K-12 students to pursue this important field,” said U.S. Rep. William Timmons of Greenville. “I am thrilled to see that Google has partnered with 4-H to provide greater access to computer science education in our state, setting these students up for growth and giving them the tools they need to succeed.”
According to the 2022 State of Computer Science Education from Code.org, 96% of South Carolina high school students attend a school that offers foundational computer science, yet only 26% of students are enrolled in a computer science course. In 2022, South Carolina averaged 6,349 open computing jobs each month, with an average salary of $77,383, yet the state had only 806 graduates in computer science in 2019.
“By creating opportunities for all young people regardless of circumstance, Clemson Extension and 4-H play a vital role in preparing today’s youth for the careers of tomorrow,” said Ashley Burns, 4-H Youth Development Program Team Director, Clemson University Cooperative Extension. “Google.org’s investment in the 4-H CS Pathway Program has greatly increased our capacity to deliver high-impact CS programming across the state, setting students on a trajectory to unlock their potential and thrive.”
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 South Carolina, 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 MJ Henshaw, Google Public Affairs Manager. “We are proud to partner with 4-H to advance these types of critical opportunities in South Carolina and allow the next generation of coders to begin developing the skills that will serve them well into the future.”
Google.org has supported 4-H to expand access to CS education since 2017. In 2020, the National 4-H Council and Google.org grant funded South Carolina 4-H’s Journey to Mars, a program that equips youth with foundational computational thinking skills they need to lead, innovate, and problem-solve. The Journey to Mars program has reached over 3,200 youth in South Carolina, predominantly through web-based delivery.
About Google in South Carolina
Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Google has proudly called South Carolina home for more than a decade with a data center in Berkeley County. In South Carolina, Grow with Google has partnered with 144 organizations to train more than 149,000 South Carolinians on digital skills, including public libraries, chambers of commerce, and more.
4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for careers tomorrow. 4-H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4-H is the youth development program of our nation’s Cooperative Extension System and USDA and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4-H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4-H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. Learn more about 4‑H at 4-H.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
About Clemson University Cooperative Extension
Clemson Extension helps improve the quality of life of all South Carolinians by providing unbiased, research-based information through an array of public outreach programs in youth development; agribusiness; agriculture; food, nutrition and health; and natural resources. With offices in all 46 counties of the state, Extension works to help support South Carolina’s $51.8 billion agriculture and forestry industries; strengthen families and communities; improve stewardship of natural resources and the environment; strengthen connections between people and their food; and expose South Carolina youth to opportunities in agriculture, science, technology, engineering and math.
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