Cal State Schools Launch Ambitious Initiative to Close Diversity Gap in Tech
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Two California State University system campuses today announced an ambitious initiative, in partnership with nonprofit CodePath.org, to align computer science coursework with the evolving demands of California employers and expand the pipeline of computer science graduates of color who land jobs in tech.
California currently has more than 220,000 unfilled software development job openings, and the occupation is expected to grow by about 40 percent over the next decade. As employers struggle to find local talent, researchers predict that the labor shortage may stunt economic growth. Through their new initiative, the CSU Monterey Bay and Dominguez Hills campuses will offer CodePath.org's industry-aligned software engineering courses, built in concert with the state's top tech employers, as part of their core computer science programs.
"Traditional college computer science programs weren't built to keep up with the tech industry's breakneck speed of innovation. CodePath.org's courses are a model for how we can scale industry-relevant coding education at multiple campuses without reinventing the wheel each time," said Sathya Narayanan, Professor of Computer Science at CSU Monterey Bay. "By bringing recruiters, engineerig departments, and higher ed to the table, we're building a system that layers our faculty's existing expertise with high-impact training in fast-growing fields like cybersecurity and iOS development."
CodePath.org builds coding courses in collaboration with the industry's top engineers, and partners with campuses across the country to embed them in existing computer science programs. In addition to offering rigorously tested curricula, CodePath's team of engineers provide grading, personalized content support, and one-on-one mentorship to all participating students, working to break down barriers to the tech industry for students from underrepresented backgrounds.
CSU Monterey Bay, where more than 40 percent of students are Hispanic and a third are low-income, now includes CodePath.org's iOS development and cybersecurity courses for credit. At Dominguez Hills, CodePath's program was the first iOS mobile development course offered on their campus.
Data from a recent CodePath.org cohort found that students, 70 percent of whom were women or underrepresented minorities, were approximately three times more likely to receive a technical job offer after completing the program than if they had applied through companies' standard recruiting process.
"We saw an opportunity to complement our existing computer science curriculum with courses that teach the cutting-edge software engineering and app development skills employers want," said Mohsen Beheshti, chair of the computer science department at CSU Dominguez Hills. "This partnership is helping faculty to update their practice and providing our engineering talent with the tools to compete for tech jobs with graduates of the top programs."
As an official technical training partner to the CSU campuses and a growing number of institutions, CodePath.org has trained more than 4,000 developers at more than 800 technology companies, including Microsoft, Facebook, and Airbnb, since 2013.
"We have been blown away by the talent we have seen come out of the CSU programs, and have been thrilled to watch participants beat out graduates from top-10 programs to land some of the industry's most coveted internships and jobs," said Michael Ellison, founder of CodePath.org. "These students have always had the potential to excel in tech--they just needed access to tools for success. By bringing industry-relevant, personalized instruction to these campuses, we have shown that the California State University system is harboring a tremendous wealth of programming talent."
About California State University Monterey Bay: California State University, Monterey Bay provides more than 7,600 students an extraordinary opportunity to learn on a residential campus on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. Our diverse student body receives personal attention in small classes while pursing degrees in 25 undergraduate and nine graduate majors. Founded in 1994 on the former site of Fort Ord by educators and community leaders, CSUMB faculty and staff build on that legacy as we explore innovative ways to meet the needs of a new generation of students while simultaneously powering the Monterey County economy.
About CodePath.org: CodePath.org is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit transforming computer science education for underrepresented minorities at over 30 colleges and universities, doubling in size every semester. Working closely with major technology companies like Facebook, CodePath.org is changing what is being taught and how it is being taught in CS programs nationwide to increase diversity in tech using a system-wide solution.
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