Partnership With Girls Who Code Aims to Attract Women to STEM Fields, Boost Computer Science Workforce Development
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan yesterday hosted the first-ever Governor’s Coding Challenge at Bowie State University in Bowie, Md. The event was held in partnership with Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology fields. The governor was joined by Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, Bowie State University President Dr. Aminta Breaux, and Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford served as a judge for the final coding challenge, along with Secretary Schulz and Corinne Roller, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at Girls Who Code.
Over 100 middle- and high school-aged girls interested in coding and technology participated in the event, assisted by Bowie State student mentors and staff members from the governor’s office and Maryland state agencies. Event sponsors included Applied Information Technology, Inc., CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Catalyte, Creatrix, Cyber Security Association of Maryland, Inc., Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, InfoTek, Maryland Apprenticeship 2.0, Maryland Governor’s Workforce Development Board, Ocean Riders Engineering, NetVision Consultants, and Resolute Technologies.
“I want to thank Girls Who Code for partnering with us to make this incredible event possible,” said Governor Hogan. “I first met the Girls Who Code organization when I attended one of their impressive hackathon events last summer, and they became the inspiration for our administration’s ACCESS initiative, which aims to get Maryland students interested in computer science at a younger age. We specifically want to do everything we can to get more girls involved in STEM and to close the gender gap in science and technology fields.”
Just last week, the Maryland State Board of Education approved a new set of standards designed to further strengthen computer science education in the state. The new standards integrate technology education throughout each grade level, and are designed to be specific, measurable, and include performance expectations. The standards, starting in kindergarten and progressing through high school, align to the national K-12 Computer Science Standards approved by the Computer Science Teachers Association last year.
The governor introduced legislation this past session to require new standards for computer science education and signed an executive order last year which declared computer science education a priority in Maryland public schools. The governor also signed legislation which provides more than $5 million in new funding for computer science education with a focus on closing the gender gap in schools across Maryland.
The Girls Who Code clubs are free after-school programs that allow 6th-through 12th-grade girls to use computer science to impact their communities alongside supportive peers and role models. There are currently more than 80 Girls Who Code clubs in Maryland.