City Launches Coding Effort To Educate Kids In Computer Sciences

By Joe Ward | December 22, 2016 8:13pm
Mayor Rahm Emanuel meets students of a coding program at Jane Adams Digital Learning Center, 1254 S. Loomis Ave.
DNAinfo/Joe Ward

WEST LOOP — To help prepare Chicago kids for jobs in the future economy, the city and its nonprofit partners have launched an extended effort to teach kids coding and other computer science skills. 

An extension of the national Computer Science Education Week, city agencies and education groups have created a 5-week, citywide program to teach kids and their families needed skills for the jobs of the future, city officials said Thursday.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said there are 600,000 open jobs in computer science and coding fields nationwide, and that the city is working to ensure its residents can meet the demand.

"... We want students and families around the city to know that this winter break doesn't have to be a break from learning," Emanuel said. "Chicago's students have already logged nearly 15,000 hours of coding in the last three weeks, which is a true testament to the power of Chicago Public Schools' computer science and STEM programs that are preparing students with the skills to compete and succeed in a 21st century economy."

Though it's only a five-week program, many of the efforts will be ramped up during CPS's winter break. During that time, the Chicago Housing Authority's 9 digital resource centers will be open to the public and offer free online coding challenges for kids and families. CPS high schools will host coding events and digital "challenges" will be held, officials said.

The list of all coding events can be found here.

"I can't think of a better way to end the year than by joining this citywide coding effort that is introducing youth in neighborhoods across the city to valuable 21st Century skills," said Eugene Jones Jr., CEO of Chicago Housing Authority.