Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Microsoft Philanthropies are each pledging $250,000 to expand the Technology Education and Literacy in Schools program to 25 more Milwaukee area schools over the next three years.
Microsoft’s TEALS works to build and grow sustainable computer science programs in schools by pairing computer science professional volunteers with teachers to team-teach computer science. It’s currently offered at 13 Wisconsin schools, three of which are in Milwaukee.
The new funds will allow the program expand to seven schools in 2018-19 and to 25 schools over the next three years.
“It is more important than ever for children in Milwaukee to be prepared for the jobs of the future,” Abele said. “Computer science is a vital and inevitable driver in today’s global innovation economy and our students need to be able to lead the way.”
The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce Community Support Foundation, the program’s fiscal agent and sponsor, will help recruit talent to serve in the classroom and recruit schools to participate, according to a MMAC announcement.
“Almost every industry is seeing an increased need for computer science competencies,” said MMAC president Tim Sheehy. “A strong talent base positions the region to embrace new opportunities for growth. MMAC is proud to play a role in supporting TEALS.”
Since launching in one school in 2009, the TEALS program is now in 350 schools in 29 states, working with 12,000 students. It’s aimed at building a pipeline to fill a growing need for computer science workers. Nationally, there are nearly 550,000 open computer science positions and jobs in that sector are expected to grow at twice the rate of all other jobs, according to the MMAC.
The program was first brought to Wisconsin with funding from Milwaukee Institute, Milwaukee-based startup accelerator gener8tor, Thrivent Financial and Schneider National. TEALS volunteers in Milwaukee come from local companies, including Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Corp.
TEALS is recruiting 30 industry volunteers to co-teach with TEALS at several Milwaukee schools, including Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Hmong American Peace Academy, Messmer High School, St. Augustine Preparatory Academy, St. Thomas More High School, Tenor High School and Veritas High School.
More information is available at tealsk12.org/volunteers.