CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - February 13, 2017) - The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) announced today it is expanding its Tech Challenge initiative, a programming and coding skills competition focused on developing tech talent, to high school students.
"As the future workforce and driving force of our nation's innovation, younger generations are seeing the importance of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education," said Trisha Degg, director talent programs at ITA.
STEM job growth has been increasing year over year and per the U.S. Department of Commerce, by 2018, STEM employment is projected to increase by 17%. In addition, STEM education creates problem solvers, increases creativity and helps prepare students for the world of work.
"Because of the deep importance of STEM and the opportunities it creates, we decided to expand our annual coding and programming challenge to high school students to practice and increase their skills," continued Degg. "For eight years, we have been growing and building our university level program. In 2016, we had nearly 800 students participate, the most in the history of the program. We felt the time was right to expand the program and engage with the next generation."
The first high school to agree to be part of the program is Chicago Tech Academy, a non-profit, 4-year school focused on increasing the number of minority and low-income students that pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in college and careers. Chicago Public School (CPS) is also supporting the program as it aligns with and bolsters a new computer science graduation requirement.
Interested high school students will have the opportunity to participate in the ITA High School Tech Challenge any time, and anywhere, between 9:00 a.m. on April 3, 2017, and 5:00 p.m. on April 14, 2017. A dedicated link with the coding questions will be sent to all registered participants. They will have a one-hour time limit and can choose a coding language they're most comfortable with.
The top 5 overall high school coders will each receive a $500 scholarship and be invited to the ITA's Tech Summit in May to be recognized. Students who are interested can register to receive reminders and other communication before the challenge opens.
High school teachers and administrators who are interested in promoting the challenge to their students should contact Trisha Degg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Illinois Technology Association
The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) scales Illinois tech companies. With innovative resources that connect members to the local tech ecosystem, build their talent networks and create visibility for their brands, ITA is growing the local tech community. Founded in 2005 and supporting 500+ growth and late stage tech companies, ITA has a rich history of driving business forward. For more information, visit illinoistech.org, follow @ITAbuzz on Twitter or find us on LinkedIn.