Lipinski Announces Over One Million Dollar Federal Grant to Local Partnership Working to Improve Access to Computer Science Education

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) has announced that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded an over one-million-dollar grant to a local educational partnership of academic institutions and organizations from the Chicago area for the purpose of ensuring that all Chicago Public School (CPS) students have access to inclusive, high-quality, introductory computer science education in high school.

About a decade ago, a partnership began forming in Chicago around the common goal of providing all CPS high school students access to meaningful and engaging computer science instruction.  This collaboration ? the Chicago Alliance For Equity in Computer Science (CAFECS) ? includes The Learning Partnership from Western Springs, DePaul University, Loyola University of Chicago, CPS, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

CPS, the third largest school district in the nation, requires all students starting high school this year or later to complete a computer science (CS) course.  CAFECS will ensure that CPS provides sufficient support to teachers and holds all schools accountable for offering high-quality CS across the entire district.  CAFECS will empower at least 25,000 young people with the foundational practices of computer science.

“I believe it is among the most important steps we can take to ensure that America remains the most technologically innovative country in the world and our young people receive an education that will allow them to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow,” said Rep. Lipinski.  “I would especially like to thank The Learning Partnership for their hard work, and for being yet another small business success story in the Third Congressional District.  As a former teacher, one of only a dozen engineers in Congress, and co-chair of the House STEM Education Caucus, I continue to be a strong advocate for improving computer science education at all levels.”

On the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Lipinski is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology, which oversees the National Science Foundation and STEM education programs, and also sits on the Subcommittees on Energy and Space. 

Yesterday, Dr. Steven McGee, founder of The Learning Partnership, was a featured speaker at a special Science, Space, and Technology Committee roundtable on STEM education and computer science.

“According to a recent study, there are over half a million open computing jobs nationwide, representing significant untapped economic value,” stated Lipinski in his introduction of McGee.  “Without action, this gap is likely to widen as our use of technology grows and we discover new ways for computers to enhance our lives.  One way to close the workforce gap is to make computer science education a regular part of school curricula, alongside subjects like math, English, and social studies.  I’m proud to say that’s exactly what Dr. McGee from my district is working to do.”

When he was chairman of the Research Subcommittee, Congressman Lipinski wrote the bill reauthorizing the National Science Foundation (NSF).  He was also a member of the House-Senate Conference Committee that completed work on the America COMPETES Act, a response to a National Academies report warning that America must take action if it wants to maintain its place as the world’s scientific and technological leader.