CHESAPEAKE, Va. - These days, it seems like many people can't live without computers. Yet despite our increasingly digital world, there's a big need for industry-qualified professionals.
For example, Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that by 2021, the world could face a shortage of 3.5 million experts in the field. Chesapeake Public Schools is hoping to do their part to change those numbers.
Lori Martin, Chesapeake Public Schools' STEAM and CTE Coordinator, said, "[Our goal] is to increase the number of students taking computer science courses."
She said since 2018, the district has been working to add computer science classes and opportunities for students. They have received support from Superintendent Jared Cotton as well as the state.
"We really want to increase the number of students who select computer science as a major, and then they actually stay in Virginia and work and come back and [then that will] kinda address the workforce and technology crisis that we see coming," Martin said.
With money from a GoVirginia grant, next year middle schoolers will have the chance to take three new technology-based electives. The curriculum is still being developed, but they will likely focus on coding, robotics, software programming and more.
"The main thing is to let kids see there are so many different job opportunities they can do with computer science - it's not just sitting behind a computer," Martin said.
Martin is also taking things outside of the classroom. She's working with local businesses to create an internship program for students.
"I've had an overwhelming response of businesses in Hampton Roads that are really seeing the need, and they really want to partner with us," she said. "I think having kids being able to have an internship with these businesses will really give the businesses a way to get a lead on talent that's out there."
Interested businesses can contact Martin at the Career and Technical Education Instructional Services Center at 757-547-1098.
Any parents who want to learn more about the new classes or internship program can attend Thursday's webinar hosted by Martin.