PHOENIX — A new education program designed to encourage high school students to pursue a career in computer science could be implemented in Valley schools as early as this upcoming school year.
The program, called Microsoft TEALS — Technology, Education and Literacy in Schools — aims to get high school students interested in technology-related career fields.
The TEALS program, which was placed in partner schools in 18 states this past school year, relies on the help of local volunteers with computer science degrees to educate students within their communities.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said he encourages local computer scientists to take time from their day and spend time educating students.
He said fewer U.S. students are graduating with computer science degrees compared to other nations around the world.
Annually, 80,000 job positions requiring a computer science degree are left vacant by domestic workers, according to the TEALS website. By 2018, there are projected to be approximately 1.5 computer science-related jobs nationwide, just 29 percent of which will be filled by U.S. college graduates.
Stanton said he hopes there will be enough interest to start placing professionals in high schools as early as this upcoming school year.
According to the TEALS website, several BASIS schools around the Valley have either applied or have been accepted for a TEALS partnership for the 2015-2016 school year.
The program could encourage kids from all walks of life to become the engineers and tech experts of the future, Stanton said.
“By getting successful computer scientists into schools for a full semester — not just come in for an hour-long visit, but really spend time with the kids — they can see that they too can be a successful computer scientist,” he said.
KTAR News’ Martha Maurer contributed to this report.