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Google.org awards $5M to 4-H to widen computer science access

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Today, National 4-H Council announced a $5 million grant from Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, to expand computer science skills and education to underserved youth across the country.

The grant will continue to build upon Google.org’s longtime support of computer science in 4-H, which has reached 1.4 million students since 2017. With this funding, 4-H aims to expand computer science skills and education access to millions of youth in rural and underserved communities across the country including girls and those with racially diverse backgrounds. 

Changemakers
Image courtesy of National 4-H Council

The new grant will help teach young people through Cooperative Extension’s in-person 4-H programs and online resources. These resources will provide access to computer science education to youth nationwide, including six million 4-H’ers and more than 3,500 educators across the 4-H system anytime and anywhere.

This effort combines the reach and educational expertise of 4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, and the power of Google’s computer science knowledge and innovation. Since its start, 1.4 million youth have participated in the program, with 65 percent living rurally, 56 percent of teen CS leaders being girls, and 47 percent coming from racially diverse backgrounds.

“Despite the demand for high-skilled computer science professionals, opportunities to access this education has been out of reach for youth from rural and other underserved communities,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO of the National 4-H Council. “We are proud to continue this initiative with help from Google.org to make a real difference in the lives of young people who otherwise wouldn’t be given a chance to discover their interest in computer science. This program goes beyond preparing youth for future careers. Teaching computer science at a young age develops problem-solving skills and confidence, and most importantly, empowers young people to find their spark and passion that translates to success in life.”

The Code.org Advocacy Coalition’s 2021 State of Computer Science Education report found that while 51 percent of public high schools in the United States offer computer science, rural schools, urban schools, and schools with high percentages of economically disadvantaged students are less likely to offer CS education. What’s more, Black, Hispanic, and Native American students are less likely to attend schools offering CS courses than white students. 

Delivering free computer science education to underserved communities is part of 4-H’s mission to provide equitable access to skills that help young people create opportunity and maximize their potential. The program also offers training and capacity-building for educators, volunteers, professionals, and even teen leaders to create their own curricula and reach more youth.

“We believe Google and other companies have a responsibility to help people get the skills they need to get a good job, start a new business, and provide a solid foundation for their families — no matter what their age or where they live,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google & Alphabet. “Computer science education is an important piece of this, and we look forward to working with our partners like 4-H to unleash the talent and drive of millions of people in communities across the US.”

This is the third grant Google.org has made in 4-H’s mission to reach and provide young people with opportunities in computer science education, totaling nearly $14 million since 2017. Google’s support will expand existing and bring new CS education programs to communities across Iowa, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Nebraska, and West Virginia.

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