$5 million Google.org grant helps young people in South Carolina get online


Ashley Burns, SC 4-H Assistant Director of Youth Development, works with a student on a computer activity.

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Young people in rural and underserved communities in South Carolina can now get connected — to technology, resources and training — thanks to a $5 million grant from Google.org to the National 4-H Council.

The grant aims to develop the computer skills and education of underserved youth across the country and leverages support from Google.org, which is the philanthropic arm of Google, computer science in 4-H which has reached 1.4 million students since 2017.

“In South Carolina, we are thrilled to continue supporting this great effort and appreciate the opportunity the National 4-H Council and Google have provided,” said Ashley Burns, 4-H Assistant Director of Youth Development. SC.

Computer skills (CS) are key to sparking interest in STEM and promoting the workforce development skills that all young people need, Burns said.

And SC 4-H has extensive experience in this area, with previous and ongoing work related to computer science and computational thinking skills, including the 4-H Journey to Mars program, independent computer science activities, the professional development and the 4-H Engineering Challenge.

This is the third grant awarded by Google.org as part of 4-H’s mission to reach and provide youth with opportunities in computer science education, totaling nearly $14 million. since 2017.

“To date, we have served over 3,000 young people with our programs,” Burns said. “We look forward to making the most of this investment by continuing and expanding CS programming efforts and engaging with the new National 4-H Summit, Clover and PYD Academy experiences.”

With this new funding from Google, 4-H will expand the reach of the Computer Science Career Pathways program for students from rural and disadvantaged communities who have completed minimal computer training.

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

This effort combines the reach and educational expertise of 4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, and the power of computing knowledge and innovation from Google. Since its launch, 1.4 million young people have participated in the program, 65% of whom live in rural areas, 56% of CS teen leaders are girls and 47% are from racially diverse backgrounds.

Despite the demand for highly skilled IT professionals, opportunities to access this training are out of reach for young people in rural and other underserved communities, said Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO of the National Council of 4-H.

“We are proud to continue this initiative with the help of Google.org to make a real difference in the lives of young people who otherwise would not have had the chance to discover their interest in computing. This program goes to the beyond preparing young people for future careers, teaching computer science at a young age develops problem-solving skills and confidence, and most importantly, allows young people to find their spark and passion that translates through success in life,” she said.

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

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

“We believe that Google and other companies have a responsibility to help people learn the skills they need to find a good job, start a new business, and provide a strong foundation for their families, regardless of age. or where they live,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet. “Computer science education is an important part of that, and we look forward to working with our partners like 4-H to unlock the talent and motivation of millions of people in communities across the United States.”

With this new funding from Google, 4-H will expand the reach of the Computer Science Career Pathways program for students from rural and disadvantaged communities who have completed minimal computer training.

This is the third grant awarded by Google.org as part of 4-H’s mission to reach and provide opportunities for young people in computer science education, totaling nearly $14 million since 2017. Google’s support will expand existing computer science education programs and bring new ones to Iowa communities. , North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Nebraska and West Virginia. Learn more about the original grant that established the 4-H CS Pathway in 23 states.

4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, trains confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for the careers of tomorrow. 4-H programs empower nearly 6 million young people across the United States through experiences that build essential life skills.

4-H is our nation’s Cooperative Extension System and USDA youth development program and serves every county and parish in the United States through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3,000 local extension offices , including all 46 South Carolina counties. Globally, 4-H works with independent programs to empower one million young people in 50 countries.

The research-backed 4-H experience grows youth who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities, twice as likely to make healthier choices, twice as likely to be civically active, and twice as likely to participate in STEM programs. Learn more about 4-H at 4-H.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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