LITTLE ROCK - In Arkansas, we have a high-tech wind at our back. We are becoming a microhub for technology companies and entrepreneurs.
The difference between what was happening in our state two years ago and now is like the difference between a Commodore 64 computer and the latest smart phone.
Teachers around the state have seized the opportunity to learn computer coding so that they can teach it in the classroom. Our students understand that computer science opens a world of opportunities and can lead to a great-paying and satisfying career. Since the launch of my Computer Coding Initiative in 2015, enrollment in computer-coding classes has increased by 400 percent. The classes are so popular that some schools now have a waiting list.
Today, teachers have opportunities that didn’t exist before we started our push for computer science education; we are giving them the training and the resources to push their students to excel in computer science.
Companies are moving to Arkansas because their leaders recognize that we are creating a computer-savvy workforce. National publications like Wired and StateScoop have written that Arkansas is a leader in promoting computer science in education.
This week, Arkansas took another big step forward with the launch of our new website – ArTechJobs.com. ArTechJobs is a one-stop employment shop. As of today, more than 50 companies have posted openings for nearly 150 technology jobs.
This addition to our high-tech portfolio will make it easy for employers to find high-quality employees. ArTechJobs is the brainchild of the ARCodeKids non-profit and the Information Network of Arkansas Board, which created the website at no cost to the state.
It is gratifying to see enthusiastic people at so many levels catch the vision and build the foundation that is attracting young people into computer science at a phenomenal pace.
Arkansas was the first state to require computer coding instruction in all public high schools, and now we are the first state with a website to match employers with potential employees.
Next week, I will hit the road for my fifth computer coding tour. The seven high schools on our itinerary are Harrison, Alpena, Green Forest, Beebe, Forrest City, Lakeside and Hot Springs.
In the first eight months of 2017, not only have we sponsored two coding tours and launched the website, ArTechJobs.com, we also became the sixth state to connect 100 percent of its school systems to high-speed broadband internet. Stay tuned for more high-tech news as Arkansas steps up to meet high-tech challenges of the future.