BYRON, Minn. – Byron High School is the newest recipient of the Amazon Future Engineer Program. The program gives funding to schools, in this case, to offer a new, Advanced Placement (AP) computer science course.
The funding doesn’t bring in new computers or teachers, but rather new knowledge. It trains a teacher at the school to teach a curriculum on computer science. Principal Steve Willman sees the training as the key to success.
“If you have the right person, with the right training, in the right position, in front of the right kids, there's power in that. And I think we're going to have that for next year,” Willman said.
Students are also excited. Ben Deyle is a junior at the school interested in technology and says he’s already considering taking the course the program will offer.
“I think it would give me a lot of experience to know some of the stuff before going in to get a major in it, then go to a job,” he said.
And he’s not wrong. According to Amazon, kids who take computer science courses in high school are eight times more likely to continue the subject in college. This can help for future jobs.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020 there will be about 1.4 million computer science-related jobs available.
“Technology can drive a lot of things that make the world a better place. So, understanding that and being able to utilize those skills and talents will be absolutely essential and valuable for those kids involved in it,” Willman said.
The new class is expected to start next fall.