Gov. Phil Murphy has unveiled a computer-science-for-all state plan, and to go along with it he’s announced $2 million in grant money will be used to enhance computer science training and establish advanced computer science programs in 15 more high schools across the state.

During a visit to Bridgewater Raritan High School Monday, he said to strengthen efforts to develop New Jersey’s innovation economy, we must recognize “the need to ensure that every student has access to computer science education and that more school districts can similarly provide a greater challenge to their computer science students.”

The governor noted that last year, $2 million was awarded to 29 New Jersey school districts to further develop their computer science programs, and a computer science advisory board was convened to set the standards that would guide the expansion of future computer science efforts.

He said that has resulted in a 5-point computer science state plan that lays out strategic goals, including “establishing rigorous state-wide standards for computer science education in all grades to provide a framework for equitable access for all students to a K through 12 computer science program.”

Murphy said that under his plan, "we will set clear and achievable goals to deliver professional development and training for computer science for educators so we can grow and sustain K through 12 computer science programs.”

He also said a clear certification pathway will be established for computer science teachers, to increase the number of educators prepared to teach the subject.

“We are a money-ball, data driven, science driven administration, so we want to make sure we’re not making decisions based on a hunch, but our plan, as it evolves over the years, is based on facts," Murphy said.

Murphy said New Jersey must "close the gap" that sees New Jersey often unable to fill jobs that require STEM concepts and computer science skills.

“These are skills that are crucial to our economic future and to keep students here," he said.

More than 500,000 computing jobs remain unfilled in the United States, with more than 15,000 in the Garden State alone, the governor's office said in a news release.

"The starting salaries of the jobs that require at least some exposure to a computer science education average roughly $107 thousand per year," Murphy said.

According to the governor's office, the three Expanding Access to Computer Science grants are expected to be awarded by the spring of 2020.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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