Sunday, July 26, 2015

Win-Win Rocks!

Connections make it happen
There is a grass roots movement occurring to build pathways to Tech Education for Middle Tennessee's children.  I have been involved with the tech community for 4 years and there has always been a wish to see ways opened to help students, especially poverty students, move into these lucrative jobs.  There were various camps held by different user groups which were funded by volunteers.  Each of the camps would serve 20 or so children.  They wanted to make a difference but the work was just a drop in the bucket compared to the 90.000 students in MNPS alone and many more in other counties, private schools and home school groups.

Lately I have noticed this trend gaining momentum.  Part of the change is due to the grants given by government to bolster Tech Ed.  There are groups like the Nashville Technology Council that are identifying the resources and needs in the area of tech education.  There are some innovative programs that have been adopted  by governmental entities such as the Nashville Public Library and Rutherford County Schools.

I was delighted last week to hear about the work Kandy Powers put into implementing a coding program in in ESP, the Rutherford County after care program.  Her programs requires a team of people working in tandem to create needed resources.  She partnered with the Nashville Technology Council, the local branch of United Way, TCAT Murfreesboro, Beth Duffield from the Rutherford County Chamber, and others to bring her programs to life.  She is a fantastic connector and deserves to be celebrated.

I am including an interview from WGNS last week with Bryan Barrett, Representative Mike Sparks,  Beth Duffield,  Kandy Powers and me so you can hear directly from these change agents about the programs they are implementing in their county.  Follow the link below to reach the page for a recording of this broadcast.

Two of the candidates for mayor would like to create similar programs in Nashville.  I have spoken to  Bill Freeman and Charles Robert Bone.  Both men have a plan to implement a program similar to the one Ms. Powers runs in Rutherford County.  I am excited to see these pathways open here.  The next step would see these pathways open in our regular public schools so children can learn about coding early in their education instead of waiting until upper middle school.  We also need to make the opportunities more widely available.  Currently only a few schools offer coding and the entire public school population is not served in after school programs.

So today I am celebrating progress and waiting for more.  There are so many tech jobs opening here in Nashville.  We have the potential to become a video gaming hub.  Talk about a dream job!  We need to get kids ready so they can create the next great game, social media experiment, and/or app.  When we do help them gain these skills the course of their lives and the affluence of our community will improve.  I love win win opportunities.  Don't you?

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