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Unable to Find Enough American Developers, Microsoft Invests in Education


Microsoft's volunteer computer science programs are preparing our nation's youth to get jobs in the tech industry.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL I think everybody needs to cut Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) some slack.

Since the late '90s the company has been thought of as a monopolizing bully in the tech world, and even now it lacks a positive brand image despite Bill Gates' outstanding record of philanthropy. However, this may change soon, as Microsoft's efforts to teach young Americans computer science is finally getting noticed by major media outlets.

Yesterday, the New York Times featured an article on a Microsoft program called TEALs, or Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, which is designed to encourage Microsoft staff members to volunteer their time at schools to help teach students computer science. The program was started by Microsoft employee Kevin Wang who, without Microsoft's initial involvement, became a volunteer computer science teacher, working mornings before he started his day in the office. Executives from the software company found out about Wang's good deeds and decided to give Wang the financing he'd need to launch a full-time computer science education project.

Now the program has 110 teachers, the vast majority of which are Microsoft employees, and is run in schools across multiple states. The teachers of the program are given a stipend to commit to teaching a computer science class for a full school year. These classes, which can run from two to five hours, are usually held in the early morning so that Microsoft's employees can still work regular office hours.

Although this campaign is run on the goodwill of Microsoft's staff, the company is hoping its altruism will help the staffing concerns that tech industry has been facing lately. According to an analysis by the Association for Computing Machinery, 150,000 computing jobs are expected to open up each year through 2020, but fewer American students are pursuing degrees in computer science.

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