The Idaho Department of Labor estimates that over a thousand, high-paying jobs that require CS expertise are posted in the Boise metro area in a given four month period. While over 90 percent of Boise State CS graduates choose to stay and work in the Boise Metro area, Boise State currently graduates approximately 25 computer science graduates per year. A key factor in this relatively low graduation rate is the attrition rate of approximately 50% for incoming freshman who have declared CS as their major, with the vast majority of this attrition being due to zero exposure to CS principles at the high school level.
This proposal will increase the number of teachers prepared to teach CS, which will increase the number of CS courses at the high school level in the state of Idaho, particularly in the Boise Metro area, leading to an increase in the number of K-12 students exposed to CS in their high school careers. K-12 student exposure to CS will directly impact the number of students that are likely to select CS as a career, the number of students prepared to enroll in a CS degree program, leading to a significant increase in the number of CS graduates. We recognize the number of CS graduates as a pipeline issue. We anticipate that increased graduation rates will provide Idaho companies with a talented and steady stream of CS qualified employees, which will significantly strengthen the regional economy and will foster entrepreneurial activities and start-ups.
While IDoCode will significantly increase the number of teachers who are prepared to expose Idaho high school students to a curriculum that can lead to careers in computer science, it will also impact high school students who do not pursue a degree in computer science by exposing them to CS Principles. Thus a broad spectrum of students will benefit with CS knowledge for whatever career they pursue due to the increasing ubiquity of computing in some form in almost every occupational field.
Furthermore, we believe that it is important to encourage women and other minorities to take CS classes at an early age, and that by so doing we will be more effective at increasing the percentages of women and other minorities in choosing computer science at the college level. The expansion of the number of K-12 teachers prepared to teach CS will allow us to expand our outreach and recruiting efforts to involve visits to regional high schools, and utilize women and minority student volunteers to appeal to diverse populations. In addition, we will recruit people from the local high tech industries, to encourage women and other minorities to consider CS to improve the perception of CS as an attractive occupation in general.