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Gov. Otter approves of Trump's STEM, computer science initiative

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On Monday, Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter sent out a press release announcing his support for President Donald Trump signing a new memorandum directing the U.S. Department of Education to expand access to STEM and computer science programs.

“This initiative championed by the President and his daughter Ivanka aligns with and supports Idaho’s own efforts to improve our focus on science, technology, engineering and math education, as well as computer science, in order to build the kind of workforce that employers want and our economy needs,” Governor Otter said in the press release. “My higher education and workforce development task force’s both concluded that STEM education and computer science need to play bigger roles in Idaho’s K-through-Career education and training system.”

The governor says Idaho has almost 5,300 job openings that aren't being filled because there aren't enough qualified workers. Otter says many of the jobs require technical education that STEM programs provide.

The governor, citing data from code.org, says that Idaho's universities only had 333 graduates with computer science degrees in 2015.

Otter praised the efforts of the newly created STEM Action Center and his own Computer Science Initiative that have provided new development opportunities.

“The Governor’s STEM Action Center is pleased to be leading this effort by providing Idaho educators with the tools and skills they need to successfully prepare student learning experiences to meet the demands of our growing and changing economy,” said Angela Hemingway, executive director of the Idaho STEM Action Center in the press release. “Idaho employers are demanding a STEM-skilled workforce, and efforts such as those announced by the White House and Idaho’s CS Initiative will help prepare students for life after graduation as they transition into college or career.”

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