SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Incenting 6-12 grade students with free computer tablets, Silicon Valley Bank, financial partner to companies in the innovation sector, is teaming up with several partners to help engage young people in computer science. The company joins the Level Playing Field Institute and Virginia Advanced Study Strategies to introduce STEM skills to young people through new programs using low cost tablets this fall. Video.
"We need to create a tech-savvy, highly skilled workforce to fuel innovation in America," said Greg Becker, president and CEO of Silicon Valley Bank. "With a continued emphasis on STEM skills we can put people to work, stay competitive globally and keep developing the technologies, medicines, devices and innovations that are solving human problems and improving the quality of people's lives."
"Teaching STEM skills to kids is not a brand new idea, but we have to ensure we broaden its appeal for everyone," said Aneesh Chopra, former CTO of the US. "Government, business, the education system – we all have to keep the pressure on and the activity level high to turn the tide and get people interested and trained in subjects that are going to enable a stronger, technical workforce."
"Diversifying our tech talent pool is an imperative for the tech sector. More diverse engineers and entrepreneurs will bring about a new type of innovation that Silicon Valley has yet to see," said Mitch Kapor of the Kapor Center for Social Impact, one of the event sponsors."Silicon Valley has a desperate shortage of talent," said Vivek Wadhwa Vice President of Innovation and Research at Singularity University. "At the same time there are hundreds of thousands of children who are left out of the digital economy. I am really excited that we are taking advantage of technology from the developing world to bridge this digital divide of the developed world." Two new programs aimed at giving young people access to mentors in computer science and tools to develop apps are kicking off this school year: