HARRISBURG — Legislation sponsored by Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Crawford/Forest) to give school districts and students another viable option to help address shortages in specific employment areas passed the state House on Wednesday.
House Bill 833
would allow students who successfully complete a class in computer science or information technology (IT) to satisfy one math or science graduation credit requirement.
“The importance of having real-world computer education courses available in Pennsylvania classrooms today could not be clearer for the 21st century workforce,” said Rapp “While many citizens are unemployed, there are also many employers who are unable to fill openings for positions that require proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Moreover, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that one in every two STEM jobs in the United States will be in computing occupations. With more than 150,000 job openings annually, information technology is one of the fastest growing occupations in the nation. Equally important, the computer science-information technology field leads to family-sustaining careers, with jobs that pay 75 percent more than the national median annual salary.”
Additionally, Rapp’s legislation would offer public schools the discretion to determine whether any earned computer science credits would count as a math or science credit.
“Regardless of the growing number of employment opportunities, only 2 percent of students actually enroll in an advanced placement (AP) computer science or IT courses due largely to the fact that the majority of public schools still classify this type curriculum as strictly an elective course,” said Rapp. “Since computer science does not currently satisfy any core graduation requirements, our students have less motivation to pursue a course in this area or to learn whether it sparks their interest as a potential career.”
Most importantly, House Bill 833 would not require any public school to offer computer science courses, nor would students be required to take such courses.
“House Bill 833 is not about mandating, but encouraging, today’s students to pursue careers in computer science and also to better align the skills of our young people with the needs of the job market,” said Rapp. “This is beneficial not only to today’s students but also to Pennsylvania’s economy.”
House 833 now advances to the state Senate for future consideration. Visit RepRapp.com
for the latest legislative updates.
Representative Kathy Rapp
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ty McCauslin