Focus at Four: U.S. schools "failing" to prepare students for high-tech jobs

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Keeping up with the evolving job market is proving difficult for many American schools. A new report released today by the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) shows hundreds of thousands of software developer job openings, but not enough people to fill them.

Here in the Brazos Valley, A&M Consolidated High School has a computer science program that has helped its students earn national recognition in that area. Andrew Jarrett, a Consol grad and now founder/owner of tech company ResponderX, joins First News at Four to discuss why early computer science education is crucial for kids and for the country.

The following report continues from News 3's Washington D.C. bureau:

"There’s always a shortage of software developers,” said Jonathan Godfrey, VP of Public Affairs for ACT.

Godfrey led the research team on the ACT report, that shows over 223,000 job openings for software developers. He says American schools just aren’t teaching these important subjects.

"It’s really crazy to think that because this is one of the most financially rewarding professions out there,” said Godfrey. "The average salary for a software developer throughout the United States is $104,000.”

According to the report, 35,000 high schools across the U.S. offer computer science courses. Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX) studied computer science at Texas A&M, and while his district has schools that offer computer science courses, he still sees a shortage in America.

"In my opinion, coding to millennials and younger generations is going to be like what typing was to my generation,” said Hurd.

And Hurd says with his home state producing just 5,000 computer scientists last year, it’s a good thing Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, which allows schools to customize their curriculum.

"Local control is something that is going to encourage our school districts, our schools, to make sure they’re providing the kinds of education that our children need,” said Hurd.

"If that means that our school children grow up into tremendously rewarding jobs that are very well paid, that’s all the better,” said Godfrey.

ACT presented the findings of its report to the Congressional High Tech Caucus Tuesday in hopes of creating the next generation of software developers.