By Najee El-Amin | New Tri-State Defender
Memphis-based tech organization CodeCrew has been awarded nearly $1 million towards implementing computer science programs in the state’s school districts.
Teaming up with CSforALL, the pair was able to acquire the three-year grant from the National Science Foundation in late October.
The funds will be utilized to create opportunities for local K-12 facilitator training throughout Tennessee. The duo will begin what they call the SCRIPT (Strategic CSforALL Resource and Implementation Planning Tool), which intends to bring attention to the benefits and value of a computer science curricula.
Beginning in the spring of 2022, CodeCrew will lead a series of workshops that will educate district administrators, school leaders and other educators on how to administer SCRIPT.
CodeCrew’s most recent accomplishment has garnered the attention of officials throughout the state. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee took time to weigh in on impressive achievement.
“The jobs of today and tomorrow increasingly rely on technology,” said Lee. “This NSF grant and its focus on preparing school districts across the state to teach computer science aligns closely with our Future Workforce Initiative. With both of these innovative initiatives statewide, we intend to make Tennessee a top state for job creation in STEM.”
CodeCrew has served the community for more than half a decade and have been making waves throughout its tenure.
Early this year, a trio of CodeCrew’s top scholars were selected as the winners of Tennessee Congressional App challenge and have received strong national attention.
In June, CodeCrew also was able to launch The Code Collective initiative with the help of the NBA Foundation. The program trained young adults on the fundamentals of software development and provided the students with a monthly stipend as a bonus.
CodeCrew was one of only nine organizations the NBA Foundation selected for grant funding.
CodeCrew Executive Director Meka Egwuekwe has been leading the charge since the beginning and recognizes the weight this new opportunity carries with it.
“Our work will increase and positively impact computer science education on a statewide level,” said Egwuekwe.“Computer science education is foundational, and this grant will help ensure we are strategic as we guide Tennessee school districts in bringing the incredible value of computer science education to our state’s students.”
The grant is the second recent piece of good news for CodeCrew. Earlier this month, it was announced that the organization is moving its headquarters to the University of Memphis Research Foundation (UMRF) Research Park.
“One of the main goals of the research park is to connect, collaborate and share resources with innovative entrepreneurial companies,” said Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, U of M executive vice president for Research & Innovation.
“We’re proud to support organizations like CodeCrew to help further their mission of connecting underrepresented youth in Memphis to career pathways in technology,” Dhaliwal said.
This article originally appeared in the New Tri-State Defender