Microsoft's president promotes computer science education in Northeast Wisconsin

Microsoft's TEALS program will be coming to 14 Wisconsin high schools next fall. (Photo Credit: WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith was at Green Bay's city hall Monday evening to promote one of the computer software company’s educational programs.

Smith is an Appleton West High School graduate.

“I don't have the opportunity to get back very often,” said Smith. “It's always such a powerful reminder of what a beautiful part of the country this is.”

Microsoft’s TEALS program, which stands for Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, will be implemented at 14 Wisconsin high schools next fall.

“It recruits volunteers who know computer science,” said Smith. “Those volunteers team teach with a math or science teacher and then that math or science teacher is up and running and computer science becomes part of the curriculum.”

Realizing a talent gap in the industry, Microsoft has been working since 2009 to bring TEALS to every high school in the country.

In our area, TEALS will be at Green Bay Preble, Denmark, Pulaski, New London, Kimberly, Hortonville, Appleton East, Appleton North, and Appleton West High Schools.

“They're obviously a well-established international, global entity, but this particular program brings also the networking and connections with industry professionals,” said Michael Friis with the Green Bay Area Public School District.

Some of the area's largest employers are interested in bringing volunteers to classrooms for the program. Representatives from Georgia Pacific and Schneider were among those at the city hall meeting with Microsoft.

“They all need people that are well schooled in computer science and it's really not papermaking or cheese making,” said Jim Schmitt, Green Bay’s mayor. “It's really the technology, that computer science behind all that, that businesses need and we need to keep us sustainable.”

Northeast Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance projects businesses in our region will need to fill 3,000 information technology jobs in the next five years.

Nationwide, Microsoft projects there are currently 700,000 computer science job openings.

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