CME Group Foundation Reduces Computer Science Deserts

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) kicked off the new school year with more funds for in-school and after-school computer science programs. CME Group Foundation awarded nearly $1 million in grants to CPS and local nonprofits for computer science programs with the goal of reducing "computer science deserts" in Chicago.

Grants were awarded for K-12 in-school and after-school programs based on the results of a first-ever study funded by the Foundation to identify neighborhoods in most need of computer science programs. Northwestern University's Office of Community and Education Partnerships conducted the research, which identified Chicago neighborhoods that did not have any computer science programming open to all neighborhood students. Of those neighborhoods that offered programming, the study also showed most only provided introductory-level opportunities. The study will be repeated later this year to gauge progress throughout the city.

"We believe all students need to have computer science education throughout their K-12 years today in order to be best positioned to fill tomorrow's job opportunities in the financial and technology sectors," explained Kassie Davis, Executive Director of CME Group Foundation. "These grants are a step toward closing the digital divide and increasing access to computers and technology throughout our entire community."

These grants are a step toward closing the digital divide and increasing access to computers and technology throughout our entire community.

Kassie Davis
Executive Director of CME Group Foundation


Grants will be used for programs in place now and throughout the next two academic years. Through these programs, Chicago youth will gain hands-on experience with coding languages, computational thinking and engineering skills, video game and app development, robotics and other computer science activities.

"We are so grateful for CME Group Foundation's support and willingness to bring these enriching learning experiences to our students," said Francie Richards, CPS Chief External Relations Officer.

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