AUSTIN, Texas — Investing in systemic change is vital to successfully diversifying the computer science education and workforce pipeline. In the first large contribution of private funds to support The University of Texas at Austin’s Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP) Alliance, Google.org is providing grant support to ECEP to build additional capacity to broaden participation across the nation.
“This is an investment in the success of future generations,” said Scott Rabenold, vice president of development at UT Austin. “Thanks to Google’s vision, more students will be prepared to enter computer science and computing-intensive careers and become leaders in this dynamic, world-changing field.”
Google.org’s $3 million in funding over three years will help enable ECEP to increase capacity for:
- The addition of five new states to the alliance in 2023.
- Additional co-sponsorships to states providing seed funding for equity-explicit activities such as state landscape reports, state summits, state strategic plans, data dashboards and other projects that focus on building more equitable policies, pathways and practices in computer science education.
- Improved documentation and sharing of the resources and expertise with ECEP and non-ECEP state members.
- More effective measures of systemic outcomes of the alliance collective impact model at state and national levels.
“We believe Google and other companies have a responsibility to help people get the skills they need to get a good job, start a new business, and provide a solid foundation for their families — no matter what their age or where they live,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and its parent company, Alphabet Inc. “Computer science education is an important piece of this, and we look forward to working with our partners, like ECEP, to unleash the talent and drive of millions of people in communities across the U.S.”
First funded by the National Science Foundation in 2012 as a partnership between Georgia and Massachusetts, the ECEP Alliance has grown to include 22 states and the territory of Puerto Rico. ECEP’s long-range goal is for all 50 states to have robust K–16 computing education pathways that attract and support a diverse range of students prepared to enter computer science and computing-intensive careers.
“Government and industry have made notable investments over the past decade in supporting students, but we can do better to address the structural and systemic barriers that continue to marginalize women, Black and Hispanic students, and students with disabilities,” said Carol Fletcher, principal investigator for the ECEP Alliance at UT Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center. “This is the work that ECEP state leaders are engaged in, and Google’s support will be a significant step toward scaling up that work on the national level.”
ECEP partners with numerous other organizations across the country, such as CSforALL, the Computer Science Teachers Association, Sagefox, Kapor Center, and Code.org to support systemic change, inclusive instructional strategies and more robust data systems for tracking equitable capacity for, access to, participation in, and experiences of computer science education in K–16.
“For 10 years ECEP has met the needs of not only ECEP state teams, but teams in any state seeking to advance K–16 computing through education policy reform,” said co-principal investigator Sarah Dunton. “Google’s support will help more state leaders access ECEP’s model for state change and expand our library of resources specific to building equitable CS pathways.”
To learn more about ECEP’s work, visit ecepalliance.org.