HILLSIDE, Ill. – In an effort to ensure all students have access to a high-tech education that prepares them to compete in an emerging job market, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, has introduced legislation to modernize and improve access to computer science education for Illinois students and increase technological education opportunities in underserved communities.

“We always need to be taking steps to better preparing students to compete in an economy that is becoming more and more tech-based,” Welch said. “Computer science is one of the most in-demand college degrees, and by ensuring all students have the opportunity to learn and become interested in the field, we open the door to future careers in the industry.”

According to code.org, a non-profit working to broaden access to computer science, computing occupations are the number one source of all new wages in the U.S and make up over half of all projected new jobs in STEM fields. Additionally, more than nine in ten parents want computer science taught at their child’s school.

Welch’s legislation, House Bill 817, works to modernize the state’s education curriculum by adopting recommendations made by the Illinois Task Force on Computer Science Education Report. Welch’s measure creates the Office of Computer Science Education (OCSE) in the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The mission of OCSE is to ensure that every K-12 student in Illinois is afforded an equal and equitable opportunity to obtain a world-class computer science education. Additionally, Welch’s measure will bolster reporting requirements to help ensure that local schools are meeting goals to make improvements to their computer science curriculum.

“This proposal will better prepare our children to compete in a tech-based economy and help further develop a top-notch, modern Illinois workforce that will attract businesses to our state,” Welch said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to continue the progress we’ve made improving computer science education in Illinois.”

Rep Emanuel Chris WelchRep Emanuel Chris Welch

7th District
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