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An initiative to increase computer science literacy nationwide is underway. President Barack Obama kicked off his Computer Science For All plan at a California high school earlier this month, CBS News reports.

The president’s chief technology officer, Megan Smith, traveled to Oakland’s Skyline High School in February to meet with students in their computer lab class.

Smith, a former Google vice president, told the students that a computer science education would qualify them for some 600,000 jobs in the technology sector, which represents some of the highest paying jobs in the economy, CBS says.

At the same time, a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education would enable them to use “technology for all the things you guys are passionate about solving,” such as social justice issues, she said, according to CBS.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who was a student at Skyline High School, echoed Smith’s comments regarding the benefits of a computer science education. Schaaf said she wants to make Oakland a national model for computer science education, according to CBS.

“The president picked Skyline to launch a national initiative because he knew this city would unleash the amazing talents and innovations you all have,” Schaaf added.

Obama’s initiative, which would reach every K-12 classroom, also seeks to teach students the thinking skills needed to become creators—not just consumers—of technology.

The president is asking Congress for $4 billion to states and $100 million to school districts for his plan, which would bring minority and low-income students into the tech revolution.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who sits on the House Committee on Appropriations, promised to support funding of the president’s initiative in Congress, CBS reports.



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