OVAE Connection

OVAE Connection

October 11, 2012

NSF Funding Opportunity: Computing Education for the 21st Century

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced a funding opportunity under the (Computing Education for the 21st Century (CE21) program, with $15 million to support 13 to 20 grant awards per year. Community colleges are among the eligible applicants. Full proposals are due March 13, 2013.

Innovation in information technology (IT) not only drives our economic growth, but also underlies scientific advances and ensures our national security. Yet, while IT job growth is very strong, not enough students are majoring in computing. Only about 60 percent of the computing-related degrees that U.S. industry will need over the next decade are being produced by U.S. universities and colleges. This shortfall is further exacerbated by the longstanding underrepresentation of women, persons with disabilities, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and indigenous peoples in computing, who together make up some 70 percent of our population. Their participation, which would contribute their talents and creativity, is essential to the nation’s ability to fully participate in a competitive world economy

Unlike many of the other STEM disciplines, computing has not developed a rich research base for the teaching and learning of its fundamental concepts and skills. Through the creation of a robust research community, CE21 projects will contribute to our understanding of how diverse student populations are engaged and retained in computing, learn its fundamental concepts, and develop competencies that position them to contribute to an increasingly computationally empowered citizenry.

CE21 will fund proposals on three distinct tracks: Computing Education Research proposals will aim to develop a research base for computing education; CS 10K proposals will aim to develop the knowledge base and partnerships needed to catalyze the CS 10K Project (which seeks to have rigorous academic curricula incorporated into computing courses in 10,000 high schools, taught by 10,000 well-trained teachers); and Broadening Participation proposals will aim to develop and assess novel interventions that contribute to our knowledge base for the effective teaching and learning of computing for students from the underrepresented groups.

CE21 will accept applicants from universities and two- and four-year colleges, including community colleges accredited in and having a campus located in the U.S.; non-profit, non-academic organizations such as independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies, and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities; and state and local governments, state education offices or organizations, and local school districts.

Please access the full program solicitation for more information on the CE21 program and guidelines for eligibility, preparation, proposal submission, and deadlines.

NFTE World Series of Innovation

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), in conjunction with Microsoft, recently kicked off its 2012 World Series of Innovation. As a featured event of Global Entrepreneurship Week (Nov. 12–18), this World Series invites any team of middle school- or high school-age students in the world to think creatively and invent new products or services that have an effect on people’s daily lives.

NFTE’s World Series of Innovation promotes entrepreneurship education and the importance of innovation to young people by giving teams of at least two students two challenges: to originate groundbreaking products and services at specific market opportunities and to show how they would market and sell their innovations to the public. “For the past 25 years, NFTE has been pioneering experiential education, in and out of the classrooms, by sparking innovation and entrepreneurship among low-income youth internationally and the World Series of Innovation is a key platform to continue to expand our reach to even more young people around the globe,” said Amy Rosen, president and CEO of NFTE.

For additional information about this initiative, see the press release on the World Series of Innovation.

Global Labor Market: Demand and Skill Gaps

The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) recently released The world at work: Jobs, pay and skills for 3.5 billion people, a report analyzing dramatic shifts in global labor markets over the last several decades, which have caused increasingly stark skill and wage gaps across the world. In advanced economies, economic growth has largely shifted away from manufacturing, mining and agriculture to a variety of services. Millions of high-paying jobs have been created for workers with high education attainment, as new technologies and the drive for productivity gains have raised the demand for workers with advanced knowledge and skills. While this has resulted in rising incomes and falling unemployment rates for highly educated workers, workers with low education attainment in the advanced economies, i.e., with no postsecondary education, have experienced stagnating wages, job losses, and long periods of unemployment.

In the United States, average real incomes for workers with a four-year degree rose slightly more than 1 percent per year between 1960 and 2008, while they declined marginally for workers without a high school credential. Moreover, the unemployment rate for workers with only a secondary school education is now nearly twice that of college graduates. MGI warns that the growing gulf between the wealth of well-educated workers with promising job prospects and those with low levels of educational attainment and little hope of improving their living standards will almost certainly produce higher levels of social and political instability.

Labor market dynamics are predicted to continue in this direction over the next two decades. In advanced economies, the net increase of college-educated workers is likely to decline, given current rates of population growth, and college enrollment and completion. The likely loss through retirement of 12 million college-educated workers across the advanced economies through retirement over the next 20 years also will contribute to this decline. These dynamics will result in a greater need than ever to increase productivity to maintain GDP growth. MGI therefore predicts that the demand for workers with high education attainment will continue to grow faster than the available supply around the world.

By 2020, U.S. employers likely will require college-educated workers for 36 percent of all jobs, up sharply from 24 percent today. However, MGI predicts there will be 1.5 million too few workers with college or graduate degrees in the U.S., increasing the severity of skill shortages in advanced industries. Job prospects for workers without postsecondary education also would decline, resulting in further adverse outcomes. To address these issues proactively, MGI calls for an education revolution to dramatically increase in the next two decades the supply of workers with the skills that employers demand. The details of MGI’s recommendations will be discussed in next week’s edition of OVAE Connection.