Workshop to focus on boosting computer science education, workforce development in West Virginia

| Contact: Jean Hardiman, University Relations Specialist, 304-696-6397

Marshall University’s Weisberg Division of Computer Science will host a one-day public workshop, "Workforce Revolution: Building Skills, Building Minds," presented by ACT | The App Association. The event aims to bring local lawmakers, leaders, educators and students together to explore the benefits of workforce development in computer science and computer science education.

The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, at the Brad D. Smith Foundation Hall, with a networking hour following at Fat Patty’s until 5:30 p.m. Speakers for the event will include Morgan Reed, president of ACT | The App Association, which represents more than 5,000 app companies and information technology firms, advocating for an environment that inspires innovation.   Others speakers include Dr. Wael Zatar, dean of the College of Information Technology and Engineering and Huntington Mayor Steve Williams.

"There are currently over half a million computing jobs that are unfilled in the United States, and the College of Information Technology and Engineering at Marshall University assists graduating students with a plethora of skill sets required to meet the regional, national and global needs," Zatar said. "The college is continuing to add programs as the demand increases for computing-related, high-paying jobs. More and more students are choosing computer science-related fields as their career choice. Options include information systems, software engineering, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing. We are a mission-driven college and are committed to providing some of the best educational experiences in these fields of study."

The workshop’s first panel will focus on "The State of Play in Workforce Development and Computer Science Education in West Virginia," including the following panelists:

  • West Virginia Delegate Sean Hornbuckle of Huntington;
  • Garland Couch of Bit Source, an ACT member company;
  • Kheng McGuire, thought leader for a coding program at Huntington High School;
  • Natalie Roper, executive director of Generation West Virginia;
  • Dr. Wook-Sung Yoo, professor and chair of the Division of Computer Science in Marshall’s College of Information Technology and Engineering.

The workshop’s second panel discussion is titled "Mind Crafters: An In-Depth Look at Computer Science Implementation in K-12 Schools." Panelists will include:

  • Dr. Kathy D’Antoni, associate state superintendent for the West Virginia Department of Education;
  • James Coble, STEM coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Education;
  • Tim Elliott, coordinator for the Office of Career Technical Education;
  • Lori Whitt, a computer science K-12 educator in West Virginia;
  • Tamara Westfall, a computer science K-12 educator in West Virginia;
  • One or two students enrolled in comprehensive computer science education programs from Cabell, Wayne or Lincoln counties.

Afternoon activities will include coding workshops divided into a K-12 track and an Existing Workforce track.

"Computers are everywhere in our lives, and every job we’re going to do in the future will rely on technology," Yoo said. "West Virginia can lead the change of our world of tomorrow through strong computing education creating the new technology and being powerful users of the technology."

For more information about this event or to register, visit its Eventbrite website at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/workforce-revolution-tickets-68609202973.