Governor Asa Hutchinson is traveling the state this week touting computer coding in schools. Last year over four thousand students took high school level computer science courses as part of a statewide initiative.
During a stop Monday at Bryant High School, Hutchinson tried to raise excitement among students, saying coding skills are needed in every field. Hutchinson formerly served as Secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush. He talked about the 2013 terrorist attack in Boston.
“At the Boston Marathon, they put an explosive device in a trash can. How do you prevent that?" he asked. "You have cameras, and then you have analytics to determine people who are suspicious that ought to be identified for further inspection," he said. "Software makes a difference."
The governor also emphasized that coding is fun and allows work flexibility and access to jobs. He said there are projected to be a million new jobs in computer science over the next ten years expects some will be in Arkansas.
“Virtually every business you talk to would hire today IT people," he said. "I can assure the students, if you get this tool, you get this educational capability, you will have a job when you get out.”
Every high school in the state was required to offer a computer science or coding course last year for the first time.
Hutchinson is taking a statewide tour of schools this week to boost enrollment in computer science from last year’s over 4,000 students to 6,000 this year.