CM CARES has teamed up with area educators to ignite a passion for information technology among students.
CM CARES, the Church Mutual Insurance Company foundation, will support an Information Technology Summer School pilot program for eight area school districts this year – D.C. Everest, Edgar, Marathon, Merrill, Mosinee, Spencer, Stratford and Wausau.
The purpose of the pilot is to help area communities develop student competency in IT coding, as well as to stimulate overall interest in IT. As part of the pilot program, the school districts will offer coding classes to fourth- through eighth-grade kids who are interested in developing skills in computer science.
CM CARES will cover the cost of supplies for the summer offering, including 15 Minecraft licenses and 15 coding manuals for each participating school. The class offering is built around Minecraft, a computerized game popular among youths. While using the Minecraft program, students work with a coding language called Python.
The program allows students to connect to popular learn-to-code platforms and engage with computer science concepts as they design and create.
“Providing this IT summer school experience for area school districts demonstrates how strongly we feel about helping develop the future IT talent in central Wisconsin communities,” said Laura Hughes, chief marketing officer of Church Mutual Insurance Company. “We believe interest in IT has to begin in the elementary schools if we are going to make a significant impact on the IT workforce in area communities.”
The courses will be offered during the early summer months for three to four weeks. School districts are responsible for hiring certified teachers to deliver instruction. Each school will be paired with a Central Wisconsin Information Technology Alliance (CWITA) business partner who will define his or her company’s use of coding to the partner school, as well as fund a field trip to the respective business.
As interest in IT increases, Northcentral Technical College will offer more advanced coursework for upper level high school students, as well as for technical college students pursuing careers in IT.
CM CARES’ support for this summer school pilot program highlights its continued commitment to strengthening and enriching communities, which aligns with Church Mutual’s mission to protect the greater good and improve the human condition. It also serves future staffing needs for Church Mutual and other central Wisconsin employers.