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Coding for kids

Federal funding boost to expand digital programming for youth

Teaching and Learning

By Kathryn Hong and Jackey Locke

An engineering outreach office at Memorial University has received a federal funding boost of $95,000.

Memorial Engineering Outreach (MEO) is benefitting from CanCode, a $50-million fund announced in the 2017 federal budget to support the development of coding and digital skills for youth across Canada.

‘Basic life skill’

MEO, which is housed in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, received the funding through its membership with the Actua network. Actua was named the largest recipient of funding from the Government of Canada funding program on Jan. 22.

“In the past two decades, knowledge of coding has moved from desirable-for-employment to basic life skill,” said Nick Whalen, member of Parliament, St. John’s East.

“Children need this skill to fully engage with their world. CanCode is our government’s down payment on Canada’s future. Young Canadians, of all backgrounds, will learn the digital skills not just for high-demand STEM jobs – but all fields of endeavour.”

The funding will go towards scaling up MEO’s community programming to reach even more local youth with inspiring, hands-on coding and digital skills experiences.

“This funding will have a tremendous impact on our science, technology, engineering and math programs,” said Kathryn Hong, co-ordinator for outreach activities.

“We have been offering digital literacy experiences to local youth since 2013. With these additional funds, we are in a position to significantly expand on our current resources and enhance our curriculum. CanCode funding will be instrumental in allowing us to make high quality digital learning opportunities more accessible to youth in our region.”

N.L. youth to benefit

MEO is one of 35 network members receiving CanCode funding through Actua. The organization will work with colleagues across the network to develop and exchange content that will help inspire Canada’s next generation of innovators.

“We are honoured to be a recipient of CanCode funding and are happy to provide additional support to Memorial Engineering Outreach to engage more youth in building digital skills,” said Jennifer Flanagan, president and CEO of Actua.

“This support means that thousands more youth in Newfoundland and Labrador will have the opportunity to access free, deep-impact, face-to-face learning experiences, which are critical to their future success and our future Canadian workforce.”

Actua’s 35 network members will reach 500,000 youth and over 10,000 teachers across every province and territory with CanCode funding.

With files from Actua.

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