The demand for skilled information technology employees continues to grow in Illinois. However, according to P33, “Colleges in Illinois and across the US produce computer science and other STEM graduating classes with too few Black, Latinx and female graduates, reproducing and exacerbating race and gender divides that start in K-12 education, which ensures that these divides are reproduced downstream inside companies.”
In response to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Accelerate ED Initiative, EdSystems brought together partners CodeNation, Discovery Partners Institute, and P33 to support three Illinois school districts pilot a new vision for IT pathways: Accelerated Model Pathways for Information Technology (AMP-IT).
EdSystems is leading the AMP-IT pilot, which is engaging Chicago Public Schools, District 214, and Belvidere District 100 and their community college and employer partners to design and launch an accelerated IT pathway through a six-month design sprint that began in early 2022. As a result, students in AMP-IT schools will have the opportunity to:
- Earn 15 to 30 hours of early college credit in high school.
- Seamlessly transition into aligned associate and bachelor’s degree programs.
- At no cost, earn an associate degree in IT in year 13.
- Take part in a continuum of meaningful work-based learning opportunities to help them affirm their interest in the industry and gain valuable hands-on experiences and soft skills while earning social capital with industry employers.
AMP-IT is supporting school districts to accelerate and deepen aspects of their existing IT pathways by designing opportunities for high school students to earn up to 30 hours of early college credit that seamlessly stacks into associate and bachelor’s degree programs. Early college credit will be available through both IT career-focused course sequences and general education courses in math, English, science, and social sciences, and will be selected based on their strategic value for articulation into aligned postsecondary credential opportunities. All AMP-IT pathways will use a regional version of the design process used for the Illinois Model Programs of Study Guide in Information Technology: a data-driven, backward-mapping approach that extends from the areas of job growth down through the high school course sequence.