In the 2nd quarter of 2017 there were 836 Computer System Design and related services positions filled in Santa Cruz County — a growth of 399 from 5 years prior (Data: Santa Cruz County Workforce Development Board). This being the highest Tech employment category for jobs and growth, there is a need of focused career development around Computer Science, especially Computer System Design. Furthermore, the Bay Area Strong Workforce Regional Plan highlights a focused need around Cyber Security workforce development. The Santa Cruz COE Consortium has recently developed introductory courses for the Information and Communication Technology Sector Pathways. Courses are being offered at all Consortium High Schools. These courses are being developed in limited collaborative environments where computer science teachers work in isolation. Furthermore, Communication Technology CTE Standards and CA-K12 Computer Science Standards are not being used for alignment. Students need to be systematically engaged in local industry job shadowing, externships, and/or internships. Students who complete these introductory courses need to be offered further options for Concentrator and Capstone courses for which dual enrollment at Cabrillo College is available. Finally, all Consortium schools only offer Computer Science Pathways aligned to Software and Systems Development Pathway, but none towards Information Support and Services. With a total of 4525 tech jobs in 2017 in Santa Cruz County, a diverse set of programs around Computer Science must be provided, supported, and continuously improved. Awareness around the importance of these programs must also be a focus for younger students and families to make them aware of local careers as there is little knowledge.

Overall Objectives

  • Create a systemic regional Computer Science Program and community for K-14 students focused on student-centered instruction, equity and access, regionally-aligned system around terminology, student outcomes, and data and assessments.

  • Enhance Computer Science Programs in the Software and Systems Development pathway at participating consortium schools by providing ongoing networking, coaching, and professional development in CS Education and building capacity around district leadership support for these programs through coordination by a regional Computer Science Coordinator and industry partners to facilitate growth opportunities.

  • Expand Santa Cruz County Computer Science Programs to include Networking and Information Support and Services Pathways for participating Consortium schools by providing magnet classes at leading industry partner locations. Provide ongoing coaching and professional development in CS Education and building capacity around district leadership support of these programs.

  • Develop articulated courses with Cabrillo Community College allowing students to earn Community College credit that lead to Computer Information Systems major.

  • Create articulated goals around skills needed for students to be successful in local workforce and post-secondary through a council representing members from business, education, and post-secondary.

  • Develop a work-based learning continuum from high school to college in collaboration with education providers and industry leaders representing the ICT CTE Sector.

  • Provide students opportunities to network and learn through events, trainings, and company breakfast via membership in a local non-profit association (Santa Cruz Works) focused on connecting community members who are part of the local technology industry.

  • Showcase Computer Science student projects at an annual Student-centered conference/event.

  • Increase awareness around Cyber Security and Computer Science education for younger students and families in afterschool and evening programs.

  • Provide community events for families and the community to build awareness about the industry and the importance of Career Technical Education Programs around Computer Science.