The Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP) Alliance has been awarded a $3 million grant by to build out additional capacity to broaden participation in computer science education across the nation.

The ECEP Alliance is a collective of 22 states – Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington – and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. The program seeks to increase the equitable capacity for, access to, participation in, and experiences of computing education.

The funding – given to the ECEP Alliance over three years – will complement the baseline investment from the National Science Foundation and allow ECEP to build additional backbone capacity for supporting Alliance members and activities.

Key features of this initiative will include increased capacity for:

  • Add five new states to the alliance in 2023.
  • Add co-sponsorships to states that provide seed funding for equity-explicit activities in computer science education.
  • Improve documentation and sharing of the resources and expertise with ECEP and non-ECEP state members.
  • Provide more effective measures of systemic outcomes of the alliance collective impact model at state and national levels.

“Investing in systemic change is vital to successfully diversify the entire [computer science] education and workforce pipeline,” Dr. Carol Fletcher, the principal investigator for the ECEP Alliance at the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center, said in a press release.

Many students in marginalized communities have faced consistent barriers while pursuing a computer science education. These are the challenges that “ECEP state leaders are engaged in, and Google’s support will be a significant step toward scaling up that work on the national level,” Fletcher added.

“This is an investment in the success of future generations,” Scott Rabenold, vice president of development at UT Austin, said in a press release. “Thanks to Google’s vision, more students will be prepared to enter computer science and computing-intensive careers and become leaders in this dynamic, world-changing field.”

Through interventions, pathways, partnerships, and models that drive state-level computing education change, ECEP supports states as they work to align their state efforts with the national vision of computer science for all.

“For ten years, ECEP has met the needs of not only ECEP state teams, but teams in any state seeking to advance K–16 computing through education policy reform,” said ECEP Co-Principal Investigator Sarah Dunton. “Google’s support will help more state leaders access ECEP’s model for state change and expand our library of resources specific to building equitable [computer science] pathways.”

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk State and Local Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.