Great Seal of the State of Idaho



September 25, 2017

CONTACT: Jon Hanian
(208) 334-2100





(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter welcomed today’s signing of a memorandum expressing President Trump’s commitment to expanding access to high-quality STEM and computer science education for more students in order to develop “a new generation of American workers.” 

“This initiative championed by the President and his daughter Ivanka aligns with and supports Idaho’s own efforts to improve our focus on science, technology, engineering and math education, as well as computer science, in order to build the kind of workforce that employers want and our economy needs,” Governor Otter said. “My higher education and workforce development task force’s both concluded that STEM education and computer science need to play bigger roles in Idaho’s K-through-Career education and training system.”

President Trump cited some statistics that are familiar to Idaho – too many citizens struggling to find full-time work while almost 5,300 Idaho jobs, and over 6 million nationally, remain vacant because employers can’t find qualified applicants. While Idaho’s unemployment rate is at a record-low 2.9 percent, there remain too many people without the education and training needed to do the increasingly technical jobs of today and tomorrow. Many of those career opportunities require high-quality STEM and computer science education.

Today’s presidential memorandum directs the U.S. Department of Education to make expanding access to those programs a priority and sets a goal of devoting at least $200 million per year in grants to that effort.

According to code.org, Idaho universities produced only 333 computer science graduates in 2015, and only 13 percent of those were female. What’s more, only seven Idaho high schools offered advanced placement computer science courses in the 2015-2016 academic year. However, since the Idaho STEM Action Center was established in 2015 and the Governor’s Computer Science Initiative was launched in 2016, Idaho has provided high-quality professional development opportunities for hundreds of K-12 teachers.

“The Governor’s STEM Action Center is pleased to be leading this effort by providing Idaho educators with the tools and skills they need to successfully prepare student learning experiences to meet the demands of our growing and changing economy,” said Angela Hemingway, executive director of the Idaho STEM Action Center. “Idaho employers are demanding a STEM-skilled workforce, and efforts such as those announced by the White House and Idaho’s CS Initiative will help prepare students for life after graduation as they transition into college or career."


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