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RDC receives grant to provide coding education for kids ages 6-15

$70,000 grant will go towards summer camps and workshops

Red Deer College (RDC) is set to launch new opportunities in the growing field of computer coding after they received a $70,000 grant from CanCode.

“We are tremendously excited for the opportunity to connect with young kids and bring the world of math and science right to their fingertips. There is no better way for Red Deer College to be involved,” Rodney Holt, RDC’s associate dean for the School of the Continuing Education.

The direct beneficiary of the grant funding will be Actua’s Red Hot Science, which provides science workshops and summer camps.

“We are honoured to be a recipient of CanCode funding and thrilled to provide additional support to Red Hot Science to engage more youth in building digital skills,” Jennifer Flanagan, president and CEO of Actua, said in a press release. “This support means that many more youth in Central Alberta 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.”

Holt said the funding is a great opportunity for Red Deer College.

“That will enable us to reach 5,000 kids, which is our goal, between now and March 2019,” he said. “We will do that by reaching out to schools in Central Alberta and inviting them to our workshops, making them part of our summer camp experience in the summer and a variety of different ways.”

Holt added it is important to offer programs like this as digital literacy becomes more important to Canadian society.

This sentiment is echoed by the Federal Government of Canada.

“Coding is the next big job. Industries ranging from automotive and agri-food to the life sciences and clean technology need coders, given their increasingly digital nature. That’s why our government is equipping Canadian youth with the digital skills they need for the jobs of the future. By teaching kids to code today, we’re positioning Canada for future success across all industries and sectors,” Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development said.

Holt said the funding will go towards programs which spark passion and creativity in children.

“The creative skills of coding will go into creating video games, digital movies — the possibilities are endless,” he said. “What we are really excited for is that people will realize through coding they can explore a number of career paths.”

Holt said it is important for RDC to offer this opportunity, which is outside the possibility of many schools in the region.

“You need specialized knowledge and subject matter experts and you need access to equipment and space to do this kind of work, so many of the schools in Central Alberta may not have those elements,” he said. “Being able to bring it to Red Deer College does two things. It allows us to take advantage of our faculty, expertise and our ability to do research and be flexible.

“It also creates a pathway for students to think about attending a post-secondary institution.”

He added, “You can look for us to be creating workshop opportunities where we will be taking this off our campus and into the rural areas of Central Alberta.”

todd.vaughan@reddeerexpress.com

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