By: Jeff Tollefson – President and CEO, Minnesota Technology Association

Recognizing the crucial role that computer science plays in our society and the importance of providing students in Minnesota with access to high-quality educational opportunities in this fast-growing field, Governor Tim Walz has proclaimed December 5-11 as Computer Science Education Week in Minnesota. Planned activities during the week provide an opportunity to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science as we celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners in the CS field.

Muting the celebration is the fact that Minnesota continues to rank last, 50th of 50 states, in the percentage of high schools offering foundational computer science coursework, at just 21% compared to 53% nationally. But what gives me hope is the increased recognition by government and education leaders that Minnesota students deserve the opportunity to prepare themselves for the modern workforce through CS education and seem willing to make the necessary policy changes and investments to make this possible.

To this end, a series of policy priorities were released this week by CSforALL-MN, a computer science resource and advocacy group in which the Minnesota Technology Association is an active member, with a goal of equitably expanding computer science education opportunities in our state. Policy recommendations include creating a statewide plan to expand CS education to all schools, adopt CS education standards, and fund teacher professional development, among other initiatives. We are working with legislators to draft what is tentatively called the Minnesota Computer Science Education Advancement Act with plans to introduce this bill in both houses in early January.

Why is MnTech pushing so hard for expanded computer science education in Minnesota? Simply put, the demand for tech talent far outstrips available supply. With 105,000 IT jobs in Minnesota and an estimated demand for at least 45,270 more tech workers over the next five years, we need to expand our state’s talent pipeline to ensure tech-enabled employers have access to the talent needed for continued business success and to drive our innovation economy forward. With median tech salaries at $94,715 (106% higher than the state’s median wage), these are high-paying careers in an in-demand field of work. Learn more in our recent Minnesota: The State of Tech Talent report.

So as we celebrate the first proclamation of Computer Science Education Week in Minnesota and recognize the students, teachers, and community leaders engaged in this important work, I urge you to consider what you can do to help develop our next generation of computational thinkers and technology creators. Whether it’s using your own coding knowledge to become a volunteer coach on a school’s robotics team, guest-teach in the classroom, host a tech experience tour at your company, or provide life-changing work-based learning experiences through internships, there are many ways for Minnesota’s tech professionals to support our students and schools. Reach out to me at and we can help connect you with impactful opportunities to serve.

I can’t wait to celebrate all we will accomplish together next year at CS Ed Week 2023!