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Google has announced that it is giving $400,000 to a University of Washington teaching program for computer science.

Google announced Wednesday it will give $400,000 to a University of Washington teaching program to help train a more diverse range of students to lead computer science classes in middle and high school.

The gift is for the College of Education’s yearlong Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP), through which students earn a Master in Teaching degree alongside a residency teacher certificate for middle or high school teaching in computer science.

The money will help grow the new STEP computer science program and subsidize tuition of teacher candidates from underrepresented ethnic groups and/or students with disabilities, as well those who identify as women, transgender, and/or nonbinary, according to a UW news release.

The STEP computer science program also is for in-service teachers to seek deeper preparation for teaching computer science and to pursue the state’s computer science endorsement.

Washington requires each school district that operates a high school to provide access to a computer science course to all high school students beginning this school year.

Google, which has about 7,200 employees in Washington — including a major presence in Kirkland — is the first company to help the UW’s College of Education try to reach its $1 million goal for the program.

The program is an effort between the UW’s College of Education, the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, and the Information School to create a secondary computer science teacher education pathway for Washington.

“We’ve designed STEP CS (computer science) to be playful, joyful, and restorative — to demonstrate how CS learning and teaching can be all of those things,” Amy J. Ko, professor at the Information School, adjunct professor at the Allen School, and program co-founder, said in the release. “By enrolling in and completing this program, our teachers will guide the next generation of students to navigate their computer science learning journey in a more equity-driven and justice-centered way. We’re grateful for Google’s gift and invite others to join us.”

The UW program aims to increase diversity among computer science teachers.

“Students thrive when they see their background reflected in their teachers,” Mia Tuan, dean of the UW College of Education, added in the release. “With this gift to the College of Education’s STEP CS program, Google is enabling a more representative computer science educator workforce in Washington and beyond. This remarkable program ensures that there will be more teachers equipped to teach computer science in an equity-centered way — which is critical for the future success of students of color.”

The first STEP computer science program teacher cohort graduated in spring 2022.

“Google is proud to support programs like the University of Washington STEP CS Program,” Ian Goodhew, Google’s head of government and public affairs for the Pacific Northwest, said in a statement. “Investing in the growth and diversification of the computer science teacher workforce in Washington is critical to empowering the future workers and leaders of the technology industry.”