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Idaho Computer Science Initiative

Idaho House Bill 379 | Signed: March 23, 2016 | Effective: July 1, 2016

About: Computer science is one of the fastest growing fields in Idaho, but there are roughly 670 job openings going unfilled each year. Over $44 million of unclaimed labor wages are lost in Idaho due to those unfilled positions. Governor Otter proposed the Computer Science Initiative through the STEM Action Center to support the needs of Idaho's employers by providing a pipeline of students with computer science training, certifications, and experiences that help them thrive in the workforce. The STEM Action Center has funding to help educators, students, the community and our workforce through various professional development training, camps, competitions, events, and more. Support includes grant distribution, resource development, internship programs, and scholarship opportunities.

The Center will:

  • Focus on providing employers with qualified and experienced workers in all areas of computer science
  • Create strong partnerships for training and professional experience for Idaho's business community, educators, and workforce
  • Be funded through a combination of industry support, grants, and the STEM Education Fund
  • Create K-12 Computer Science academic standards in collaboration with the state Board of Education and state Department of Education

Finia Dinh | Computer Science Program Manager |

Finia moved to Idaho when she was seven months old and considers herself a native. She graduated with a B.S. from Boise State University. Finia started working as a recruiter in college, and collectively gained over 10 years of recruiting experience within private, educational and public sectors.

Finia brings a wealth of experience to the Center. She has worked at the Department of Labor for the past 3.5 years, starting as a Senior Workforce Consultant and quickly moved into her latest role as a Regional Business Specialist. As a Regional Business Specialist she specifically focused on workforce development in the Technology industry. There she partnered with key stakeholders and helped identify workforce gaps in the community. She collaborated with businesses, community partners, municipal agencies and educational institutions to strategically form long term workforce solutions that allowed companies to grow and thrive; which in turn allowing Idaho to maintain a healthy economy.

She’s been heavily involved with the Junior League of Boise for the past five years. She was very active with the Junior League’s Community Research and Project Development team to enhance STEM education for elementary students with their garden projects. Finia also participates with various school advisory committees, the Boise Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce/Education committee and other tech driven committees around the Valley. Finia serves on the planning committee for the Business Educator Exchange Conference, which offers an opportunity for K-12 educators to connect with businesses and help them understand current and future workforce needs in technology, healthcare and advance manufacturing.

In addition, she has over 10 years of experience leading various projects/teams, planning/coordinating events and volunteering. Her passion is being involved in education initiatives and giving back to the community.

Upcoming Events

Computer Science Week / Hour of Code (December 5-11)

What is "Hour of Code"?

Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science where anyone can learn the basics. Tutorials are available in over 45 languages for all ages. Every Idaho student, teacher, parent, and others who completes an "Hour of Code" through may enter into a drawing sponsored by Idaho Digital Learning and STEM Action Center to win various prizes. The winners will be chosen across four categories: PreK-5th grade, 6th-8th grade, 9th-12th grade, and Adult category (Administrator, Teacher or Parent) and one (1) grand prize winner of an iPad Mini chosen from all categories. Visit Hour of Code website

Industry Volunteers Needed:

Computer Science Education Week is approaching soon and we are seeking industry professionals that are willing to visit a local classroom to support and participate in an "Hour of Code" with students. Apply Here

Upcoming Opportunities

Alice/Oracle Computer Science Professional Development

  • Date: February 11, 2017
  • Time: 9:30am-5:30pm (lunch will be provided)
  • Location: Pocatello, ID (TBD)

The Idaho STEM Action Center and Oracle Academy are pleased to offer a free Alice workshop to currently teaching K-12 public school educators who are interested in introducing computer science concepts to their students.

This workshop is designed for educators with little or no programming experience. It teaches basic Java programming concepts through developing 3-D Animations in Alice 3.1. Educators will create animated stories and games using objects and characters from a rich gallery of 3-D models. Educators will also receive the workshop curriculum and ongoing support to use in their classroom.

Space is limited; for more information or to apply, visit our Community Grants Portal now. If you are accepted for this course, you will be given instruction on how to register for the Oracle Academy and to enroll in training.