Last Saturday Pastor Jamie Jones of Divine Holiness Outreach Center of Caruthersville and Ricky Robinson, founder of the after school activity center of Hayti, MO, hosted a welcome back-to-school assembly and distributed school supplies to all students in attendance from several area schools at the Hayti school gymnasium. Featured speakers were Mr. Robert Whelan, representing the ERASE Foundation, and Mr. Phil Bounds recently retired NASA and NSA computer cyber security expert, both of Poplar Bluff.
Mr. Whelan spoke on the opportunity each student has in their life by applying themselves to learning and staying in school and making good grades. ERASE is made up of volunteers and donors who believe that each child should have the opportunity to succeed and be able to dream about their futures. ERASE sponsors after school faith-based centers with reading programs, history and cultural activities.
Mr. Bounds kept everybody on their edge of their seats as he described his many decades of working for NASA, at The Pentagon and White House on secure communications and cyber security importance. He described the high paying jobs available in computer science programing and coding here in Missouri. RIGHT NOW – it has been reported that over 11,000 jobs are unfilled and that number continues to grow with a starting pay exceeding $60,000 per year.
Early next year I will be filing a replica of my 2018 Senate Bill 894 that was passed in the senate and house dealing with computer science being offered in our K-12 schools as a graduating credit. SB894 ultimately was vetoed by Governor Parson because of a concern his office had of the STEM house amendment attached to SB894 that dealt with an on-line curriculum criteria that may have favored a single vendor.
I know Governor Parson is a huge supporter of job skill training and his veto of SB894 was a hard decision for him to make. Next year we need to make sure it meets the fairness criteria that both he and I consider very important.
Senator Doug Libla