High school students in New Castle County are learning computer programming with a contribution from AT&T to Delaware Technical Community College.

AT&T’s $19,000 contribution supports the Junior Java Programming Academy, a new program for New Castle County students in grades nine through 12 designed to introduce students to programming early so they have the requisite skills and interest level to pursue a postsecondary education in computer programming and create a future information technology pipeline for the state. The college previously launched adult-level IT academies and is replicating this training for students at a younger age.

The 230-hour comprehensive program introduces software engineering using Java programming language and focuses on basic and intermediate coding skills. Students who recently completed the program learned through classroom instruction, activities and field trips. The course was taught by experienced Java instructors who also taught the adult-focused courses at Delaware Tech. Classes were held twice a month and concluded with four consecutive weeks in the summer.

AT&T’s contribution is part of AT&T Aspire, AT&T’s signature philanthropic initiative to drive student success in school and beyond, said Denis Dunn, president, AT&T Delaware who met with students and college leaders Aug 2.

“Companies like AT&T — and the entire tech industry — need a capable and diverse pipeline of employees to fuel 21st century jobs. The need is currently outpacing the supply of skilled talent. That’s why we support projects like the Junior Java Academy — to bridge the skills gap and build a diverse talent pipeline for the jobs of today and the future,” Dunn said.

“The Junior Java Programming Academy is an initiative aimed at meeting the ever expanding IT needs of our local employers while addressing the skills gap among female and minority high school students,” said Delaware Tech President Mark T. Brainard. “This program allows us to engage students early so they have the skills and interest level to pursue a postsecondary education in computer programming. We greatly appreciate AT&T’s generosity in supporting this important initiative.”

For information, visit dtcc.edu/about.