AI education is essential for an equitable future

Underserved communities are universally disadvantaged in their access to resources and high-quality technical education compared to their urban counterparts. Data suggests that between 2000 and 2019, the number of college graduates (aged 25-34) in urban America grew from 26% to 39%, while in rural America that number only increased by 6% (15% to 21%). This divide can be attributed to the convergence of resources, talents and opportunities in urban clusters.

AI education is a game-changing tool for intervention—one poised to reshape those measures for rural America, revitalize their economies, and uplift their population. Today, the demand for AI adoption is increasing across the globe. In fact, AI’s contribution to global GDP is expected to climb to $15.7 trillion by 2030.

The technology’s applications span a range of business functions and industries, promising new efficiencies and automation. Therefore, it is imperative to participate in opportunities that provide skills in technology.

High-quality AI education can be monumental in empowering residents of rural and underserved parts of America. Leveraging AI-powered career and business opportunities can dramatically improve socio-economic status and bridge digital and economic divides.

There are distinct steps needed to successfully implement AI education offerings in schools in underserved America to generate a talent pool with highly marketable and in-demand skills.

Build the right foundation with effective courses and curriculum

A strong background in STEM is essential for embracing AI – both as a career path and as a tool for business transformation. However, resources are scarce in rural communities. According to a 2020 report, only 47% of US high schools teach computer science courses. In non-urban areas, only 43% of high schools in rural areas and 41% of high schools in cities teach computer science. In suburban and urban areas, this number is 57% and 44% respectively.

These disparities are even greater when comparing certain states. Only 19% of high schools in Louisiana offered computer classes—more of which were located in cities—compared to 89% in Rhode Island. However, only an adept STEM student is most apt to learn advanced AI skills. Therefore, it is important to engage a child’s interest from their early years through K-12, no matter where they live.

As children begin to explore smartphones, game consoles, and home appliances, responding to their curiosities with engaging explanations can help them turn their interests into passions. Providing the opportunity to take academic courses in relevant topics such as Python, data analysis, and advanced math can hone students’ skills and help them gain meaningful exposure in the discipline. According to the 2021 AI Index report, there is already an increase in AI-related courses at universities, with an increase of 102.9% at the undergraduate level and 41.7% at the graduate level during the course. of the past four years.

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Sam D. Gomez