“Thank you for allowing me to be a part of today’s proceedings to share with you my personal experience and the economic importance of passing House Bill 1289.
My name is John Scarborough and I am a Denver citizen, a husband of 25 years, the father of 2 sons; one a Colorado School of Mines, and the other, a soon-to-be freshman at CSU. I spent nearly 20 years in senior executive roles for major corporations. After that, I co-founded, operated and successfully sold two technology companies to larger tech companies, one to Cisco Systems and the other to MegaPath Communications.
I will note here that my last company was Denver’s Fastest Growing Company and Denver’s #1 Company To Work For in 2011 …and it was on the Inc500 list…but I ultimately sold the company in 2012 because we simply could not find the affordable technical personnel in Denver to feasibly grow the company any further.
In January, my wife and I launched our 3rd business venture – Silicon STEM Academy – a tech training company to provide real-world technology skills in a hands-on and collaborative workspace for tech-interested students. Our primary focus is training for kids aged 10 and up, and we recently gained accreditation from the University of Denver to provide continuing education credit to teachers and professionals.
The question we face today is how to ensure that our students have the opportunity to become tech-skilled workers prepared to compete in a global STEM-economy.
Economists call it “global labor arbitrage” – in other words, the substitution of high-wage jobs in advanced economies, with low-wage workers in developing countries. This has created a global shift of jobs, production and economic growth. This is how China in 2007 surpassed the US in the number of college STEM graduates. By 2020, China will produce 1 million computer programmers a year, as the U.S. is on track to be 1 million computer programmers short. Here in Colorado today, we are nearly 15,000 programmers short.
Now, here’s the good news – computer programming is more learnable…and more teachable, today, than ever before. I teach it every day. We have 10-year olds in our advanced Java classes, and 5th graders with apps on the app store. They are ready NOW.
We must teach and train students earlier and faster, and offer industry certifications to students now. The bill will help fuel this change and enable us to regain our leadership in innovation and technology.