(Redmond, WA, Wednesday, December 4, 2019) – It’s estimated more than 85 million jobs worldwide will go unfilled by 2030 if we don’t bridge the STEM skills gap. Yet schools are struggling to implement quality STEM curriculum and prepare students for career paths that are just starting to emerge. Microsoft is committed to ensuring no one is left behind when it comes to comes to STEM education, and in support of Computer Science Education Week December 9 – 15, their stores are hosting over 400 events with STEM influencers throughout the US, Canada, UK & Australia. With a focus on inclusion around underrepresented students, the free workshops are partnering with Deaf Kids Code, Black Girls Code, Latin Kids Coding, MANCODE (underrepresented male minorities) and more. Find your local store at Microsoft.com/store/events to see what free events are taking place in your area.

Computer Science Education Week is an annual program created to inspire K-12 students to take an interest in computer science worldwide. This year, there are more than 100,000 events hosted in honor of this program worldwide.

As part of Computer Science Education Week, schools around the world will organize an Hour of Code, many using the free Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial, a coding lesson in the game-based learning platform students know and love. The 2019 tutorial teaches students coding with MakeCode and introduces the basics of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Students will write code to prevent forest fires and save a village in an immersive Minecraft world. The lesson is based on a real-world example of AI used for forest conservation, inspired by a Microsoft AI for Earth project.

The lesson is available year-round to anyone on Windows, macOS, or iPad as a login-free demo, no subscription required. Just download the app straight from the Minecraft: Education Edition website. If you are licensed through Office 365, you can sign in with your school account. Minecraft Hour of Code is available in 20 languages at: aka.ms/minecrafthourofcode.

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