Grant helps 4-H expand access to computer science education to multiple counties statewide

OSU Extension’s Mobile Design Lab

COLUMBUS, Ohio–Thanks to a grant from Google, at least 1,500 more Ohio youth will have increased access to computer science education offered by Ohio 4-H.

The funds are part of a $5 million grant to National 4-H Council to help expand access to computer science. In Ohio, the funds will go towards offering computer science programming to an additional 1,500 youth across the state by Ohio 4-H professionals, said Kirk Bloir, state 4-H leader and assistant director, Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio 4-H, the youth development arm of OSU Extension, offers 4-H programs to youth in all 88 of Ohio’s counties. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

As America’s largest youth development organization, Ohio 4-H, which served 84,330 students in 4-H clubs in all Ohio counties last year, emphasizes leadership and citizenship skills. Ohio youth, ages 5–19, participate in 4-H through community clubs, camps, schools, and short-term experiences. 

The grant will allow 4-H to expand its Clovers CODE (Creating Opportunities Designed for Everyone) statewide programing that introduces problem-solving, computer literacy and coding through hands-on activities. The programing is offered in 50 counties across the state through OSU Extension’s Mobile Design Lab, a 35- foot bus that helps deliver on-site educational programming across the state in areas where computer science education resources are limited.

“Our goal is to move youth from content consumers of technology to content creators with technology,” said Mark Light, leader, Ohio 4-H STEM and digital engagement specialist, who also leads the Clovers CODE initiative.

4-H experts at OSU Extension will act as lead advisors for developing 45 computer science activities on CLOVER by 4-H, a national computer science e-learning initiative. This will help expand access to computer science education for young people anytime, anywhere.

“We’re proud to be the lead state with National 4-H Council and Google, thinking about how we promote computer science career pathways with even more youth,” Bloir said. “Our Clovers CODE program mobile design lab will be able to reach even more youth across the state and make sure that we truly are a program focused on building Ohio’s future today.”

The grant was announced yesterday during a youth coding event at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on the Columbus campus. Several Ohio 4-H students learned how to create code for animation during the event, which was also attended by Jon Husted, Lt. Governor of Ohio.

“We’re delighted that the Lt. governor could join us,” Bloir said. “This complements OSU Extension’s work, including how we’re bringing broadband across the state and how we’re creating future entrepreneurs and creating foundational opportunities for youth to find good paying careers in the computer sciences career pathways and stay here in Ohio.

“This is especially significant, as we think of all the infrastructure that’s being devoted to coming to the state. And we appreciate the administrations’ opportunities to continue to provide opportunities for us to grow and to contribute to that.”

Clovers CODE began in Franklin County and since 2019 has grown to impact 15,000 4-H youth in 50 counties.

Tracy Turner
For more information, contact: 

Kirk Bloir

Mark Light