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AI education is critical for an equitable tomorrow

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 (ages 25-34) in urban America increased from 26 percent to 39 percent, while in rural America, this number increased only by 6 percent(15 percent to 21 percent). This divide can be attributed to the convergence of resources, talent, and opportunities in urban clusters.

A game-changing tool for intervention – one primed to reshape these metrics for rural America, revitalize their economies, and uplift their people – is AI education. Today, the demand for AI adoption is increasing across the world. In fact, AI’s contribution to the global GDP is expected to soar to $15.7 trillion by 2030.

The technology’s applications span a range of business functions and industries, holding the promise of new efficiencies and automation. Therefore, partaking in opportunities that enable skills in the technology is imperative.

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

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

Building the right foundation with effective courses and curriculum

A strong background in STEM is key to embracing AI – both as a career path and as a tool for business transformation. However, resources are scant in rural communities. According to a 2020 report, only 47 percent of high schools in America teach Computer Science courses. In non-urban areas only 43 percent of high schools in rural areas and 41 percent high schools in towns teaching computer science. In suburban and city areas, this number is 57 percent and 44 percent respectively.

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