What is the Congressional App Challenge?
The Congressional App Challenge (CAC) is a public effort to encourage kids to learn how to code, through annual district-wide competitions hosted by Members of Congress for their district.
Students in participating districts code original applications for the chance to be selected for recognition by their Member of Congress, win prizes, and have their work put on display in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. The district-wide competitions, now in their third year, take place from July through early November. The CAC is executed by the Congressional staff of each participating district and coordinated by the Congressional Internet Caucus and the non-governmental sponsor of the project, the Internet Education Foundation.
The Congressional App Challenge’s mission is to inspire, include, and innovate efforts around STEM, coding, and computer science education:
- Inspire: To inspire students from every corner of the country to explore STEM, coding and computer science through hands-on practice;
- Include: To actively include and engage students from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in the tech community; and
- Innovate: To innovate policymaking by connecting Members of Congress to new and emerging technologies through personal interactions with their student constituents.
A Brief History of the CAC
In 2013 leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and at the Internet Education Foundation sought to foster an appreciation for computer science and STEM. That year House leadership brought to the floor and overwhelmingly passed House Resolution 77 – Academic Competition Resolution of 2013, 411 votes to 3. Representative Candice Miller, the Chairwoman of the Committee on House Administration and principal sponsor of the bill, spoke on the House floor about the need to inspire students to pursue careers in computer science (YouTube video).
Through House Resolution 77, the U.S. House of Representatives outlined the plans by which Representatives would host district-by-district computer science, or “app,” competitions every year for students. In October of 2015 the Committee on House Administration unanimously passed the rules and regulations allowing each Representative to host an “Officially-Sanctioned” computer science competition in their districts. The rules for “Officially-Sanctioned Competitions” are now ensconced in the Members’ Congressional Handbook.
The rules require that the bipartisan chairs of the Congressional Internet Caucus officially request a new officially-sanctioned “app” competition every Congress. The chairs also request that the Internet Education Foundation serve as the official outside “sponsor” of the competition. The Committee then grants the request in a letter and the Congressional App Challenge begins.
The first official Congressional App Challenge launched under the leadership of the inaugural CAC Co-Chairs Reps. Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) took over as co-chairs in 2016, and in the first 2 years of the Challenge, the CAC has reached nearly 4,000 students across 33 states. Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) were co-chairs in 2017. In 2018 Representatives Suzan DelBene and French Hill became the co-chairs for a two year term. The first 4 years of the Challenge, the CAC has inspired over 14,000 students across 48 states to program an app.
Registration will begin June 1st - students can register here.
If you would like additional information, please reach out to Ansley Deshotel at firstname.lastname@example.org in our Katy, TX office at (281) 505-6130.
Learn how to Code: You can find resources to learn how to code here.
Student Guidelines: You can find rules on the app challenge here.