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 districts which are hosting an App Challenge 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 district which hosts a Challenge, 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
The idea for the Congressional App Challenge was first publicly introduced in 2013, when the House passed H. Res. 77 – Academic Competition Resolution of 2013 with overwhelming support, 411 to 3. In 2014, the House of Representatives ran a pilot version of the program, under the leadership of Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA). When over 80 Members hosted App Challenges, the House realized the program’s tremendous potential.
In 2015, the Committee on House Administration appointed the Internet Education Foundation, a nonpartisan nonprofit, to serve as the program’s non-governmental sponsor, and launched the first official CAC under Congressional 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. The first 3 years of the Challenge, the CAC has reached nearly 9,000 students across 42 states.