Press Release: 2016 CAC launch



Thousands of students expected to participate in second annual congressional effort to foster youth computer science skills

WASHINGTON, DC – The second annual Congressional App Challenge (CAC) will launch on July 18 and run through November 2, 2016. The CAC is a congressional initiative to encourage student engagement in coding and computer science through local app challenges hosted by the Members of Congress.

Representatives Ed Royce and Seth Moulton are serving as co-chairs of the 2016 Challenge, which has received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House. “We’re incredibly proud that last year, 116 Members of Congress – 58 Republicans and 58 Democrats – hosted successful challenges. Students from 32 states across the country submitted over 500 original apps,” said Rhianon Anderson, Executive Director of the Challenge. “This year, we already have 132 Representatives from 38 states signed up, and we expect more to do so in the coming days.”

During the next 15 weeks, thousands of students in participating Congressional districts will create and submit their own original applications, that will be evaluated by panels of local judges. The Members of Congress will announce the winners in early December. Winners will be honored by their Member of Congress and have their apps featured on a display in the Capitol building. More prizes will be announced throughout the Challenge.

Recognizing the racial, gendered, and other disparities in the tech sector, the CAC emphasizes inclusivity. Deliberate efforts are made to include students from all backgrounds, including those traditionally underrepresented in the tech community. In 2015 for example, 30% of the participants were young women (double the industry average of women in technical roles), and this year, the Congressional App Challenge will strive to build upon those numbers.

The CAC was created because Congress recognizes how essential computer science and STEM skills are for economic growth and innovation, and that the U.S. is currently experiencing a dearth of adequately trained technical talent. By some estimates there are nearly a quarter of a million unfilled programming jobs in the US, right now. The CAC is a congressional effort to maintain American competitiveness, by proactively inspiring our youth and encouraging them to pursue these crucial skills.

The 2016 Congressional App Challenge is only possible thanks to the generous support of our sponsors: Capital One, Intel, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and the United Parcel Service. The Challenge also owes gratitude to Representatives Bob Goodlatte and Anna G. Eshoo, co-chairs of the Congressional Internet Caucus, who requested and supported the creation of the CAC. Challenge execution is supported by the efforts of our Advisory Board, which includes the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, the Computer Science Teachers Association, Girls Who Code, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Capital One, and Cisco, as well as a broad coalition of CS-focused partners.

For further information about the Congressional App Challenge, please visit If you are interested getting more involved or in supporting the Congressional App Challenge, please contact our Director here.