All Maine public schools soon will have access to $5,000 worth of state-provided computer science equipment.

Gov. Janet Mills announced the initiative, which is expected to cost $3 million and be funded with federal CARES act money, on Wednesday. The effort “will enable all Maine students to access high-quality learning experiences that provide real-world training in robotics, programming, augmented and virtual reality, coding, and hardware,” according to a statement announcing the plan.

The decision to prioritize computer science follows a July meeting in which Mills, along with governors from around the country, signed a bipartisan agreement to work to expand K-12 computer science education in their states.

The application to receive the equipment is going out to schools today and schools are scheduled to begin receiving equipment in October. Schools will be able to choose between tools to support students in learning about either robotics and programming, augmented and virtual reality, or coding and hardware.

“Our economy increasingly depends on workers with training in computer science,” Mills said in the statement. “This initiative will ensure that students across our state are prepared to succeed in jobs in the future.”

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