Award: Congressional App Challenge

January 1, 2017

Innovations in American Government Awards

  • AWARD WON: 2017 Semifinalist
  • AWARDEE: Congressional App Challenge
  • DESIGNEE: House of Representatives

The Congressional App Challenge is the first effort to leverage the power and reach of Congress to inspire students of all backgrounds to code through app challenges hosted by Representatives. This challenge has unparalleled capacity to reach students nationwide, and represents the largest set of simultaneous challenges ever held. While companies and nonprofits may have widespread reach, no institution has the all-encompassing reach that the House of Representatives does. In 2014, 80 Representatives hosted challenges. In 2015, that number grew to 116. These 116 Members hosted challenges in 32 states, the largest number of simultaneous, independent challenges ever undertaken. More than 1,700 students signed up to participate and over 500 original apps were submitted. Thanks to deliberate efforts targeted at inclusion, the challenge surpassed tech industry averages on many scales: 30 percent of the participants were young women, while over 10 percent and 13 percent identified as Black or Hispanic, respectively. This turnout demonstrates the true potential of this innovative government initiative to elicit interest in programming while addressing the critical problem of diversity.