Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced it will fund computer science courses in more than 1,000 high schools across all 50 states and the District of Columbia reaching tens of thousands of students from underprivileged, underrepresented, or underserved communities, through its Amazon Future Engineer program. Of the more than 1,000 high schools, more than 700 are classified as Title I schools. Amazon’s funding provides full-year courses designed to inspire, prepare and propel students of all backgrounds to pursue a computer science education and career.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs. Computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field, but only 8% of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, with a tiny minority from underprivileged backgrounds. Students from underprivileged backgrounds are 8 to 10 times more likely to pursue college degrees in computer science if they have taken AP computer science in high school.
“Our students are hungry for computer science education, but we could not get the funding to bring this class to our school,” said Chad Bobb, a teacher at Pike High School, a Title I school in Indianapolis, Indiana. “Amazon Future Engineer allows us to open our students’ eyes to something that is both interesting and can lead them into rewarding, thriving careers.”
“It is so important to ensure that every student in the U.S. has the opportunity to be well-prepared for the highly technical jobs of the present and future,” said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. “I welcome initiatives such as the Amazon Future Engineer program that can increase opportunities for young people who have too long been underrepresented in STEM jobs due to race, gender, or socioeconomic status. I’d like to offer my congratulations to the schools in Dallas, and across the country, who have taken the lead in working to promote solutions to this issue by increasing access to computer science education.”
“The U.S. Chamber’s Technology Engagement Center is pleased to see Amazon expand this program, as computer science and all STEM education programs are critical to the workforce of the future,” said Tim Day, Senior Vice President of the Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC). “More students will have access to the tools they need to be successful, and more businesses will be able to hire employees with the skills necessary to compete in a data driven economy.”
“We want to ensure that every child, especially those from underprivileged communities, has an opportunity to study computer science,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon. “We are excited more than 1,000 schools will now provide these courses, and look forward to adding 1,000 more schools over the coming months.”
The more than 1,000 high schools will offer Intro to Computer Science and AP Computer Science classes through curriculum provider, Edhesive. Amazon’s funding provides preparatory lessons, tutorials, professional development for teachers, fully sequenced and paced digital curriculum for students, and live online support every day of the week for both teachers and students. All students participating in this program will receive a free membership to AWS Educate, which provides them with free access to computing power in the AWS Cloud for their coding projects and content to learn about cloud computing.
Launched in November, 2018, Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underprivileged, underrepresented, and underserved communities to pursue careers in the fast-growing field of computer science. Each year, Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire more than 10 million kids to explore computer science; provide over 100,000 young people in over 2,000 high schools access to Intro or AP Computer Science courses; award 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships, as well as offer guaranteed and paid Amazon internships to gain work experience. Amazon Future Engineer is part of Amazon’s $50 million investment in computer science/STEM education. In addition, Amazon Future Engineer has donated more than $10 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country.
Schools, administrators, and teachers interested in applying to any stage of the Amazon Future Engineer program can apply and learn more here.
For more information about Amazon Future Engineer, check out About Amazon.
About ‘Amazon in the Community’
Amazon is committed to ensuring all children and young adults, especially those from underprivileged, underrepresented, and underserved communities, have the resources and skills they need to build their best future. Amazon focuses on building long-term, innovative, and high impact programs that leverage Amazon’s unique assets and culture. Programs include Amazon Future Engineer, designed to inspire and excite children and young adults from underprivileged and underrepresented communities to pursue an education in computer science, as well as programs that support “Right Now Needs,” fighting childhood hunger, family homelessness, and disaster relief.
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon.