Amazon 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, which enroll students from underprivileged communities. 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 schools selected for the program were not identified in a news release announcing the initiative.
“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.”
1.4 million jobs
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.
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.