The Amazon Future Engineer program has reached a new milestone. It is funding computer science courses in more than 2,000 high schools supporting students from underserved and underrepresented communities across the country. Amazon is funding full-year Intro and AP computer science courses, primarily for public Title I schools that have never offered AP computer science courses before. These courses benefit more than 100,000 high school students, from Nenana, AK to Washington, D.C., as part of the four-part, childhood-to-career program, that works to inspire and educate 10 million children and young adults each year. Jeff Bezos made a surprise visit to one of the Amazon Future Engineer high schools, Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. to celebrate this milestone.
“We applaud the teachers who took the initiative to bring these courses to their deserving students, and we are humbled to be a part of the important work they do in their classrooms across the country every single day,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon. “This is an important milestone for our Amazon Future Engineer program and its quest to make sure more students, especially those from underserved and underrepresented communities, have the access to and the opportunity to dive deep into an exciting computer science education.”
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.
Amazon Future Engineer provides access to computer science courses in all 2,000 schools through its curriculum providers—Edhesive and Code.org. Since the beginning of the 2019/2020 school year, the vast majority of the highs schools accepted in the Amazon Future Engineer program are public schools that have received or are eligible for Title I funding.
“Having Amazon Future Engineer fund courses for our students in rural Oregon means we are able to give our students exposure to technology rich skills that directly impact their future career choice,” said Kyle Sipe, Instructional Coach and Robotics Mentor, Umatilla High School. “Because of this program, we can alter the knowledge base of our students and assist them to select a career that better suits our local job market's needs. Amazon Future Engineer has given our kids the amazing opportunity to get relevant and applicable technology content.”
“As demand for computer science skills impacts a wide range of industries from manufacturing to customer service, the demand for a diverse labor force equipped with technical capabilities also rises,”, said Congresswoman Haley Stevens (MI). “It’s why we applaud all efforts from the public and private sector to increase access to a robust computer science education and to nurture the growth of our nation’s economy. I am looking forward to seeing all that the next generation of students in Michigan’s 11th district will achieve, as the Amazon Future Engineer program launches at high schools there and across the country.”
“We have future scientists, engineers, and inventors in our classrooms throughout the District, and I am proud that we have resources like Amazon’s Future Engineer program to provide them with the learning opportunities they need to achieve their goals,” said District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee. “We are excited to welcome the Amazon team to Dunbar High School to see our students in action, and their passion and excitement for computer science is what drives us to continue to expand our STEM programming through Nation Academy Foundation (NAF) Academies, courses, extracurricular activities, and more.”
In addition to funding so schools can offer Intro & AP computer science courses, Amazon funding also 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 educators and students participating in this program have access to a no-cost membership with AWS Educate, Amazon’s global initiative to provide students comprehensive resources for building skills in cloud technology. Students will receive content to learn about cloud computing and access to the AWS cloud for their coding projects.
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 underrepresented and underserved communities to pursue careers in the fast-growing field of computer science. Each year, Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire millions of kids to explore computer science; provides over 100,000 young people in over 2,000 high schools access to Intro or AP Computer Science courses; awards 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships, as well as offers 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.