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Amazon announced yesterday “a new partnership to bring computer science and robotics to up to 30 Title 1 Seattle Public Schools as part of the Amazon Future Engineer program. Amazon is providing each of the schools with an Amazon Future Engineer Robotics grant to inspire the next generation of computer scientists, with a focus on students from underrepresented and underserved communities. Each of the schools will receive support to launch FIRST robotics teams, including teacher professional development to learn about robotics, support from Amazon to expand access to computer science education in their school, and a private tour of an Amazon robotics fulfillment center in Kent, Washington.”

The announcement says that “the mission of FIRST, curriculum provider for Amazon Future Engineer Robotics grants, is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills to students in grades K-12.”
KC's View:
Here’s the bottom line from the announcement: “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.”

Amazon is doing more than just funding and partnering on educational programs. It is giving itself an inside advantage in attracting and hiring people with the skills to keep it relevant and vital years from now.