Inside Amazon’s New Partnership to Award STEM Grants
Last year, Amazon announced its launch of Amazon Future Engineer. This program was planned to help further STEM education within classrooms around the country. In order to continue this idea and push the program forward, Amazon announced a new partnership on Friday, April 12. The company will be partnering with the STEM nonprofit organization, FIRST.
FIRST, standing for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, was founded in 1989 to inspire the youth to partake in science and technology studies. The non-profit designs programs to build confidence and knowledge within the fields to encourage young individuals to pursue opportunities within them. With their assistance, Amazon plans to create a series of robotics grants to serve students from different schools in underrepresented and underserved communities in the United States.
The plan between the two organizations begins in the fall of this year, with 100 schools in 21 different states. The program will offer support for FIRST robotics teams as well as teacher education. It will also include an extra $10,000 in funds for the schools and a tour of Amazon fulfillment centers in the areas. Amazon declares they have over 1000,000 robots in its warehouses.
Data from a 5-year study on FIRST showed that the organization’s competitive robotics programs proved useful for youth. The study proved that FIRST students gained significant knowledge, interest, and activity within STEM across all demographic groups. The FIRST students are more likely to major in tech-related science fields once they enter college.
Computer science is a fast-growing profession within the STEM field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects by the year 2020 that there will be 1.4 million computer science related jobs, with only 400,000 graduates in this field. With partnerships such as Amazon and FIRST, schools are taking a step towards closing this gap and educating children to enter the STEM field.
Dave Levin is the co-founder of KIPP Public Schools in Ohio, one of the schools to receive an Amazon Future Engineer Robotics Grant. He said, “The generosity of Amazon will ensure more KIPP students than ever will have the opportunity not only to pursue successful careers in STEM, but help diversify the industry for future generations.”
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