Detroit — Internet Association announced in Detroit on Tuesday a $300 million private-sector commitment dedicated to K-12 computer science programs.
The pledge was made two hours before the arrival of White House adviser Ivanka Trump to Detroit. It is to complement President Donald Trump’s Monday presidential memorandum that directed the U.S. Department of Education to make science, technology, engineering and math as well as computer science a priority within competitive grant programs, Internet Association officials said.
Ivanka Trump is joining Internet Association and donor companies in Detroit to discuss the importance of computer science education.
The private investment will be funded by Internet Association member companies and other businesses and individuals over five years. The presidential directive means the federal government will spend a minimum of $200 million in grant funding to expand STEM and computer science education.
Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce will each commit $50 million. Other promised money is $25 million from Lockheed Martin, $10 million from Accenture, $10 million from General Motors Co. and $10 million from Pluralsight.
“Today’s renewed commitment to high-quality computer science education made by the Trump administration, the internet industry, and other businesses will help ensure all students develop the skills they need to succeed in the digital economy. It’s essential that the public and private sectors work together to ensure all American students have the opportunity to learn computer science and take part in the fastest growing sector of our economy,” said Michael Beckerman, Internet Association president and chief executive, in a statement.
Private individuals and foundations will commit $3 million to nonprofits focused on computer science education, a news release says.
Detroit-based Quicken Loans will commit the money “required to ensure more than 15,000 Detroit Public Schools students receive the computer science training they deserve.” The news release did not disclose the amount.
Intuit and Internet Association are also providing a significant contribution, Internet Association officials said.
“The Trump administration is committed to aligning the skills being taught to our students with the jobs being created in the economy of the future. Given the growing role of technology across all sectors of American industry, it is vital that our students become fluent in coding and computer science and the decisive actions of the Administration and the private sector this week represent a giant leap forward in this direction,” Ivanka Trump said in a statement.
The announcement will be formally made during an event in Detroit, featuring the president’s daughter; Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn Hewson; Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert; Salesforce.org CEO Rob Acker; Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi; and Beckerman.
Other companies and organizations represented will be Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, After-School All-Stars, and Michigan Math & Science Centers Network.
Spread over the next five years, the financial commitment is designed to close the skills gap for computing jobs in today’s economy, IA officials said.
According to Code.org, there are more than 500,000 open computing jobs in sectors as diverse as agriculture and banking, but only 50,000 computer science graduates each year. Less than half of America’s schools offer computer science courses, yet 90 percent of parents want them in their schools, said Code.org, a computer science nonprofit that says 20 percent of the nation’s students are enrolled on its platform.
“Whether a student wishes to become a lawyer, a nurse, a scientist, or a coder, a background in computer science will provide a critical foundation for the future,” said Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi. “Today’s announcement wouldn’t be possible without the passionate work of hundreds of thousands of teachers in the past four years. Their local support in classrooms has powered an international movement to modernize education.”
A senior administration official said the administration will defer to local leadership to decide the best way to teach computer science and STEM, and to show the Education Department of Education which programs they want to expand. Officials said they hope to encourage the participation of young girls and minorities in particular.
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