Tech Firms Add $300 Million to Trump Administration's Computer Science Push

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Tech companies are supporting a new Trump administration initiative to encourage disadvantaged and minority groups to study STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - along with computer science.

"Currently, more than half of high schools do not offer computer programming, and almost 40 per cent do not offer physics", Trump said.

"Greater access to STEM and computer science programs will ensure that our children can develop the skills they need to compete and to win in the workforce of tomorrow", Efe quoted Trump as saying.

Following Gilbert, a panel composed of mostly female executives touted the ways their colleagues now support computer science education, including volunteering at in-school and after-school programs and the importance of training teachers to teach these skills.

"The White House, the business community and educators across the country agree that computer science must be made a top priority for American workers to be prepared for the jobs of the 21st century", Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Internet Association, said in a statement. It also establishes a goal of $200 million in spending each year to achieve the improvement in STEM education. This will help equip students with the skills needed to obtain certifications and advanced degrees that ultimately lead to jobs in STEM fields.

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Private individuals and foundations will commit $3 million to nonprofits focused on computer science education, a news release says.

Reed Cordish, assistant to the president, said the $200 million is "a significant investment that does not require additional legislation".

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.

Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce will each commit $50 million to the venture, while Lockheed Martin will contribute $25 million.

Barra has been supportive of STEM education. Quicken Loans has also committed to providing the funding necessary to provide computer science training for at least 15,000 Detroit public school students. Code.org is a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. For example, less than a quarter of students who took the Advanced Placement Computer Science A exam in 2016 were women, according to the College Board.

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