WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of major companies led by the technology industry announced plans Tuesday to commit more than $300 million over five years to boost computer science programs among younger students.
Amazon.com Inc, Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc, Microsoft Corp, and Salesforce.com Inc announced in Detroit they are committing $50 million for kindergarten through 12th grade educational efforts, the Internet Association, a trade group representing tech companies that helped organize the effort said.
Lockheed Martin Corp agreed to commit $25 million, Accenture more than $10 million, General Motors Co $10 million and Pluralsight $10 million, the group said.
“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,” Michael Beckerman, who heads the Internet Association, said.
White House advisor Ivanka Trump said in a statement that given the growing role of technology across all sectors of American industry, it was vital that students became fluent in coding and computer science.
According to Code.org, a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, there are more than 500,000 open computing jobs, but only 50,000 computer science graduates each year. Less than half of schools in the U.S. offer computer science courses.
Microsoft said Tuesday the number of unfilled computing jobs was expected to be over 1.7 million jobs by the end of next year.
On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an order directing the Education Department to set a goal of devoting at least $200 million per year in grant funds toward improving computer science for younger students, but did not identify a funding source for the grants.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Susan Thomas