Google, Facebook, Amazon Among Tech Titans Committing $300 Million to...


Google, Facebook, Amazon Among Tech Titans Committing $300 Million to K-12 Computer Science

By Tony Wan     Sep 26, 2017

Google, Facebook, Amazon Among Tech Titans Committing $300 Million to K-12 Computer Science

A gaggle of technology companies joined Ivanka Trump in Detroit this morning to commit more than $300 million to K-12 computer science education programs.

According to the Internet Association, a lobbying group for the industry, the following companies will donate the following amounts during the next five years:

  • Accenture: more than $10 million
  • Amazon: $50 million
  • Facebook: $50 million
  • General Motors: $10 million
  • Google: $50 million
  • Lockheed Martin: $25 million
  • Microsoft: $50 million
  • Pluralsight: $10 million
  • Salesforce: $50 million

Private individuals will also pool together an additional $3 million. Quicken Loans, which hosted the event, will support 15,000 children in Detroit to receive a computer science education.

“The digital economy is no longer just Silicon Valley anymore, that’s why we’re in Detroit,” said Dan Gilbert, CEO of Quicken Loans. “We still have a lot of people out there who don’t have jobs, and we have jobs without people. We have to bridge that gap.”

Survey results and labor statistics collected by suggest there’s a perfect storm of demand for computer science skills and knowledge. More than 500,000 computing jobs are vacant in the United States, and computing occupations make up 71 percent of all new jobs in STEM fields. Yet less than half of U.S. schools offer computer science classes, even though more than 90 percent of parents say they want their kids to learn such skills, according to a Gallup survey commissioned by Google.

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

“No matter what field a student goes into, these basic computer science skills are more and more relevant,” said Maggie Johnson, director of education and university relations for Google. She later added: “There are a lot of ways for younger students to understand how algorithms and data are an essential part of any subject area they’re working on. Just making that explicit connection can be very valuable.”

In a blog post accompanying today’s event, Microsoft shared that it will channel its $50 million through its existing philanthropic efforts such as TEALS, which invites professional computer engineers to volunteer in high schools and help teachers teach the subject.

Salesforce added that its philanthropic arm will also be donating $1 million to’s efforts to provide computer science training for K-12 teachers. (Earlier this month Salesforce announced a $12.2 million commitment to support similar programs for San Francisco and Oakland public schools.)

Spokespeople from Amazon and Facebook did not offer details about how their dollars would be spent.

“Developing the technology and business leaders of tomorrow starts with implementing more computer science programs in early education,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, offered in a statement via email. “Amazon is a long-time supporter of CS and STEM education, and this pledge is a continuation of those efforts.”

Notably absent from the announcement was Apple, which offered this statement to Recode: “Apple is a strong supporter of STEM programs in K-12 and beyond, and we welcome the administration’s new initiative.”

The commitment from private companies follows a memorandum from President Trump that directs $200 million in existing federal grant funding to support computer science education. There won’t be any new money, however: the order simply directs Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to “take this priority into account...when awarding grant funds in fiscal year 2018 and in future years.”

On the second panel, Ivanka Trump offered a nod to how computer science skills can prepare students for career pathways straight out of high school. “There are apprenticeship opportunities that don’t require a four-year college, but that utilize the foundational skill sets of coding and computer science that we’re looking to teach in our students in K-12.”

“Computer science and coding are a priority for the administration as we think about pathways to jobs,” she added. “As part of the guidance to the Department of Education, we require these grants be looked at with gender and racial diversity in mind. That has been an instruction as part of the presidential memorandum to encourage broader participation” in computer science programs.

“It’s important for students to be able to see a reflection of them in the workplace,” said Namrata Gupta, Executive Director of After-School All-Stars Bay Area, a nonprofit organizer of after-school programs for at-risk youth. She later emphasized the importance of “providing space for low-income kids to be the next creators. I think ensuring and keeping nonprofits accountable on creating a space where our kids are the new creators, designers...that’s where you’ll see the new technology coming from in the future.”

We will be updating this post as we learn more specifics about each company’s commitment.

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