Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Metro Nashville Public Schools today announced a new partnership to bring computer science courses and robotics to 24 schools supporting students from underserved or underrepresented communities, as part of the Amazon Future Engineer program. Amazon is providing 21 elementary, middle and high schools with robotics programming, which includes funding to launch FIRST robotics clubs along with teacher professional development, $10,000 to expand access to computer science education at each school, which could include field trips, hardware, and technology upgrades, and access to a tour of an Amazon robotics fulfillment center. In addition, Amazon also plans to fund Intro and AP computer science courses in three Metro Nashville high schools and more than 45 total high schools across the state of Tennessee, benefitting more than 1,000 local students.
“We are excited to team with Metro Nashville Public Schools to help more local students, especially those from underserved and underrepresented communities, develop the skills they need to build their best future,” said Dave Clark, Amazon SVP, Worldwide Operations. “Amazon Future Engineer will help students have positive, early, and frequent interactions with computer science so that they can become the innovators of tomorrow at Amazon or beyond – and continue to strengthen the economy and community of Nashville.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs. Computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field, but only 8% of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, with a tiny minority from underprivileged backgrounds. Students from underprivileged backgrounds are 8 to 10 times more likely to pursue college degrees in computer science if they have taken AP computer science in high school.
“We are always looking for new ways to teach our students, and we are elated that Amazon is bringing some of its brightest minds and most innovative resources to our MNPS classrooms,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle, interim Director of Schools.
The FIRST robotics programs will be brought to Metro Nashville Public Schools Magnet STEAM schools. These schools focus on science, technology, engineering, art and math, linking those disciplines to life skills that reach far beyond the classroom. The Magnet Schools focus on diversity, innovative curriculums, professional development, academic excellence, and partnerships – such as this new partnership with Amazon.
The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills to students in grades K-12. Data from a 5-year longitudinal study of FIRST by Brandeis University shows competitive FIRST robotics programs works for all youth. Across all demographic groups (gender, race, economic status and geography), FIRST students show significant gains in STEM knowledge, STEM interest, STEM career interest, STEM identity, and STEM activity compared to their peers who don’t participate. FIRST students are more likely to major in tech-focused science fields in college; by their second year of college, over 50 percent declare majors in engineering or technology. The impact on young women in FIRST is particularly profound. By their first year of college, female alumnae of FIRST are 3.6 times more likely to take an engineering course, and 1.9 times more likely to take a computer science course than female comparison students.
The Amazon Future Engineer high schools will receive funding from Amazon to offer Intro & AP computer science courses. Amazon’s funding also provides preparatory lessons, tutorials, professional development for teachers, fully sequenced and paced digital curriculum for students, and live online support every day of the week for both teachers and students. All students participating in this program will receive a free membership to AWS Educate, which provides them with free access to computing power in the AWS Cloud for their coding projects and content to learn about cloud computing.
Launched in November 2018, Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to pursue careers in the fast-growing field of computer science. Each year, Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire millions of kids to explore computer science; provides over 100,000 young people in over 2,000 high schools access to Intro or AP Computer Science courses; awards 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships, as well as offers guaranteed and paid Amazon internships to gain work experience. Amazon Future Engineer is part of Amazon’s $50 million investment in computer science/STEM education. In addition, Amazon Future Engineer has donated more than $10 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country.
Amazon is already working with Middle Tennesseans to bring 5,000 new jobs in downtown Nashville over the coming months and years. Amazon Nashville will serve as the eastern U.S. hub for Amazon’s retail operations business, and will include tech and management teams working on customer fulfillment, customer service, transportation, supply chain management, and similar activities. Tennessee, Davidson County and the city of Nashville will benefit from $1 billion in new tax revenues over the next 10 years as a result of Amazon’s investment and job creation. Since announcing its move to Nashville, Amazon has donated $800,000 to Tennessee State University to endow a professorship in computer science, $106,000 to Communities in Schools to support local public schools, $100,000 to Project Return, an organization dedicated to the successful new beginnings of people who are returning to the community after incarceration, and $500,000 to The Store, a year-round free grocery store allowing people to shop for their basic needs.
The schools participating in Amazon Future Engineer within MNPS include:
Robotics Elementary Schools
Robotics Middle Schools
Robotics High Schools
Computer Science High Schools
Schools, teachers, students, and parents can visit www.AmazonFutureEngineer.com to apply or to learn more information about the program.
About Amazon in the Community
Amazon is committed to helping more children and young adults, especially those from underrepresented and underserved communities, have the resources and skills they need to build their best future. Amazon focuses on building long-term, innovative, and high impact programs that leverage Amazon’s unique assets and culture. Initiatives include Amazon Future Engineer, designed to inspire and excite 10 million children and young adults from underserved and underrepresented communities each year to pursue an education in computer science, as well as programs that support immediate needs, including addressing family homelessness through donations and housing a homeless shelter in its Seattle headquarters, as well as global relief efforts for people in need following natural disasters.
About Metro Nashville Public Schools
Metro Nashville Public Schools is one of the nation’s top 50 largest school districts, preparing more than 85,000 students for higher education, work and life. With the goal of being the first choice for Nashville families, Metro Schools is committed to #ExceedingGreatExpectations with the mission of delivering a great public education to every student, every day. The district is earning a national reputation for urban school reform, social and emotional learning and rising academic achievement. The governing body for Metro Schools is the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Public Education, a nine-member elected body. For more information, visit MNPS.org, or follow us on Twitter @MetroSchools or Facebook /MetroSchools.
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $80 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRSTRobotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRSTTech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST LEGO League for Grades 4-8; and FIRSTLEGO League Jr. for Grades K-4. Gracious Professionalismis a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.firstinspires.org.
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.