Amazon to fund computer science classes at 1,000 U.S. high schools through Future Engineer program

Amazon Future Engineer students. (Business Wire Photo)

Amazon said its Future Engineer program will fund computer science classes at more than 1,000 high schools in all 50 states by this fall.

This is a rapid expansion for the program that launched in November. Down the road, Amazon aims to reach more than 10 million kids with the coding activities and lessons each year and provide more than 100,000 students in more than 2,000 high schools access to introductory or advanced computer science courses.

As part of the program, Amazon also plans to award 100 students with four-year, $10,000 scholarships and paid internships at the company to gain work experience. Future Engineer is part of a larger $50 million investment from Amazon in computer science and STEM education.

Amazon will offer the classes through online education company Edhesive. Amazon previously teamed up with Edhesive to sponsor schools that wanted to implement its curriculum for AP Computer Science. Students will receive a membership to AWS Educate, a free program for students as young as 14 to learn about cloud computing.

Citing U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, Amazon says by next year there will be 1.4 million jobs requiring computer science expertise but only 400,000 computer science graduates with the necessary skills. Amazon wants to bridge that gap, specifically for underprivileged kids and underserved communities.

“We want to ensure that every child, especially those from underprivileged communities, has an opportunity to study computer science,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon, said in a statement. “We are excited more than 1,000 schools will now provide these courses, and look forward to adding 1,000 more schools over the coming months.”