Tech giants pledge millions to Trump initiative

Tech giants pledge millions to Trump initiative
© Getty Images

The Trump administration announced Tuesday in Detroit that Facebook, Google, Microsoft and other companies are committing more than $300 million toward computer science education programs over the next five years.

First daughter Ivanka Trump attended an event in the city championing technical training for high skilled jobs in computer science and engineering.

“Computer science and coding are priorities for the administration as we think about pathways to jobs and alignment of education to in demand jobs in the modern economy,” Trump said.

Officials from Lockheed Martin, Quicken Loans and the Internet Association, a trade group representing major tech firms, which coordinated the $300 million donations, were also in attendance.

ADVERTISEMENT
The funding is a part of the White House’s new initiative to boost STEM and computer science education in grades K-12, which the administration announced on Monday.

The initiative will combine the $300 million from the private sector with at least another $200 million from the Department of Education. The money will be spent on computer science curriculums around the country starting in the 2018 fiscal year.

Most high schools in the U.S. currently offer no computer science education, something the White House’s program hopes to change.

Tech companies are pledging a lion’s share of the money.

Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce each committed $50 million. Accenture, General Motors and Pluralsight will each give $10 million. Lockheed Martin committed another $25 million. Three million dollars will be contributed by foundations and private individuals, who were not named by the Internet Association, who along with Intuit is also “providing a significant contribution.”

“We are looking forward to seeing innovation across the states as they apply for grants. We do have a major diversity problem in the tech industry. We need to come together to solve for that,” said Hadi Partovi, CEO of Code.org, a nonprofit focused on expanding computer science education.

Administration officials stressed that the money will be targeted toward helping racial and gender inequity within education, which they hope translates into fixing Silicon Valley’s “enormous problem” in gender wage gaps.

“The workplace is changing. We need to create new pathways for all our citizens to get the best jobs,” President Trump said Monday.

“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," said Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Internet Association.

This story updated at 4:41 p.m.