Amazon Makes $2 Million Contribution to Support STEM in Home State

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
Jamie goodman

Amazon is making a $2 million total donation to two Washington nonprofit organizations working to make STEM and computer science education more accessible for hundreds of thousands of Washington State students, especially those from underserved and underrepresented communities.

The donation includes $1 million to Washington STEM, a statewide nonprofit organization that advances excellence, innovation and equity in STEM for all Washington students, and $1 million to the Pacific Science Center (PacSci), a nonprofit focused on igniting curiosity and enabling access to science education.

“We are thrilled to support more hard-working, curious students by helping improve equitable access to STEM and computer science education in our home state of Washington,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon. “We are excited to work with Washington STEM and PacSci – leaders in STEM and computer science education – as they work to create the resources, access, and innovative opportunities Washington students need to build their best futures, from Seattle to Spokane.”

Washington STEM will use the gift to support their work to ensure all students have access to the education and opportunities that will help them thrive in family-wage careers in Washington State. The funds will help fill systems-level gaps—from childhood-to-career—specifically focused on students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, students living in rural areas, and girls and young women.

PacSci will use the gift to grow Science On Wheels (SOW), its flagship outreach program that builds excitement for science, technology, engineering, and math through interactive workshops, live stage shows, and portable exhibits in schools, libraries, and community centers throughout Washington State. PacSci will increase the number of students that SOW serves in low-income Title I schools. PacSci will also add a computer science curriculum to go along with the existing curriculums, which will teach core concepts and key practices in computational thinking.

During the 2018-19 school year, PacSci’s Science On Wheels outreach program served more than 115,000 students in 31 of Washington’s 39 counties. More than 60,000 of these students were in Title I schools in low-income communities.

“By 2030, 70% of all Washington jobs offering a family wage will require education beyond high school in the form of certificates, apprenticeships, two-year and four-year degrees. Two-thirds of these jobs will require STEM skills,” said Angela Jones, CEO, Washington STEM. “But when you look at the data, only 40% of our state’s youth are on track to obtain the education they’ll need to access these STEM careers. Amazon’s investment will help close the gaps we know exist – create access for students of color, rural students, students from low-income backgrounds, and young women – and help put Washington students on pathways to Washington jobs.”

“Pacific Science Center is committed to providing everyone with access to experiences that cultivate curiosity, discovery, experimentation, and critical thinking,” said Will Daugherty, president and CEO, Pacific Science Center. “Science On Wheels has delivered high-quality science education throughout the state of Washington for almost 50 years. With Amazon’s investment and ongoing partnership, Science On Wheels will have more impact than ever, especially in the schools and communities where resources are most scarce. We look forward to working together to serve students, families, and schools in this region.”

Washington STEM is a statewide nonprofit organization working in partnership with ten regional STEM Networks and statewide partners to increase equitable access to STEM education and opportunity. Washington STEM has a long-term vision of increasing equitable access from childhood-to-career with a focus on students of color, students living in rural areas, and students from low-income backgrounds.

PacSci’s mission is to ignite curiosity and fuel a passion for discovery, experimentation, and critical thinking. Their award-winning, interactive programs serve nearly 1 million people each year throughout the state of Washington in their communities, in classrooms, at the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center in Bellevue, and at its seven-acre campus at Seattle Center.

Amazon has invested more than $50 million to increase access to computer science/STEM education and has donated more than $20 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country. Amazon’s primary computer science access program, 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 try computer science. There are currently more than 40 high schools across Washington State that are part of the Amazon Future Engineer high school program.

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