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Amazon Announces $2 Mln Donation For Underserved Communities

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Amazon said it will donate a total of $2 million to two Seattle-based non-profit organizations with the aim of helping students from underserved and underrepresented communities in Washington State gain access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM and computer science education.

The donation is part of the e-commerce giant's Amazon Future Engineer program - a four-part childhood-to-career program aimed at expanding computer science access to more students from less affluent or minority groups.

Amazon will donate $1 million to Washington STEM, which works in partnership with ten regional STEM Networks and statewide partners to increase equitable access to STEM education and opportunity.

Another $1 million will be donated by Amazon to the Pacific Science Center or PacSci, a non-profit focused on enabling access to science education.

Amazon noted that PacSci's award-winning, interactive programs serve almost 1 million people each year throughout the state of Washington.

Washington STEM will use the $1 million gift to support its work to ensure all students gain access to the education and opportunities for family-wage careers in Washington State.

It will specifically focus on students of color, girls and young women, and students from low-income backgrounds as well as rural areas.

Angela Jones, CEO of Washington STEM noted that by 2030, 70 percent 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.

"But when you look at the data, only 40 percent of our state's youth are on track to obtain the education they'll need to access these STEM careers," Jones said.

PacSci will use the money to expand its Science On Wheels or SOW flagship outreach program that brings interactive workshops, live stage shows, and portable exhibits throughout Washington State.

PacSci said it will increase the number of students that SOW serves in low-income Title I schools. It will also add a computer science curriculum to go along with the existing curriculum, to teach core concepts and key practices in computational thinking.

Amazon noted that it has invested over $50 million to increase access to computer science/STEM education and also donated more than $20 million to organizations promoting computer science/STEM education across the country.

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