Amazon has decided to launch its Amazon Future Engineer (AFE) program today in order to help kids from low-income communities learn computer programming skills in order to help fill the gap in the computer science job market. Quoting the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020 there would be 1.4 million computer science jobs, but only 400,000 graduates to fill those positions.
Explaining how it would target different age groups with the AFE program, Amazon said that kindergarteners through to those in 8th grade would be able to take part in online lessons and summer camps. Amazon said it has partnered with Code.org and Coding with Kids in order to deliver these lessons. It said kids taking part would have more confidence in their computer science abilities.
For students in 9th through 12th grade, Amazon said it will offer Intro to Computer Science and AP Computer Science courses. It said that students who undergo these courses would get a significant boost in their aim to work in a computer science job, underprivileged students are eight to ten times more likely to study computer science in college if they’ve done a course in high school, according to Amazon.
As for college students, Amazon plans to offer $10,000 each year for individuals from low-income families. These 4-year “Amazon Scholar” college scholarships will be available to people who have completed an AP Computer Science course and want to get a degree in the subject, setting them up for a job in the field. Amazon is now taking applications for funds for students who plan to start their college course in Fall, 2019, you can find out more here.
College freshman students who are successful in their application with Amazon will be able to take part in a paid software development internship at Amazon. These internships will kick-off in summer 2020 and those taking part will partner with a technical mentor and other interns to build new features and services for Amazon.
Discussing the news, Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon, said:
“Among Black and Hispanic students, those who take AP computer science in high school are up to 8 times more likely to take computer science in college, and among women, they are 10 times more likely to do so—yet most high schools don’t offer these courses. Computer science skills are some of the most in-demand in the modern economy, and we have created Amazon Future Engineer because we believe young people from all backgrounds should have help from childhood to career so they can have a future in this highly paid, rapidly-growing field.”
Amazon trialed the AFE program during 2017 and 2018 and said that it saw a good response, now it will be able to bring it to a wide audience.