Tech companies support Trump's STEM education plan

Ivanka Trump spearheads $200M STEM effort	 	 	 			Ivanka Trump speaks at an event at the White House in 2017

Washington, Sep 26 (IANS) US President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the Education Department to invest at least $200 million annually in grants funding schools in the country so they can expand their teaching in the areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Ivanka Trump, the President's daughter and White House adviser, is joining business leaders from some of the companies to to unveil a series of "private-sector commitments" to technical education in Detroit Tuesday, the Internet Association said. To emphasize the need for such an initiative, the White House cited statistics showing that less than half of high schools now offer computer programming and that almost 40% of high schools did not offer physics in 2015. Ivanka says access to high-quality STEM education is lacking in too numerous country's K-12 and postsecondary schools. "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, Internet Association president and chief executive, in a statement.

Money for the grants has been appropriated by Congress, officials said.

"Right now less than half of American schools have even a single computer science course so we have to do better - we are going to do better and this is a giant leap forward in that direction", Ivanka said. Monday's memoranda is focused on high-quality jobs in the STEM field that require specific knowledge and/or education. She also cited statistics that show the percent of women in the computer science workforce declined from 35.3% in 1990 to 22.2% in 2016, "even though women represent 47% of the overall US labor force". Representatives from Amazon, Facebook, Google, GM, and Quicken Loans will be in attendance, among others. The donations are spread over a period of five years.

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Far more can be done to improve participation in STEM and Computer Science education among women, minorities, and students in rural communities. "Amazon is a long-time supporter of CS and STEM education, and this pledge is a continuation of those efforts".

"Whether a student wishes to be a lawyer, a nurse, a scientist or a coder, a background in computer science will provide a critical foundation for the future", Partovi said.

In a news release, the Education Department said it had a "goal of devoting" that sum each year toward STEM and computer science education.

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