Long before Arlington and Alexandria welcome the first of 25,000 employees at Amazon’s new HQ2, students in Woodbridge will be getting hands-on training this summer for the jobs of the future, with support from the new Amazon Future Engineer program.
Amazon announced the nationwide program last fall, noting that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million job openings related to computer science and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the right skills to fill the slots, according to a news release. And, despite opportunities for higher salaries, the majority of public elementary and high schools, particularly in less-advantaged communities, do not offer computer science classes.
“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,” said Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s retail CEO. “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 Future Engineer includes several efforts to inspire kids to explore computer science, including coding camps, online lessons, Amazon-funded AP courses and student scholarships.
Amazon Future Engineer is partly funding camp scholarships this summer at NVCC Woodbridge through a partnership with Code.org and Coding with Kids.
Designed by experts, these camps will let underprivileged students discover the potential of coding in an interactive, hands-on way. Children and young people who participate in these activities are more likely to say they like computer science and have confidence in their computer science abilities, according to the release.
Students and parents can apply for summer camp scholarships, and those looking to sponsor students can make donations at codingwithkids.org/amazon.
“This program from Amazon will play an important role in helping make computer science education — and high paying jobs — a reality for female and underrepresented, minority students,” said Hadi Partovi, Code.org founder and CEO. “Computer science education and skills have become essential across all industries today. It’s critical that students from all backgrounds have access to the classes that set them up to succeed and the resources to continue their studies.”
Weekly summer programs, available from July 8-Aug. 2 at NVCC Woodbridge, 2645 College Drive, include “Little Coders,” “Minecraft Modding,” “Scratch Game Development,” “Roblox: Code and Publish Games,” “Robotics for Little Coders” and “Python Game Development.”
Camps are also available at Amazon’s Herndon campus at 13200 Woodland Park Road.