Today, the retail giant announced the Canadian launch of Amazon Future Engineer, committing $3 million CAD over three years to fund free computer science learning opportunities for an estimated one million Canadian students and teachers from across the country.
The new program will fund free computer science learning opportunities for an estimated one million Canadian students and teachers.
The program aims to empower and encourage children and young adults from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue the discipline via free computer science lessons, tutorials, and workshops focused on coding, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. It will be delivered by three charities dedicated to computer science and STEM education: Canada Learning Code, Kids Code Jeunesse, and TakingITGlobal.
“Amazon has supported Canada Learning Code in many ways over the years, from enabling projects to ensure we’re delivering experiences to those who need them most, to providing hundreds of volunteer hours, to working with us to navigate the shift from in-person learning experiences to virtual due to COVID-19,” said Melissa Sariffodeen, CEO and co-founder of Canada Learning Code.
According to a recent survey from research firm Maru/Blue, 63 percent of Canadian parents of elementary and high school students think children don’t possess the computer skills necessary to succeed in virtual learning. This finding suggests Canadian students might be unprepared for work in the digital economy, which the Information and Communications Technology Council projects will need 147,000 additional workers by 2022.
“The next decade is a critical one for our planet and our people, and we will only be able to build a fair and just future if we equip the next generation with the skills they need to thrive in a digital world,” said Kate Arthur, CEO and founder of Kids Code Jeunesse. “With Amazon Future Engineer’s support, we will be engaging students not just to think about how AI works—but how decisions are made, and how technology can help solve real-world problems”
The new program will support in-class workshops for elementary school students and teachers, organized by Canada Learning Code, that focus on basic coding skills. Through Kids Code Jeunesse, the program will also fund training for middle and high school-aged students and teachers related to AI, machine learning, and ethics.
Through TakingITGlobal’s Connected North Program, Amazon aims to support teachers working in the program’s network of 100 schools located in remote Indigenous communities with self-serve training and lesson plans and computer science workshops.
In September, Amazon announced plans to create 3,500 jobs in Toronto and Vancouver. Last week, the company stated it intends to open two new sortation centres and three delivery stations in Quebec, which it claims will create more than 1,000 jobs in the province by 2022.
Photo courtesy of Amazon