By Devin Partida
A growing digital economy is bolstering demand for occupations in science, technology, engineering, and math. This growth will add more than half a million new computer jobs over the next eight years. However, a shortage of STEM professionals means many of these positions may remain empty.
That’s why education has quickly become a front-and-center issue for talent-hungry corporations. To encourage more interest in STEM fields, major companies are supporting learning programs by offering grants, resources, and new opportunities to the next generation of innovators.
Six years ago, tech giant Google launched an initiative that awarded $50 million to organizations that use technology to close the STEM learning gap. Since then, the company has donated millions more to fund grants and college programs.
Google also has several internal STEM programs that help educators and students develop technical skills like coding. Applied Digital Skills offers students free courses that teach the abilities necessary for landing a tech job.
Microsoft has made significant contributions to STEM learning programs as well. Its Minority Student Day provides two renewable $5,000 scholarships to students majoring in STEM. Another program, YouthSpark, aims to empower 300 million young people worldwide through nonprofit cash grants. The company also supports several programs that target technology education and literacy to help close the opportunity divide.
Four years ago, Ivanka Trump started a five-year STEM program to provide $200 million in coding education grants. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg contributed $50 million to support this effort.
Since then, he’s awarded $6.9 million to UC San Diego and UC Berkeley to expand their PATHS program, which offers mentorship and financial aid to students from underrepresented demographics. His company also provided a $68,000 grant to the Newton County School System to ensure students engage in its robotics programs.
4. General Motors
Very few women work in STEM industries and half of those who do say they’ve experienced gender discrimination at work. General Motors recognizes this inequality and is now working to close the gap by partnering with nonprofits like Girls Who Code. In doing so, the company has improved access to computer science education for girls all over the world.
GM has also donated $850,000 and partnered with Code.org, Black Girls Code, Institute of Play, and Digital Promise to help train teachers and educate minority women in tech careers.
Telecommunications giant AT&T has been supporting STEM education programs for nearly 50 years. Its Labs-Fellowship Program, which has existed since 1972, was one of the first to target women and minorities in science and technology. Since then, the company has created dozens of initiatives to further STEM education, including the Young Science Achievers Program, MentorNet, and Labs Research summer camp. AT&T has also contributed nearly $87 million to STEM initiatives over the past 26 years.
For more than 40 years, the Intel Foundation has offered programs that focus on innovation and diversity in technology and STEM education. In 2017, the company also donated $1 million to encourage middle school girls to pursue STEM. Intel has since joined forces with several foundations and funds to launch the Million Girls Moonshot. This program aims to equip 1 million more girls in under-resourced communities with an engineering mindset.
Elevating the Learning Experience
Most major tech companies know that throwing money at a problem won’t make it go away, which is why more corporations are shifting their focus to provide human, technical, and intellectual capital. Many are partnering with local schools to offer free classes, educational panels, hands-on demos, and new technologies to students and teachers alike.
These efforts will help transform education holistically by bringing next-generation ideas, technology, and curriculum to classrooms across the U.S. As more people take advantage of these opportunities and enter STEM fields, they’ll successfully bolster the economy, keep America competitive and become role models for future generations.
Discover more STEM Learning with RobotLAB and prepare your students for the future job positions that these companies are creating!