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Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Salesforce and other top technology companies plan to commit a total of about $300 million toward boosting computer-science education in the United States, as the White House seeks to prepare more students and workers for jobs of the future.
The tech giants are set to announce their new investments on Tuesday in Detroit, at an event spearheaded by Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser. It comes a day after President Donald Trump signed a policy memo, first reported by Recode, that directs the U.S. government to devote more grant dollars toward coding education and similar programs.
As part of the initiative, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce each have committed $50 million, Lockheed Martin plans to spend $25 million, and others, including General Motors, have guaranteed $10 million for the effort, according to the Internet Association, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group that helped organize the corporate pledges. The donations are spread over a period of five years.
In addition, Salesforce.org, the philanthropic portion of the software giant, plans to offer another $1 million to Code.org, a computer-minded nonprofit that has worked with the Trump administration and with former President Barack Obama on improving science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — education. Quicken Loans, which is based in Detroit, is focusing its efforts on boosting coding programs in local public schools.
“Today’s renewed commitment to high-quality computer science education made by the Trump Administration, the internet industry, and other businesses will help ensure all students develop the skills they need to succeed in the digital economy,” said Michael Beckerman, the leader of the Internet Association, in a statement.
But the financial support and public praise — and the decision by tech executives to join Ivanka Trump in Detroit on Tuesday — stands in stark contrast to the industry’s many clashes with the White House in recent months.
Amazon, for example, repeatedly has been in the president’s rhetorical cross hairs, as Trump continues to take aim on Twitter at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who owns The Washington Post. And the e-commerce giant has joined companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft in sharply opposing the president’s policies on everything from climate change to immigration.
But those same tech companies also have implored the U.S. government for many years to boost computer science education spending. Many partnered with the since-departed Obama administration on similar efforts. More recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook has called on Trump directly to require coding classes in public schools. And while the iPhone giant is not among the tech companies committing cash as part of the White House’s new project today, it still offered early support for the efforts.
“Apple is a strong supporter of STEM programs in K-12 and beyond, and we welcome the administration’s new initiative,” a spokesman said. “We believe that every student should have the chance to learn to code since it creates creative and economic opportunities that last a lifetime.”