- Private sector offers $300 million boost to STEM training
- Quicken Loans to train 15,000 Detroit students
- GM also joins tech giants ahead of announcement in Detroit
The lobbying arm of U.S. internet companies announced Tuesday a $300 million commitment from leading technology companies toward STEM education at an event in Detroit with Ivanka Trump and Quicken Loans Inc. Chairman Dan Gilbert.
The private sector commitment to STEM education followed President Donald Trump’s action on Monday directing U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to divert $200 million of her department’s budget to education in STEM and computer coding to meet the demands of U.S. employers.
Ivanka Trump, daughter and influential adviser to the president, said new federal grants will place an emphasis on racial and gender diversity in teaching young people computer skills needed to fill high-tech jobs of the future.
“We have a major diversity problem in the tech industry,” Trump said at an event inside a Gilbert-owned building at Campus Martius.
Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and cloud computing firm Salesforce Inc. said they will contribute $50 million each over five years through the Internet Association’s new commitment to boosting education programs in science, technology, engineering and math.
Executives for all five companies were on hand for the announcement Tuesday morning at Detroit Design 139, a display of real estate development projects across Detroit inside the lobby of the Gilbert-owned 1001 Woodward building.
Detroit-based automaker General Motors Co., management consulting giant Accenture PLC and and online education firm Pluralsight are donating $10 million each to the cause.
Quicken Loans is committing to pay for computer science training for 15,000 students in Detroit Public Schools Community District.
Gilbert said his company still struggles to fill information technology jobs.
“We still have a lot of people out there who don’t have jobs,” Gilbert said. “And we have a lot of jobs without people.”
Trump was joined on a panel by Gilbert, Salesforce.org CEO Rob Acker and Marillyn Hewson, president, CEO and chairman of Lockheed Martin. Gilbert said Ivanka Trump asked him to host the event in Detroit.
“Our goal is to really create pathways for jobs for all Americans, even those who opt out of a four-year college model, because there are plenty of opportunities, many of which are currently going unfilled in the economy,” Trump said.
Aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin pledged a $25 million donation, while private individuals and foundations are committing another $3 million.
Hewson said more than half of her company’s philanthropic efforts are focused on boosting STEM education.
“We need a pipeline of students that are coming into those careers for not only our business but for all businesses in the United States,” Hewson said. “… It’s all about, ultimately, getting them in careers that they enjoy and love and contribute to the overall productiveness in our society.”
Trump said her father’s administration will take its cues on STEM education programs from technology-driven industries and business leaders who are trying to solve talent shortages, sometimes with workers trained in short-term programs instead of four-year universities.
“This is an example of industry really leading,” Trump said. “I think government has an opportunity to really amplify and scale the great work already happening.”
Hadi Partovi, CEO of Code.org, a computer science training website, was on a panel with Gilbert, Trump and the other executives.
According to his organization, there are more than 500,000 computing jobs open nationally across multiple business sectors, but about 50,000 computer science graduates annually in the U.S.
“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.
Article Originally Published In: http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20170926/news/640266/tech-driven-firms-commit-300-million-to-stem-education-at-detroit-event