President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka are pushing the creation of a computer science initiative aimed at providing support for STEM education in schools.
Recode reports that President Trump, reportedly under the advice of his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump, signed a presidential memorandum on Monday that tasks the Department of Education with granting $200 million of its grant funds to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.
Ivanka Trump also met on Tuesday with business leaders from companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, GM, Quicken Loans, Salesforce, and others at an event unveiling a series of private-sector commitments to increase coding and computer-science classes and programs. The tech companies will each pledge $50 million to the initiative. Other companies promised to donate large sums, $25 million from Lockheed Martin, $10 million from Accenture, $10 million from General Motors Co., and $10 million from Pluralsight.
Ivanka Trump said that the initiative plans to ensure that “every student across the country, from our rural communities to our inner cities,” is capable of accessing tools and educational material that can prepare them for jobs in the digital field. “Given the growing role of technology in American industry,” she continued, “it is vital our students become fluent in coding and computer science, with early exposure to both.”
“The workplace is changing, we need to create new pathways for our citizens to get the best jobs,” President Trump said in a statement. “Greater access to STEM and computer science programs will ensure our [children] have the skills they need to compete, and win, in the [workforce].”
When asked about the initiative and the current administration’s dedication to education in STEM fields, Ivanka replied, “Computer science and coding are priorities for the administration as we think about pathways to jobs and alignment of education to in-demand jobs in the modern economy.”
“I’ve spent a lot of time on the growth of economy and job growth,” she continued. “Part of that is jobs unfilled today and jobs of the future and the skills sets necessary to enable the next gen to thrive.”
Ivanka also stated that grants would be given out with a focus on diversity and gender equality in tech fields: “We are looking forward to seeing innovation across the states as they apply for grants. We do have a major diversity problem in the tech industry. We need to come together to solve for that.”
This new coalition with the White House and tech companies may prove beneficial in repairing tenuous relations between Trump and Silicon Valley elites from companies such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft who have criticized the president for his decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Google employees also held open protests against President Trump’s temporary travel halt in January where one Iranian-born product manager at Google said, “This executive order is racist, unconstitutional and needs to be revoked.” Breitbart News also previously reported that senior members of management at Google were reportedly on the “verge of tears” after the announcement that Trump had been elected President of the United States.