Amazon is expanding its Amazon Future Engineer Program — and it’s doing so right here in Nashville.
The e-commerce giant has teamed up with Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) to conduct robotics and computer science courses to 24 public schools. This initiative is made in partnership with FIRST, a non-profit technology mentoring program for students in grades K-12. In fact, the news was delivered by Jeff Bezos as he showed up at Madison Middle School to announce the partnership.
This move includes funding robotics programming classes for 21 elementary, middle, and high schools, along with an additional $10,000 each to expand the computer science education at 24 schools. The latter covers field trips, hardware purchases, and software upgrades, along with access to a tour of an Amazon robotics fulfillment center. They also include funding to launch a FIRST robotics club at each of the schools.
Furthermore, the partnership provides the financial means to set up intro and AP computer science courses for more than 45 high schools across Tennessee, along with three high schools within the MNPS district. Students enrolled in these courses will also benefit from an AWS Educate membership, which gives them free computer power in the company’s AWS cloud for class projects along with additional content to learn about cloud computing.
Not only do the students benefit — the teachers will, too. Preparatory lessons, tutorials, and professional development for teachers are all also included in the funds, along with fully sequenced digital curricula for students. Live online support every day is available for both teachers and students.
“I’m an inventor, I like to think of myself as an inventor. I started at a really young age. I used to invent all kinds of things, like burglar alarms to keep my brother and sister out of my bedroom,” Bezos told the crowd of about 35 students at the partnership launch. “I encourage all of you to think of yourselves as inventors. The future is about invention. … If you have an education in engineering, science, math, robotics, and computer science, you’re really well positioned for that future.”
While the project is a landmark one for Tennessee schools, it’s not Amazon’s first time dipping its toes into education. All these are part of the $50 million investment that Amazon is making in STEM in the U.S. for the next five years. Launched in November 2018, Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program. It hopes to inspire more than 10 million kids, provide over 2,000 high schools access to intro or AP computer science courses, award 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships, and give paid Amazon internships to those scholars to gain work experience.
Through these, the program aims to inspire the youth of today to become leaders and innovators in science and technology, engaging them in mentor-based programs that cultivate science, engineering, and technology skills in students in grades K-12. Their chosen courses come as no surprise, as robotics, for instance, is a rapidly growing area of expertise, with the subject among the most popular among all of Udemy’s electronics courses available to students online. Helping young students learn about robotics early on whether through school or online learning platforms will empower them to get involved at a young age. Complex electronics have become an irrefutable aspect of modern life. Whether it’s vacuuming robots or industrial electronics, robotics is an extremely useful study that can benefit both society in general, and future inventors. But more than that, computer science courses introduce a world of possibilities for students to explore. Indeed, future careers as a software developer, computer engineer, and web developer are only some of the many potential career paths students can discover.
Amazon also has its eyes on developing Tennessee tech outside of education. They announced plans for a Nashville Operations Center of Excellence last November, a development that is set to bring over 5,000 well-paying jobs to the city. In fact, until now, there are still over 500 available jobs for people of all skill and education levels available in Nashville and other areas of the state.