Amazon has announced its decision to support US students' post-secondary science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education by awarding $10 million in college scholarships to 250 high school seniors from underserved and historically underrepresented communities.
Each beneficiary of the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship will receive $40,000 over four years to study computer science at a college of their choice starting this fall. The recipients will also receive a paid internship at Amazon after their freshman year of college, the announcement said.
The programme has awarded $22 million in scholarships to 550 students across the US since 2019, Xinhua news agency reported.
More than 70 per cent of scholarship recipients identify as Black, Latinx, and Native American (BLNA) and 50 per cent identify as women, groups that are currently underrepresented in the field of STEM.
"These opportunities are imperative to building a diverse tech industry and enriching our communities. These students have fulfilling careers ahead, and we look forward to seeing them at their Amazon internships and all they will achieve," said Victor Reinoso, Global Director of Amazon's philanthropic education initiatives.
Computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the STEM field. The US Bureau of Labour Statistics forecasts that job opportunities for computer science workers will grow 13 per cent between 2020 and 2030, yet only 8 percent of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, and only a small percentage of those come from underserved and historically underrepresented communities, according to the announcement.
Additionally, the Bureau of Labour Statistics reported that the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $91,250 in May 2020, which is more than twice the median annual wage for all occupations.