The Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education is taking public comments on her proposed priorities for $700 million in discretionary grants the agency will issue annually in the coming years. Although many of the priorities focus on Betsy DeVos' flagship interest, school choice, the promotion of STEM education -- and particularly computer science -- also makes an appearance in the list.
The company has committed to donating the funds over the next five through grants to organizations that focus on job training and opportunities. The $1 billion will be given out as grants to non-profits around the world specializing in addressing the education and technology gaps. It's the largest single commitment Google has made.
The memo instructs U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to direct competitive grant money to STEM focused programs, with the goal of $200 million a year for five years. A number of prominent companies in tech and other industries said they will make contributions over the next five years, though some offered few specifics on on the nature of those gifts.
As a part of ongoing efforts to invest in a more diverse technology workforce, Dell Inc. expects to contribute $14 million in grants and technology donations to support future generations of STEM workers, in current fiscal year which ends Feb. 3, 2018. Current donations made across Dell's 71 youth learning partners globally are expected to bring technology education to more than 1.5 million underserved youth.
The funds allow schools to expand their computer programming education, which gives them a chance to start teaching skills, such as coding, at a younger age. Such classes can offer training for technology-based jobs in the future. This expands the opportunities for students to start their careers straight out of high school rather than obtain a four-year degree.
The initial federal research investment is small. Eighty percent of the companies in the report cited less than $5 million as the amount of federal funding received for their foundational work. For 40 percent of companies, this amount was less than $1 million. The 102 companies highlighted are predominantly small businesses, like most companies in the United States. Sixty-five percent of companies have fewer than 100 employees. Yet, the companies collectively employ 8,900 people.
In response to the recession that began in 2007, the U.S. Congress passed, and President Barack Obama signed into law, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Pub. Law 111-5). At an estimated cost of $831 billion, this economic stimulus package sought to save and create jobs, provide temporary relief to those adversely affected by the recession, and invest in education, health, infrastructure, and renewable energy. States and school districts received $100 billion to secure teachers’ jobs and promote innovation in schools.
During a March 10 hearing of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden testified about the $19 billion dollar Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposed for the agency by President Obama.
Last year was a notable one for scientific achievements: In 2014, European researchers discovered a fundamental new particle that sheds light on the origins of the universe, and the European Space Agency successfully landed the first spacecraft on a comet. Chinese researchers, meanwhile, developed the world’s fastest supercomputer, and uncovered new ways to meet global food demand.
During the 'State of NASA 2016' speech, administrator Charles Bolden talked about the space agency's Orion, Boeing's CST-100, and SpaceX's Dragon spacecrafts.