The Trump administration announced a new directive Monday, to boost the U.S. government’s support for science, tech, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and computer science education, including coding. Surrounded by students in the Oval Office, President Donald J. Trump announced funding for technology education, to prepare Americans for future high-demand, computer-science jobs.
The president signed a presidential memorandum at the White House at 3:45pm local time that tasks the Department of Education with devoting at least $200 million of grant funds to STEM fields each year, expected to be boosted by private sector contributions.
The new emphasis on the STEM and computers sciences comes after calls from technology companies, who require more skills-training to fill high-demand technology and engineering roles. The tech industry has implored the U.S. government to prioritize education in those fields.
“Given the growing role of tech in American Industry, it is vital that our students become fluent in coding and computer science,” said presidential adviser Ivanka Trump in a press call, providing reporters an overview of the initiative. She said the programs would be designed “with gender and racial diversity in mind.”
According to Code.org, one of the organizations reportedly working with the White House, only 40% of U.S. schools offer computer programming. Yet, according to Trump administration officials, the Obama administration did little to move education in this field forward.
“This announcement marks a major milestone, because it’s not simply an acknowledgment of the issue, but it’s actually action upon the issue,” an administration official reportedly said. “While the previous administration recognized that this was an important initiative … they were not able to act upon it because they did not get the congressional legislation they needed.”
Tech companies such as Microsoft were pleased with the Trump administration’s move. “Microsoft looks forward to partnering with other companies, nonprofit groups, and the federal and state governments to help bring computer science into America’s mainstream education curriculum,” Microsoft’s President Brad Smith said in a statement. “It’s good for our country, our businesses, and most importantly, our nation’s young people.”
“This administration is committed to building the workforce for tomorrow and equipping Americans with the skills they need to secure high-paying jobs and achieve the American dream,” said Ivanka.
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