Earlier this week, Amazon confirmed that they are going to acquire Canvas which is a little known Colorado-based startup that creates autonomous driving systems for warehouse fulfillment. It is the latest effort of the company to further take the automation for future retail plans. In 2018, Amazon announced the launch of Amazon future engineer program designed to facilitate STEM education in classrooms, the robotics grants.
But to help facilitate and launch the program Amazon is teaming up with STEM nonprofit FIRST to create a series of robotics grants to target underprivileged populations. The program kicks off with providing robotics grants to 100 schools in 21 stats across the US.
“Amazon is helping FIRST in our goal to make robotics teams and programs available in every school,” FIRST founder Dean Kamen said in a release tied to the news. “In FIRST, every kid on every team can go pro. They gain a hands-on learning pathway in technology, computer science, and engineering that propels them forward and inspires innovation.”
The FIRST robotics teams include teacher professional development to learn about robotics, an additional $10,000 from Amazon to expand access to computer science education in their school, and a tour of a local Amazon fulfillment center. A huge number of students will benefit from the program, beginning in the fall of 2019.
Moreover, Amazon’s future engineer program works well with FIRST people to inspire young people to excel and build science, engineering, and technology skills to students in grades K-12. FIRST students are more likely to work in tech-focused science fields in college by their second year of college, almost 50 percent of the degree majors are in engineering or technology.
The impact on young women in FIRST is very intense as female alumni of FIRST are 3.6 times more likely to take an engineering course, and 1.9 times more likely to take a computer science course by the first year of their college.