Amazon and Code.org today introduced Hour of Code: Dance Party – an online gamified tutorial that aims to teach basic coding skills to more than one million young girls during the first week of December and will continue to reach millions more kids throughout 2019. To help raise awareness of the value of coding at schools around the world, over 1,000 Amazon employees are volunteering at hundreds of Hour of Code events, from San Luis Obispo, California, to Edisto Island, South Carolina, to Tokyo, Japan, and Gdansk, Poland.
Code.org’s new spin on the Hour of Code, in collaboration with the Amazon Future Engineer program, will combine coding, music, and dance to break stereotypes about coding and make learning about it accessible to everyone online.
Research shows that girls significantly outnumber boys in performing arts classes from 8th to 12th grades. By building this year’s Hour of Code around music and the arts, this year’s Hour of Code aims to attract more female students than ever to try out computer science.
“Amazon Future Engineer is designed to make computer science skills accessible and exciting to kids and young adults in underserved communities,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon. “I am thrilled to see the creativity of Dance Party aimed at attracting more girls and young women to the world of coding.”
“Amazon’s support for Code.org is instrumental in our effort to engage young women in computer science,” said Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of Code.org. “Today, computer science provides a basic foundation for all careers. Thanks to Amazon’s support, millions of students, especially young women, will be introduced to coding this year.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer-science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs. Computer science is the fastest growing profession within the Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) field, but only 8% of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, with a tiny minority from underprivileged backgrounds.
While significant gains have been made in teaching computer science in schools, only 35 percent of high schools in the U.S. teach computer science across 24 states, according to Code.org data. In addition, Black and Hispanic students, students receiving free and reduced lunch, and students from rural areas are less likely to attend a school that provides access to this critical subject.
Amazon Future Engineer launched in November. It is a comprehensive childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and train children and young adults from underprivileged communities to pursue careers in the fast-growing field of computer science. Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire more than 10 million kids each year to explore computer science, help over 100,000 underprivileged young people in over 2,000 high schools in lower income communities take introductory or Advanced Placement (AP) courses in computer science, and provide 100 students from underrepresented communities with four-year $10,000 scholarships as well as guaranteed internships to gain work experience. Code.org’s Hour of Code: Dance Party is a big piece of this commitment. Code.org relies on AWS services to scale its annual Hour of Code.
Throughout 2018, Amazon supported additional STEM nonprofits to further expand access to computer science to more girls and minority students. These include donations to FIRST Robotics, Seattle’s Pacific Science Center, the Greater Foundation, Mona Bailey Academy, Washington STEM, Technology Access Foundation, STEM Kids NYC, Rosie Riveters, GEMS, STEM for Her, Canada Learning Code, and more.