Ivanka Trump spoke briefly at a Tuesday event in Detroit put on by a trade group known as the Internet Association. The event centered around a pledge from companies and the federal government to spend $500 million on coding and computer science education at the K-12 levels.
According to White House pool reports, Trump (who is one of the daughters of President Donald Trump) arrived around midday to speak with various executives as part of a brief “fireside chat.”
“Computer science and coding are priorities for the administration as we think about pathways to jobs and alignment of education to in-demand jobs in the modern economy,” Trump said, according to White House pool reports. “I’ve spent a lot of time on the growth of economy and job growth. Part of that is jobs unfilled today and jobs of the future and the skill sets necessary to enable the next gen to thrive.”
The Department of Education is set to provide $200 million in grant money, while private companies, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Lockheed, General Motors, and others, are set to kick in $300 million.
Trump, an advisor to the president, said that the grant money would have a priority on “racial and gender diversity.”
“We are looking forward to seeing innovation across the states as they apply for grants,” she said. “We do have a major diversity problem in the tech industry. We need to come together to solve for that.”
The event comes less than 24 hours after President Trump signed a formal memorandum to the Department of Education, which included some startling statistics, that “nearly 40 percent of high schools do not offer physics and 60 percent of high schools do not offer computer programming.”
The statement went on, noting that “only 34 percent of African American students and 30 percent of rural high school students have access to a Computer Science class. Furthermore, even where classes are offered, there is a serious gender gap: less than a quarter of the students who took the [Advanced Placement Computer Science] exam nationally in 2016 were girls.”
Both the Internet Association and Trump were vague as to exactly how their programs would be implemented.