AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Thousands of Amazon Employees Volunteer for Code.org’s Hour of Code

This week, thousands of Amazonians all over the world volunteered to introduce computer science to students in local schools by participating in Hour of Code, Code.org’s annual global event that reaches millions of students through one-hour coding activities.

Code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. Their vision is that every student in every school has the opportunity to learn computer science, just like English, biology, or algebra.

From Cape Town, South Africa to Herndon, Virginia, Amazonians hosted over 140 events across the globe with over 1,760 employees volunteering their time to teach an Hour of Code to over 28,000 students from kindergarten to 12th grade.

Employees across Amazon volunteered for Hour of Code to help inspire the workforce of tomorrow. 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. Students from underprivileged backgrounds make up a tiny portion of those graduates and AWS volunteers can have an impact on students being introduced to computer science for the first time.

In their own words: Why we volunteer

AWS employees are passionate about sharing their knowledge with students and giving back to the community. They were awed by their boundless curiosity and ability. Here are a few anecdotes and photos from the week’s activities:

  • “My son’s school has STEAM curriculum, but the courses have always been embedded into day-to-day classes. We are using Hour of Code as a platform to celebrate learning to code in a bigger way. We worked with the school’s faculty and decided to teach 400 kindergartners and first graders in a single event! Our approach reinforced the value of coding to these young minds and provided a connection for the students that coding is an important skill utilized by leading tech companies,” said Mike Cannady.
  • “My children have been fortunate to have coding as a standard part of their curriculum since first grade. They love it and always come home so excited to show off what they did. When I saw the call for volunteers, I immediately signed up so that I could be a part of creating and sharing that excitement with the children in our school district,” said Viki Dalbo.
  • “In my global work with AWS Educate, I see firsthand the lack of computer science being taught in schools. This is my second year volunteering with Hour of Code, and I’ve seen the impact it can have on students. It’s fulfilling to know that spending a little time during my day is helping inspire students to dig into coding,” said David Parmele.
  • “My daughter is a sophomore at an all-girls school. Volunteering was a great opportunity to work with young ladies on the verge of considering careers to share the excitement of the technology field. With only five participants last year, we were excited to have 32 this year! We spent the first 15 minutes interactively talking about creativity and how the technology field is an opportunity to bring dreams to life,” said Tim Griesbach.
  • “As a host of an Hour of Code event, I was super excited to bring the fun through a dance party. My son said ‘this is going to be an awesome Friday’. My one wish from the event is to spark at least one kid’s interest. I want to be a catalyst for our future inventors,” said Jackie Hertrick.

Keep coding

Amazon’s commitment to Code.org is driven by a belief in the organization’s mission. Amazon is committed to help inspire students to participate in STEM education and prepare them for the jobs of the future through programs such as AWS Educate and Amazon Future Engineer.

To celebrate Computer Science Education week and the Global Hour of Code, AWS Educate has launched a new experience for students between the ages of 14-17.  Students now have access to a new website experience and three new badges with learning content to discover and grow their cloud expertise. Read more about the latest features and sign up here.