Amazon donates $1.75 million towards construction of new STEAM high school

June 01, 2021 - Upstate New York
Amazon check presentation to local leaders, shown (from left) are: Syracuse City Schools superintendent Jaime Alicea, Onondaga County executive Ryan McMahon, Syracuse mayor Ben Walsh, and Syracuse Common councilor at-large Rita Paniagua.

Syracuse, NY Amazon.com is donating $1.75 million toward a new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) high school in Onondaga County. With a new robotics fulfillment center coming to the county this fall, a project that will create more than 1,000 local jobs, Amazon is furthering its commitment to STEM education by investing in the community and giving students tools to build their best future. Amazon’s donation will fund robotics and computer science initiatives at the new school.

“At Amazon, technology and innovation fuel our business. Our employees work alongside innovative, advanced technologies, and we recognize the jobs of tomorrow require a stronger aptitude for STEM skills,” said Ryan Smith, director of North America fulfillment operations at Amazon.

“We want to inspire the next generation of innovators to explore opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, so we’re proud to partner with Onondaga County–which we will soon call home–to increase access to STEM education for thousands of local students for years to come. We hope they’ll join our team at Amazon one day and teach us a thing or two as they build their careers here.”

The STEAM school project, which is currently being called STEAM at Syracuse Central, is a joint effort from the City of Syracuse, the Syracuse City School District, Onondaga County, and the State of New York. It will be located at the former Central High School near downtown Syracuse.

“This is an exciting day for our community and for the progress on the new STEAM school,” said county executive Ryan McMahon said. “Last May we welcomed Amazon to Onondaga County with their state-of-the-art robotics fulfillment center. Now they are furthering their commitment and investment in our community and children with this donation to our STEAM school. Preparing our kids for the jobs of tomorrow is a priority for all of us and a belief that Amazon also shares. This donation will go a long way towards making that a reality.”

Syracuse City School District will operate the school, but it will be open to students from any school district in Onondaga County.

The school will graduate 250 students a year who are on a career path to fill technology-related jobs in central New York. The campus’ workforce training center will offer high school equivalency degrees, apprenticeships, and advanced technical certification through SUNY Empire State College.

Two schools in Onondaga County currently participate in the Amazon Future Engineer program. Students explore computer science through school curriculum and project-based learning using code to make music, program robots, and solve problems. Amazon Future Engineer also awards 100 students each year with four-year, $40,000 scholarships and paid internships at Amazon. The program also celebrates teachers with professional development and $25,000 Teacher of the Year Awards. Amazon Future Engineer is part of Amazon’s $50 million commitment to STEM and computer science education.

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