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Amazon and Partners Give $50,000 to STEM Education in Clay County

Amazon and Partners Give $50,000 to STEM Education in Clay County

Jacksonville Business Journal - October 19, 2017 by Will Robinson - here

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) partnered with STEM2Hub and the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations to give $50,000 to the Clay County School System Oct. 10.

Amazon provided $20,000; STEM2Hub provided $5,000; and the remaining $25,000 was matched by state funds. The money will be used to advance education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Amazon officials went to three Clay County schools Tuesday carrying boxes of robotic equipment for students.

Bernard Schmidt, general manager of one of Amazon's Jacksonville fulfillment centers, told the Business Journal that the company recognized the importance of STEM education and was happy to partner with organizations that were making it a priority in the Jacksonville area.  

"It's important for us because it's where our employees live and work," Schmidt said.

Schmidt noted that STEM skills are important at his fulfillment center, which utilizes more than 20 miles of conveyor belts as well as Amazon Robotics.

"The robotics that the kids will be working with fits very well with our profile," he said.

STEM2Hub told the gathering, which met at the Clay County STEM office, that STEM education is critical for preparing students for jobs that don't exist yet. Mary Chance, president of the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations which works to get state matching funds, was excited that Amazon's funds were match eligible.

"Matching funds are flexible but accountable," Chance told the Business Journal. "It's a great way to leverage private dollars."

Florida is the only state in the country to set aside matching funds in its annual budget, Chance said. In the Jacksonville area last year, Duval County received nearly $160,000; St. Johns County received more than $55,000; Nassau County received almost $24,000; and Clay County received almost $53,000 in state matched funding, according to Chance.

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