Amazon donates $10,000 to support STEM instruction at two schools

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It hasn’t even opened in Natomas yet, but already it’s a good neighbor.

Amazon donated $10,000 to Natomas Unified School District today to support STEM instruction — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — at Natomas High and Natomas Gateways Middle schools.

The gift came during a tour by community leaders of Amazon’s enormous distribution center – or “fulfillment center” – on West Elkhorn Boulevard. The facility is 855,000 square feet and will employ 1,500 workers.

 “We at Natomas Unified are grateful to Amazon for its generous donation and for reaching out to our students, some of whom may be its employees someday at this impressive distribution facility,” NUSD said in a written statement.

“Amazon’s donation will pay dividends to Natomas for many years to come. It will be spent to support STEM instruction – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – that will help prepare our middle and high school students for college and career success. We welcome Amazon to this community and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership.”

Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna applauded Amazon’s distribution facility as an economic boon to the area. “They’re going to be a tremendous corporate member of our community,” he added.

NUSD Board President Lisa Kaplan, Supt. Chris Evans, County Supervisor Susan Peters, and Sacramento City Councilmen Steve Hansen and Jeff Harris were among local dignitaries participating in the tour.

The distribution facility is expected to handle 500,000 to 1 million packages a day, perhaps more, Amazon officials said. Robots will be used to move giant pallets of goods to employees, thus accelerating production while reducing heavy lifting.

Construction of the Amazon facility took 7,400 tons of steel, 3 million pounds of rebar, and enough interior concrete to create a 3-foot-wide sidewalk extending 490 miles. It has four floors, but the bottom floor alone will fit more than 400 single-story houses of 2,000 square feet apiece, officials said.

Amazon’s $10,000 donation to NUSD underscores its commitment to education. Officials said that in addition to competitive hourly wages, a 401(k) plan, and company stock awards, Amazon offers innovative programs like Career Choice through which it will pre-pay up to 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless whether skills attained are relevant to an Amazon career.