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President Trump will announce a new initiative this afternoon directing the Dept. of Education to prioritize the exapnsion of STEM and computer science education. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

President Trump will announce a new executive memorandum this afternoon that will direct the Department of Education to expand students' access to STEM and computer science — fields that the administration says are increasingly playing a more vital role in the economy and lead to more lucrative careers.

Why it matters: At a time when partisan politics strikes down the majority of legislation put forth by Washington lawmakers, this initiative is largely one that both parties can get behind. Barack Obama introduced similar legislation at the end of his presidency, though his proposal, which was much pricier than the $200 million baseline incorporated in Trump's version, never made it through Congress. To avoid the same hiccups, the White House has introduced this as a narrower administrative action.

The memorandum directs the Dept. of Ed to:

  • Establish a goal of devoting at least $200 million per year in grant funds towards this priority.
  • Explore administrative actions that will add or increase focus on Computer Science in existing K-12 and post-secondary programs.
  • Ask that these programs and curriculums be designed with gender and racial diversity in mind.
  • Require an annual report to gauge the effectiveness of these programs. The reports will emphasize analysis on both the students' dropout and program completion rates.
  • The grants will target rural communities and inner cities, but the administration hopes the initiative can extend across the U.S.

Private sector involvement:

  • Ivanka Trump, who has played an integral role in the creation of this initiative, will travel to Detroit Tuesday to discuss their pledge to computer science education. She will also visit a public school Wednesday to experience coding with students firsthand.

Reasoning behind this directive:

  • One senior administration official said interest in this program stems from conversations with business leaders from both large and small companies who have said they are struggling to fill open positions due to a shortage of employees with the necessary training in these fields.
  • p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545} The gender and minority pay gap: the fact that women and minorities are not equally participating in these lucrative fields is a contributing factor.

Go deeper

50 mins ago - World

Rich world’s pandemic selfishness won't be forgotten

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

The failure of rich countries to share vaccines and financial assistance with poorer ones during the pandemic will exacerbate the rise in global poverty and could come back to bite them, Nobel Prize-winning economists Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee tell Axios.

Why it matters: Duflo initially believed the pandemic would produce a “more cooperative world order” as rich countries felt compelled to show solidarity with the developing world, potentially boding well for future collaboration on issues like climate change. Now she fears the opposite.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress passes $2.1B Capitol security funding bill

U.S. Capitol police officers testify during a House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot on July 27. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via Xinhua

A $2.1 billion Capitol security funding bill is heading to President Biden for his signature after the House and Senate passed the legislation on Thursday.

Why it matters: The legislation provides funding for the Capitol Police, the National Guard and other agencies to cover the costs incurred during the Jan. 6 riot.

Biden details new vaccination initiatives as COVID cases surge

Joe Biden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden detailed several new initiatives on Thursday to get more Americans vaccinated and slow the spread of the Delta variant.

Why it matters: The plan outlines aggressive next steps from the federal government as COVID-19 cases surge across the country due to the contagious Delta variant and as demand for vaccines has tapered off.

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