Cognizant invests $100M to launch tech ed nonprofit

Teaneck-based Cognizant announced the creation of a new nonprofit that supports STEM education and skills initiatives for U.S. students and workers.

The Cognizant U.S. Foundation will be established with an initial $100 million grant. The grant is a result of anticipated benefits due to recent changes in the U.S. tax laws.

The nonprofit, which will be established as a 501(c)(3) organization, will fund science, technology, engineering and mathematics education; digital education and skills programs; public-private partnerships; and other initiatives for people looking to obtain specialized skills for digital technology jobs.

“As the digital economy expands rapidly and changes the way businesses, organizations and governments operate, we believe it should create opportunities for all Americans,” said Cognizant CEO Francisco D’Souza. “Unfortunately, because of a very real skills gap, there are far more open jobs for technical work than there are trained workers to fill them. A recent Cognizant Center for the Future of Work report on 21 Jobs of the Future identifies artificial intelligence, virtual reality, Big Data and other technologies as the new tools of the trade.

“The Cognizant U.S. Foundation will directly address the existing technology skills gap through innovative programs focused on educating a wide range of Americans and preparing them to thrive in the digital era.”

To support growth, the information technology services company already has recruiting, training and reskilling efforts in various cities where it operates.

“As a major U.S. technology company and employer with nearly 60 U.S. facilities and clients in 49 states, we have insights into the needs of communities across the country as they seek to fully join the digital economy. In our work with clients, we see every day the growing shortage of skilled technology workers and believe the education efforts of the Cognizant U.S. Foundation will be good for American workers and students, our communities, and the overall American economy,” said Rajeev Mehta, Cognizant’s president.