The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) with the support of Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) announced a statewide commitment to increase access to cloud computing education in schools across Arizona. This initiative aims to train and certify 5,000 students for entry-level cloud computing careers by June 2022, with continued long-term investments in technical skills training for Arizonans.
“As Arizona continues to attract more high tech jobs to the state, this collaboration will help provide workers the education and skills they need to fill those jobs,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “We’re happy to work with AWS on this initiative that will complement Arizona’s efforts to build and train the workforce of the future.”
The ACA will work with Arizona schools to enable the AWS Academy and AWS Educate programs to integrate cloud computing education into classrooms using content mapped to in-demand technical careers. AWS Academy provides higher education institutions around the globe with a no-cost, ready-to-teach, cloud computing curriculum that prepares students for industry-recognized AWS Certifications and in-demand cloud jobs. AWS Educate is Amazon’s global initiative to provide students with no-cost resources for building cloud skills through self-paced learning content and access to AWS promotional credit and the AWS Educate Job Board. AWS Educate also works with institutions to customize or create programs of study by aligning curriculum to in-demand cloud careers.
“Closing the skills gap and ensuring Arizonans are well equipped to pursue tech job opportunities remains a top priority for our state, and we’re thrilled to work with AWS to advance that mission,” said Sandra Watson, ACA President and CEO. “We’re also grateful to the Arizona schools that have signed on to offer these programs and look forward to continuing to add new educational partners.”
Education institutions across the state are invited to participate in this initiative, including high school career and technical education sites, community colleges and universities. Students can take AWS Academy courses at their participating higher education institution and/or access self-paced online training courses and labs via the AWS Educate program. In addition, educators at participating institutions will receive virtual training taught by AWS experts and access to a limited number of AWS Certification exams at no cost as they qualify to become AWS Academy accredited educators. Educators and students in this program will also receive discounts towards AWS Certification exams.
The increase in cloud computing education supports ACA’s mission to reskill and upskill Arizonans, especially during a time when many have been underemployed and unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to LinkedIn, cloud computing has remained one of the most in-demand hard skills for the past five years, and two AWS Certifications appear on the top 10 highest paying certifications list by Global Knowledge (2019). Data from Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) identified 95,116 unique job postings in Arizona requiring cloud computing skills in 2019, and more than 12 percent of those jobs specifically requested AWS skills. A select number of Arizonans currently hold an AWS Certification, creating a significant skills gap for local employers interested in hiring technical talent to fill open roles.
“Cloud technology is powering innovation across industries and sectors, creating new and exciting workforce opportunities,” said Teresa Carlson, Vice President of the Worldwide Public Sector at AWS. “Our collaboration with the State of Arizona is designed to meet learners where they are – whether they are looking to reskill, pursue a technical career at a higher education institution, or learn new tech skills at their high school. We are thrilled to help Arizonans develop the right skills to connect to in-demand tech jobs right here in The Grand Canyon State.”
AWS will equip participating schools and their educators with the content and instructional tools they need to help students prepare for several AWS Certifications, including AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate, and AWS Certified Developer – Associate as well as other AWS training and exams to all matriculating or certificate-seeking students in Arizona. Several institutions including Arizona State University and Maricopa Community College (Rio Salado) have already started using AWS Educate and AWS Academy programs and will serve as models for broader implementation.
In addition, the following schools have committed to offer the AWS Educate and/or AWS Academy programs in 2021 and interested schools may continue to join at any time over the next year:
Cochise Technology District
Benson High School
Patagonia High School
San Simon High School
Mountain Institute Career Technical Development District
Pima Joint Technical Education District
Southwest Tech Education District of Yuma
Western Arizona Vocational Education District
Western Maricopa Education Center
Gila Institute for Technology
East Valley Institute of Technology
Higher Education Institutions
Arizona State University
Arizona Western College
Coconino Community College
Eastern Arizona College
Maricopa County Community College District
Mesa Community College
Glendale Community College
Mohave Community College
Pima Community College
To learn more about cloud training offerings at your local institution and how to enroll, please visit, azcommerce.com/aws. To learn more about AWS Educate please visit here and for AWS Academy, please visit here.
The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state’s leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona’s economy. The ACA uses a three-pronged approach to advance the overall economy: attract, expand, create – attract out-of-state companies to establish operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to expand their business in Arizona and beyond; and help entrepreneurs create new Arizona businesses in targeted industries. For more information, please visit azcommerce.com and follow the ACA on Twitter at @azcommerce.