Long hours and late nights left Dia Wane wondering if owning her own business was worth the sacrifice. For more than a decade, Wane added logos to company uniforms, managing the process from intake to delivery. But like the record number of American workers who contributed to the “Great Resignation” and “Great Reshuffle,” Wane decided it was time to explore a tech career. And as a Seattle resident, she has some of the world’s biggest technology companies in her backyard.
“Seattle is a tech city. You see tech people all over the place,” said Wane, who has watched local companies, like Amazon, expand over the years.
Seattle is also the newest U.S. location to offer the Amazon Web Services (AWS) re/Start program hosted by workforce nonprofit Per Scholas. AWS re/Start is a cohort-based workforce development training program that prepares individuals for entry to mid-level cloud careers. After two to three months of in-person or blended training, collaborating organizations connect program graduates with potential employers. Globally, AWS re/Start has connected 98% of graduates with job interview opportunities—a statistic that inspired Wane to apply to the program.
“Before I started this program, I really didn't see myself deep into tech,” Wane said. “But AWS re/Start gave me the chance to dare.”
In June, Wane put her business on pause and joined fellow learners in Seattle’s first AWS re/Start cohort. Here’s how the program is helping thousands of tech prospects like Wane make the life-changing journey to the cloud.
1.Free to learners and no tech experience required
AWS re/Start is preparing a diverse pool of individuals around the world to fill a wide range of in-demand roles. With interactive experience in AWS Cloud, graduates have the skills and knowledge they need to add value for employers. Training is free for learners and covers the cost of the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification exam, which validates cloud fluency and foundational AWS knowledge for potential employers.
When longtime accountant Ariana Demel started to feel like her career trajectory plateaued, she looked for ways to break into Seattle’s tech industry. But like many people, Demel wasn’t sure where to start.
“I didn't know whether to enroll in a course or go back and get a second bachelor's degree,” said Demel. “I still have the student loans out there from my first degree, so adding more educational debt to my load wasn't really an option for me.”
When her partner told her about AWS re/Start, Demel was encouraged by the financial benefits and the program’s commitment to its learners’ success—regardless of their tech experience. Demel is now one of the members of Seattle’s first AWS re/Start cohort, and she says the training has been life-changing.
2.Interactive, scenario-based approach to cloud computing skills
The AWS re/Start curriculum is designed so that learners pass the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification exam and become proficient cloud computing technicians. The training is taught by AWS-approved instructors and brings learners together virtually. Throughout the program, interactive labs encourage learners to work with one another to emulate scenarios that might unfold while working for a tech company. This approach develops the collaborative problem-solving and technical skills needed to succeed in a professional environment. By the end of the AWS re/Start program, graduates are equipped with the technical skills needed to apply for entry-level cloud roles.
3.Nonprofit collaborations for added guidance and support
AWS re/Start works with local collaborating organizations to deliver the program around the world. These organizations have a comprehensive understanding of the industry needs in their regions and established networks of employer partners. Per Scholas has helped more than 10,000 people build technology careers. Starting in 2020, Per Scholas began offering the AWS re/Start training course virtually, and it now runs training from nine different locations. While AWS provides the training curriculum, Per Scholas hires and trains the instructors, ensuring that they have the knowledge and resources necessary to help learners succeed. Per Scholas also provides additional support services, like professional development, financial literacy coaching, and employer networking, to help accommodate each learner’s unique journey.
Per Scholas is planning to deliver AWS re/Start and host cohorts in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Los Angeles, Washington, New York, Newark, Seattle, and Denver throughout 2023.
Individuals looking to apply can learn more on the Per Scholas site.
4.Professional skills development and direct connection to employers
Along with tech skills, AWS re/Start equally emphasizes the development of professional skills. The program provides learners with resume and interview coaching to prepare them for future employer meetings and interviews. Throughout the AWS re/Start training, local collaborating organizations, like Per Scholas, work one-on-one with learners to better understand their areas of interest and career goals. Instructors help learners update their LinkedIn profiles, write cover letters, and create multiyear career plans. Once learners are ready, Per Scholas connects them with potential job opportunities in its robust employer network.
“Learners connect with employers through volunteerism, whether that be virtual or in person. Volunteerism could look like fireside chats, lunch and learns, mock interviews, or just any way for us to get the employer in front of the candidate and spark conversations from there,” said Dante Wade, director of national business solutions at Per Scholas.
This approach is proving to be successful. AWS re/Start graduates have been hired to fill entry-level, in-demand cloud roles in operations, site reliability, and infrastructure support at organizations including Accenture, KPMG International Limited, Financial Times, and Sony Interactive Entertainment.
5.Global access to training with evolving expansion
The AWS re/Start program is part of Amazon’s commitment to provide free cloud computing skills training to 29 million people around the world by 2025. Since launching the first cohort in London in 2017, AWS re/Start has expanded across the globe. Offering the program in different cities and countries makes the training widely accessible and introduces the potential of cloud computing to areas where the tech industry is just taking off. It also creates more opportunities for companies to invest in local talent rather than recruiting and relocating candidates who do not have connections to nearby communities. This year, the program launched in 17 U.S. cities, bringing the overall AWS re/Start U.S. footprint to 21 locations.
Individuals looking to apply to AWS re/Start and employers looking to hire trained cloud talent can learn more about the program on the AWS re/Start site.