We’ve long believed in the power of skills training to positively impact people’s lives. I’m regularly reminded of that with AWS re/Start. The full-time, 12-week program is free and prepares unemployed or underemployed individuals for careers in cloud computing. It also connects more than 90% of graduates with job interview opportunities.
Last year, as part of our commitment to provide free cloud computing training to 29 million people by 2025, we pledged to double the reach of AWS re/Start from 25 cities globally in 2020 to more than 50 cities in 2021. I’m pleased to announce that as of today, we’ve exceeded this goal—six months ahead of schedule—after hitting that milestone last month.
AWS re/Start is a powerful program that provides organizations with a pipeline of entry-level cloud computing talent. We have been actively expanding the program around the world since it launched globally in 2019. As of July 1, the program has expanded in 2021 to 27 new cities and 13 new countries, including Kenya, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Denmark, Egypt, and Finland, just to name a few.
The program is now in 52 cities across 25 countries—and counting. This is incredibly exciting news. I’m regularly reminded of the positive impact the program is having on individuals, organizations, and communities around the world.
Take, for example, Vivian Ng. She was a front office supervisor for a hotel in New York City when the pandemic hit, and she was let go in early 2020. As she considered her next steps, Ng found herself considering a career pivot into technology because of its pervasive and dynamic nature. Without any prior technology or cloud computing experience, she looked for a way to upskill herself—and she found AWS re/Start.
Ng successfully applied for AWS re/Start’s New York cohort and graduated this past March. The program was delivered in conjunction with Per Scholas, a nonprofit focused on helping individuals build technology careers. Immediately following graduation, Ng secured a paid, full-time 12-week internship with Infinitive, an AWS Partner, and it provided a springboard for a full-time role at the company.
"The AWS re/Start program gives people the opportunity to transform their career,” said Ng. “It is a good platform to gain a new set of skills and knowledge, and gave me the practical knowledge about how to use it in a work environment. I’m really grateful for this program. It changed my life.”
No prior technology experience required
As part of its mission to make cloud skills training accessible, AWS re/Start does not require previous experience in technology. The program is also intentional about recruiting learners from diverse and underrepresented groups. We’ve seen individuals with a range of backgrounds, from retail and hospitality to the military and stay-at-home parents, successfully graduate from the program and into entry-level IT jobs.
AWS re/Start began in 2017, with the first cohort in London, UK. Our goal was simple: help our AWS customers and partners identify skilled entry-level cloud talent. Excitement and demand for the program, both then and now, has enabled AWS re/Start to grow faster than expected to help remove barriers to full-time, skills-based learning opportunities.
Expanding access to free training
AWS re/Start is one of several initiatives AWS offers to help more people become proficient in cloud computing technology. The program is part of our global commitment to help 29 million people grow their technical skills for free.
According to the World Economic Forum, 84% of employers are set to rapidly digitalize working processes, including a significant expansion of remote work. The Geneva-based organization also estimates that 50% of all employees will need reskilling in the next five years.
AWS customers and partners around the world say there are not enough qualified applicants to meet the growing demand for trained cloud talent. While scarcity of highly experienced cloud talent is a major concern for many organizations, AWS sees this need as an opportunity to re-invent how talent is cultivated, trained, and retained.
“As an AWS consultancy, it can be incredibly difficult to continually find skilled engineers with suitable knowledge and experience in the technologies we work with,” said Rob Greenwood, chief technical officer at Steamhaus in Manchester, England. “Therefore, being able to rely on the re/Start program to provide us with enthusiastic, capable people who are eager to learn and progress in their careers has been absolutely invaluable to us as a business.”
Ng’s new employer, Infinitive, recognized the value of hiring from the AWS re/Start program based on prior hiring of entry-level talent.
“Hiring and training junior-level resources, whether they come in from college or from programs like re/Start, has been a real passion of mine,” said Jim McGinn, Infinitive’s technology practice lead and AWS alliance manager. “The job market for technical resources is unlike anything we have seen before.
“We have been able to teach and train re/Start graduates, building on their foundational knowledge. Our re/Start interns were building in a Python and SQL training environment. Using Amazon Workspaces, we preloaded the environment with data and let them work for a week. They demoed it for our CEO, and his reaction says it all: ‘Are you serious right now? They just did all that in a few weeks?’”
At Amazon, we see AWS re/Start as more than a training program. It’s truly a change-your-life program. It has been inspiring for me to see how individuals like Ng have come through the program, enthused about what they can do with the cloud. We look forward to growing the program to continue supporting a pipeline of cloud talent around the world.
To learn more, explore the AWS re/Start program.