For many years, I have been talking with business and government leaders about how we can work together to bridge the technical skills gap. In these conversations, we all agree about the importance of democratizing knowledge and giving all individuals—regardless of their background, education, or social status—the opportunity to build technical skills. That’s why today at re:Invent 2020, I announced that by 2025 Amazon Web Services (AWS) will help 29 million people globally grow their technical skills with free cloud computing skills training.
During today’s re:Invent session, I had the honor of being joined by Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to discuss the future workforce and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected in-demand skills. Something Professor Schwab and I strongly agreed on was that bridging the skills gap will require intentional, sustained efforts by the private and public sectors. The WEF’s work to bring workforce training needs to the top of the agenda, for business and political leaders around the world, has been exemplary and, following the COVID-19 pandemic, this work is more critical than ever.
As part of our efforts to continue supporting the future workforce, we are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to provide free cloud computing skills training to people from all walks of life and all levels of knowledge, in more than 200 countries and territories. We will provide training opportunities through existing AWS-designed programs, as well as develop new courses to meet a wide variety of schedules and learning goals. The training ranges from self-paced online courses—designed to help individuals update their technical skills—to intensive upskilling programs that can lead to new jobs in the technology industry.
Below are just a few examples of what we are doing:
- Building out our library of more than 500 free courses, interactive labs, and virtual day-long training sessions. Individuals looking to learn about cloud technology at their own pace have two robust resources in AWS Training and Certification and AWS Educate. Designed for individuals looking for foundational cloud computing skills, all the way to seasoned IT professionals looking to stay up to date on the latest technologies, these programs offer over more than 500 free, on-demand online courses, interactive labs, and virtual day-long training sessions as well as job-based learning paths and numerous free instructor-led webinars, in multiple languages. In 2020, AWS Training and Certification has launched 50 new digital courses in addition to the hundreds of free courses already available and will continue adding more content and new ways to learn.
- Continuing to invest in free training to help individuals earn AWS Certification. We will continue to invest in free digital training and exam preparation courses to help people prepare for AWS Certifications, which show technical expertise working with AWS. Training includes content like the new Twitch-livestreamed AWS Power Hour: Cloud Practitioner series, covering cloud computing fundamentals and preparing individuals to take the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam.
- Expanding the AWS re/Start program to help people from underrepresented communities transition into tech jobs. This program is a full-time, 12-week, high-impact course that prepares unemployed or underemployed individuals for careers in cloud computing and connects more than 90 percent of graduates with job interview opportunities. AWS re/Start operates in 25 cities across 12 countries and we expect to double the number of cities in 2021 as the program continues to grow. AWS re/Start is building a diverse pipeline of entry-level trained talent by collaborating with organizations like Indigenous-owned Goanna Solutions in Australia, Generation in the UK, TechGrounds in the Netherlands, Youth Employment Services in Canada, and Per Scholas, Year Up, and New College Institute in the U.S. This program is already positively changing lives. Learn more.
- Piloting new training programs. We’re piloting training initiatives, like the two-day AWS Fiber Optic Fusion Splicing Certificate program. Fiber optic cables are the backbone of the modern world, carrying internet, TV, and telephone data—they’re made up of tiny glass tubes, which makes repairing and testing them specialized work. Students accepted into this free program learn how to install and repair fiber optics and can also take part in a career networking session, allowing participants to meet local employers. Another program—Amazon’s Machine Learning University, is an accelerated, free course designed to give people the opportunity to jump in to learning and applying machine learning concepts to solve business problems.
This is just a snapshot of the work we are doing to help individuals around the world learn new skills and open up new career opportunities in tech. Our plan to provide 29 million people around the world with skills training builds on the commitment we made last year to invest $700 million to train 100,000 Amazon employees. Among the employees who are seizing this training opportunity is Caleb Jarrett. He joined the program following his career in the U.S. Air Force. With little prior IT knowledge, he quickly learned AWS cloud fundamentals, earned his AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification, and gained technical experience through immersive on-the-job training at Amazon. Jarrett completed the 18-month program earlier this year and is now employed full-time on the AWS sales team. Here is what he said about his experience: “Participating in this program was life-changing. It helped me get to where I wanted to be professionally and personally in a short amount of time. Coming out of the military, I was motivated to make a meaningful change for my future and Amazon met that motivation with opportunity.”
Rowenda Sabajo is another individual who benefited from Amazon training to realize new career opportunities. Sabajo, enrolled in the AWS re/Start Amsterdam cohort last year. After 15 years overseeing ground- handling services at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport, she was ready for a career change and wanted to transition into a job in IT. Through the full-time AWS re/Start program, she completed three months of intensive cloud training including scenario-based learning, hands-on labs, and coursework, and is now an IT Specialist at Randstad Group in the Netherlands. Reflecting on the program, she said: “Joining AWS re/Start is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. Learning about all of the advanced technologies and services that AWS offers was very engaging.”
Amazon focuses on building innovative programs that have a lasting, positive impact for the communities in which we operate, and designing STEM and skills training programs are central to this approach. We intend to continue increasing access to skills training to give anyone who wants to further their cloud skills the tools to achieve this. Get started and learn more about our upskilling efforts.