Amazon is proud to give back to our communities and employees through our upskilling programs, and intend to continue investing in expanding our commitment in this area for years to come. Here is a look at some of the success stories from the skills training and cloud computing training programs we offer. You can find more information on each program and additional success stories in the Amazon Upskilling 2025 report.
Ready for takeoff—AWS re/Start
After fifteen years as a team leader overseeing ground handling services at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam, Rowenda Sabajo decided that it was time for a change. For years, she had considered looking for jobs in the IT sector, but it wasn’t until October 2019 that she made her dream a reality.
Sabajo enrolled in AWS re/Start, a full-time, classroom-based development and training program that prepares individuals for entry-level cloud positions, through TechGrounds. There she completed three months of cloud training featuring scenario-based learning, hands-on labs, and coursework. “Joining AWS re/Start is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done,” said Rowenda. “Learning about all of the advanced technologies and services that Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers was very engaging.”
With the ability to provide frontline support, escalate issues effectively, troubleshoot, and automate manual tasks, Sabajo passed the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam. She credits passing the certification to the AWS re/Start program, which offered “guidance, support, great teachers, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.”
Throughout the program, companies searching for cloud talent visited TechGrounds to give presentations and Sabajo used these opportunities to network. A month after completing the AWS re/Start program and AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam, she was hired as a Junior IT Specialist at Randstad Group in the Netherlands. Now, she works on Randstad’s Cost Optimization team where she uses her AWS experience to identify savings opportunities for her company.
“In the past months I’ve been working on my general computer skills, application and server monitoring, deploying applications in the AWS Cloud Environment, cost optimizing with EC2 right sizing, tracing waste and orphaned resources.”
“AWS re/Start brought me so much more than I ever expected,” said Sabajo.
Making a transition—AWS Educate
While preparing his transition from the military, Robert Clarady started researching various learning opportunities that could help him make a switch into the workforce. He discovered AWS Educate on a transitioning site for military members.
“It seemed like the best way to explore the cloud. The support that AWS Educate gives to transitioning veterans is great!,” Clarady said. Through AWS Educate, he was able to take courses on topics ranging from big data to machine learning.
“As I explore more AWS Educate pathways, I continue to expand my knowledge and skillset around cloud computing. The experience opened my eyes to a world of possibilities that cloud could do to transform the way the government and military do business. After I finish my military service, I plan to pursue a cloud-based career,” said Clarady. “I am confident that AWS Educate will help me transition from the military to the job market. My military training, coupled with the knowledge and skills I gained through AWS Educate, makes me more marketable to employers.”
Cutting-edge technology—AWS Fusion Splicing Certificate program
Mark Glazener was working as a production leader at a small manufacturing company when he decided to make a career change. He had developed an interest in the fiber optics industry and, after researching opportunities that would allow him the career growth trajectory he was seeking, he enrolled in AWS’s Fusion Splicing Certificate program, a collaborative training event with Sumitomo Electric Lightwave hosted at Danville Community College.
Mark received training on cutting-edge technologies and equipment for fiber optic installation and repair. Through the course, Glazener learned the theory behind fiber optics and “received practical, hands-on training in a field that underpins the technology we use daily.” In just two days, he gained a certification and a new skill, which led directly to an employment opportunity. “The class ended with a networking event where I met a number of companies hiring for these jobs,” he said. “I met my current employer at the event.”
That employer was an AWS contractor, Team Fishel, where Glazener now works as a Fusion Splicing Technician. Glazener’s participation in the Fusion Splicing Certificate Course not only lead directly to a job, it set him up to thrive in his role and he “feels that the sky is the limit.” Six months in, he has been chosen for special projects including traveling out of state to ensure work is completed on schedule and handling emergencies when live cables are downed.
“The AWS Fusion Splicing Certificate Course really opened the door for me to have this exciting new opportunity and career path,” he said. “The training gives you access to a growing industry and there are not a lot of other courses out there that offer this level of access to employers.”
From military to apprentice—Amazon Apprenticeship Program
Caleb Jarrett started his professional job search in 2018, when he was transitioning out of the U.S. Air Force. He was looking into companies that actively supported the military community and Amazon was at the top of his list.
“I knew I wanted to join an organization that recognized my unique skillset as a veteran, and who provided me with the resources I needed to get into the IT field.” After learning about the Amazon Apprenticeship Program through a military recruiter, Jarrett immediately thought the program would be a great fit.
Having little IT experience before joining the program, Jarrett received a Cloud Practitioner certification following a 90-day in-classroom sprint. From there, he was assigned--along with his cohort--to support the Cloud Computing group at Amazon where he collectively worked to solve problems and innovate new solutions through a full year of on-the-job training. In addition to the technical skills training, Jarrett most appreciated being surrounded by the military community in his professional job. “The Apprenticeship Program offers the opportunity to step into a career that is truly catered to military veterans and you feel that support from the top-down. It’s a specific culture where we are all transitioning together and that mindset is prioritized by leadership.”
After completing the 18-month program, Jarrett joined the Cloud Computing team full-time before transitioning into his current role as Lead Development Representative on the Public Sector Sales team in March 2020. “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.”
Achieving a dream job—Amazon Technical Academy (ATA)
Ivan Mwiruki joined Amazon as a Quality Assurance Technician, hoping to get his foot in the door at the company before pivoting to a software engineering role. In order to make that career switch, Mwiruki started taking evening classes at a local community college through Amazon’s Career Choice Program (which provides pre-paid tuition). Around the same time, he decided to join some employee-led coding groups at Amazon, where he heard about Amazon Technical Academy (ATA).
“Honestly, this program was exactly what I was looking for,” said Mwiruki. “I wanted to transition to software engineering, and ATA promised to get me there. Instead of cobbling together my own curriculum and slowly transitioning towards my goal over multiple years, I could learn from a curriculum created by Amazon engineers for future Amazon engineers, work through that curriculum with the support of instructors, mentors, and fellow participants, and directly transition from Quality Assurance Engineer to Software Development Engineer in only one year.”
Throughout the program, the prospect of achieving his dream job motivated Mwiruki. “My parents brought their four children to America from Tanzania because they hoped we would have access to opportunities like this. I wanted to make them proud.” Now, Mwiruki is a Software Development Engineer, working on AWS Quantum Ledger Database. “Now that I’m a software engineer, I understand that I love this job and know this is what I want to keep doing. ATA gave me a clear vision for the paths I can take in my career.”
From packing orders to technical support—Associate2Tech
Having dropped out of high school as a teenager in order to help support his family, Andre Grass eventually joined Amazon as a packer, readying customer orders for shipping in a Phoenix, Arizona fulfillment center. After a few months on the job, he heard about Associate2Tech (A2Tech) and followed his interest in technology to learn more about the program.
Knowing A2Tech could offer him an opportunity to build his technology skill set while learning about the technologies that power Amazon, Grass enrolled. “It was probably one of the biggest things that happened in my life, knowing that Amazon would put even more effort into developing me. I just needed somebody to give me a chance,” he said.
After completing his training and certifications in 3 months, Grass is now working as an IT support engineer at the same fulfillment center in Phoenix. In this role, he helps keep the myriad of computers, scanners, and other intricate pieces of technology working smoothly. When an associate on the floor has an issue, he helps fix it.
“The A2Tech program taught me how to support many technical aspects within a fast-paced work environment,” said Grass. “Since graduating from the program, I’ve had the opportunity launch new sites, work on projects that improved overall customer experience, and have been promoted to the next level within IT.”
Fulfilling dreams of a career in healthcare—Career Choice
Patricia Soto first learned of Amazon’s Career Choice program when she was hired by Amazon as a fulfillment associate. As she looked into the benefits that came with her job at Amazon, opportunities in healthcare immediately appealed to her. “The Career Choice program really stood out to me because I'd always planned on going to school,” said Soto. “I chose the healthcare career path because it's always changing and has always been an interest of mine. Health is our most important asset.”
Once she enrolled in Career Choice, Soto was able to go to school in the morning and work a shortened shift at night, thanks to schedule flexibility. During the nine-month program, Soto learned proper medical terminology, processes related to running a medical office, charting, and hands-on procedure training. The program concluded with a clinical externship, where participants become proficient in the technology, systems, and procedures that medical personnel use daily. “This was probably where I gained most of the skills I still use today because I was hired at the same office as my extern,” said Soto.
Today, Soto works for the Sutter Gould Medical Foundation as a certified medical assistant—an essential worker during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her "new normal" is conducting video visits instead of having patients come into the office, which has created a new set of opportunities and challenges. Because of her Career Choice experience, Soto is motivated in her new career. “I was able to establish a solid foundation of skills I can continue to build on and go even further in my career,” she said.
Diving deep on machine learning—Machine Learning University
Soji Adeshina joined Amazon in 2017 right after his graduation from the University of California–Berkeley, with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science. When he started, he was working on the Fulfillment Technologies team, part of Amazon Robotics, as a software engineer. A few months in, Adeshina heard about a pilot program for Machine Learning University (MLU) that piqued his interest. While in school, he became interested in machine learning and developed the foundational skills needed, but wanted to learn more about the field. MLU offered Adeshina continued education and advanced courses—an option he would have liked to have more access to in college.
In addition to being exposed to new machine learning tools and gaining hands-on experience, he credits MLU for helping him improve his presenting skills. Through group work, Adeshina was able to “learn what other people are working on [within Amazon]–a sort of a cross-planting of ideas.” After completing the program, he wanted to help other Amazonians hone their machine learning skills, which motivated him to become a Teacher’s Assistant and develop a course for future MLU students.
Adeshina now works on deep learning for the ML Services team at AWS. The knowledge he gained from MLU allowed him to have a smooth and seamless transition into this new role. Since he had already learned the machine learning framework needed through the upskilling program, he was able to adapt and ramp up very quickly. “MLU gave me the confidence to pursue a long-term career path in applied science and modeling,” said Adeshina. “The skills I’ve learned have allowed me to earn trust from senior leaders and the ability to tackle large projects.”
Diversity in technology—Tech U
As a computer science and design major at Lehigh University, Kira Gobes knew that she loved technology and coding, but was unsure what her first career step would be. During the fall of her senior year, Gobes attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing where she was connected with a recruiter from Amazon’s Tech U program. “The fact that Amazon was purposefully recruiting at Grace Hopper, showed me immediately that the company values diversity in technology,” said Gobes. “I learned that--through Tech U--I could become a Solutions Architect, which would allow me to work directly with customers to understand their business needs and design technical AWS solutions specifically for them. I was immediately excited and interested.”
After completing her undergraduate studies, Gobes enrolled in the Tech U program. “Every day in Tech U was different,” explained Gobes. “We focused on a number of different subject areas, like machine learning and IoT, and learned the real-life applications of these technologies. We also participated in mock customer engagements to sharpen our problem-solving and communication skills.” Gobes’s training was a mix of instructor-led courses, hands-on building, and working with Solutions Architects. The variety of subjects and teaching methods was designed to build upon and supplement participants’ existing technology knowledge. “One of my favorite things about the program is the amazing network of Solution Architects I met,” said Gobes. “We all came from different backgrounds and ultimately pursued different types of technical work, but they’re still my core group of both friends and professional connections.”
After completing Tech U, Kira became an AWS Solutions Architect, a role she held for a year before stepping into her current role as a Technical Program Manager. As part of her capstone presentation during Tech U, Kira and two of her coworkers created an interactive adventure game to teach kids about coding, cloud, and IoT. Kira now runs a program where she is passing on her cloud technology expertise to the next generation of talent. “I’ve always wanted to make a positive impact using technology. Tech U enabled me to pursue my passions by opening so many new doors and exposing me to new opportunities.”