Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced a new initiative to boost career readiness for learners and modernize tech programs of study across 78 educational institutions, collectively serving more than 380,000 learners. The AWS Skills to Jobs Tech Alliance will bring together a coalition of Fortune 500 companies and other employers, government agencies around the world, workforce development organizations, and education leaders to address the skills gap in community college and university curricula, and better prepare learners for entry-level tech careers. The initiative, which will initially focus on five priority regions including Illinois, New York, and Washington, as well as Egypt and Spain, will soon scale to additional regions.
Working backwards from employer demand for specific skills and roles, the Tech Alliance will provide pathways to jobs in cloud support, software development, and data integration. Employers engaged in this initiative include Bank of America, BNY Mellon, Citi, CoreStack, Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC, T-Mobile, TEKsystems, among other leading organizations. Each will serve as “talent shapers” that will collaborate directly with education leaders and learners enrolled in regional programs, such as City Colleges of Chicago.
“The Skills to Jobs collaboration with AWS builds on City Colleges’ commitment to providing high-quality education experiences that connect diverse talent to emerging industry needs,” said Juan Salgado, chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago. “By equipping our students with in-demand skills and access to cutting-edge technology pathways, we are strengthening their career readiness and resilience in a rapidly evolving job market.”
Expanding tech talent pipelines
With technology constantly advancing, gaps in tech skills training continues to create barriers for learners interested in pursuing tech roles and employers finding the right skilled talent. According to a recent Gallup study, 72% of U.S. businesses find it challenging to hire workers with the digital skills needed, with close to half of employers (43%) attributing the challenge to a shortage of qualified applicants. In addition, the study found that 87% of U.S. employers are using the cloud, and another 8% of U.S. organizations say they plan to begin using the cloud in the near future. Through the unique collaborative effort of the AWS Skills to Jobs Tech Alliance, educational institutions can integrate industry expertise into their programs of studies, while employers get access to a pipeline of job-ready talent.
Strengthening collaboration between industry and education
To ensure curricula is better aligned to in-demand jobs, AWS, talent shapers, and educational institutions collaboratively designed and vetted skills maps that identify the critical skills that need to be developed—they are also aligning curricula to those skills. In addition, talent shapers are supporting by evaluating curricula, developing capstone projects, providing internships and apprenticeships, and creating hiring events exclusive to participating educational institutions. Learners also gain access to hands-on support from industry professionals, and individuals who enroll in the courses will get real-world experience applicable to in-demand tech jobs.
The Skills to Jobs Tech Alliance builds on AWS’s existing long-term commitment to bring together industry, government, and education to improve skills training initiatives, as well as align credentials and degree programs to industry demand,” said Kim Majerus, vice president of Global Education, U.S. State and Local Government at AWS. “As technology continues to advance, employers have a role to play in supporting education, as leaders ensure learners are developing the latest skills. I’m excited about the positive impact the Tech Alliance will bring, allowing learners to connect directly to future employers, enabling more skill-based learning environments, and increasing access to expert resources for educators.”
Building pathways to tech careers in New York City
In April 2023, AWS announced the first Tech Alliance regional initiative in New York City with a variety of organizations, including the Borough of Manhattan Community College, College of Staten Island, Queensborough Community College (QCC), City University of New York (CUNY), New York Jobs CEO Council, New York City Mayor’s Office of Talent and Workforce Development and the Tech Talent Pipeline, as well as Fortune 500 employers that will serve as talent shapers. The Tech Alliance in New York is already helping learners secure jobs and is starting to plan internship opportunities for learners in fall 2023.
“Before attending QCC to pursue a technology-focused degree and learn AWS Cloud skills, I had not fully understood the direction I needed to take to become a cloud professional,” said Hector Rodriguez, public cloud associate at Morgan Stanley and QCC graduate. “After joining the program, I was connected to a strong community of aspiring technologists and was put on a very detailed path to get there. This helped me focus on developing the exact areas and technology skills that were most in-demand in the cloud computing field.”
Introducing new Tech Alliance regions
With the AWS Skills to Jobs Tech Alliance announcement, the following regions were introduced: Illinois, Washington, Egypt, and Spain. Each of these regions include a variety of talent shapers, educational institutions, policy leaders, and organizations aligned to building pathways to tech careers. Participants include:
- Illinois: City Colleges of Chicago and Illinois Institute of Technology. Employer convening support from Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Corporate Coalition of Chicago, and P33, which combined serves over 1,000 employers. Community support from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
- Washington: Bellevue College and Seattle Colleges. Community support from the Center of Excellence for Information & Computing, Computing for All, Technology Alliance, and Washington Technology Industry Association. The following employers are supporting as talent shapers: CoreStack, T-Mobile, and TEKsystems.
- Spain: Spain includes 400+ Technical Vocational Colleges from the Technical Vocational Education & Training system (163 across three regional agreements: Andalucia, Aragon and Valencia) and 70+ Universities. The following employers are supporting the alliance: Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte, DXC Technology, Innotec Security, NTT Data, Screening Eagle, and Telefonica Tech (acens). Employers have engaged through mentorship presentations, AWS Jams and job fairs that will help students to learn about career paths and apply for their first role in the cloud.
- Egypt: Egypt include 10 Government higher education universities under the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Ministry of Communications and Information Technology through its workforce development affiliates; National Telecommunications Institute, and Information Technology Institute. The following employers are supporting as talent shapers: Advanced Computer Technology (ACT), Egabi Solutions, Forte Cloud, Global Brands, HITS Solutions, IT Visionary, Phoenix Consulting, and Zero & One. Employers have engaged through offering job placement, internships and on-job-training opportunities, also participating in job fairs that help students learn about career paths and apply for their first role in the cloud.
Amazon is committing to providing free cloud computing skills training to 29 million people around the world by 2025. Get an overview of free AWS-designed cloud skills training programs and information to help you get started.