Amazon partners with New York colleges on a cloud computing job training program

A day after Amazon detailed plans to fund computer science classes in New York area high schools, in an effort to expand its tech pipeline for its new HQ2 location in Queens, the company this morning announced a second educational initiative that sees it teaming up with New York City and state colleges. Amazon says it will work with LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), the City University of New York (CUNY), and the State University of New York (SUNY) to create a cloud computing certificate program for students across New York. The goal will be to get students ready for entry-level tech roles – like those at Amazon or elsewhere.

The program, which begins this fall, will be offered to the tens of thousands of students across these universities, Amazon says. In addition, LAGCC will partner with at least one New York City high school to offer concurrent enrollment in the 15-credit certificate program.

While the new high school courses are being funded through the Amazon Future Engineer program, this certificate program for college students is being handled through Amazon’s AWS Educate program. The Educate program is today being used by over 1,500 institutions to train students in cloud computing by offering them hands-on experience in AWS technology. This skill can then be used to apply for jobs at Amazon and other companies.

The program includes curriculum development workshops and AWS trainings for faculty, while students receive free AWS Promotional Credits in order to perform their project assignments.

Another feature of the program is a job board that allows students to upload resumés, receive job alerts, connect with recruiters, and search for cloud computing jobs and internships at Amazon and other tech companies.

Amazon notes cloud computing is one of the highest-paying I.T. jobs, but its goal here is not altruistic, of course. It’s prepping the tech talent pipeline to ensure its new NYC “HQ2″ has room to grow. The company also adds that local demand for cloud computing talent will increase 17 percent by 2024, citing New York Department of Labor forecasts.

“As we continue to expand our presence in New York, we’re excited to work with the community to provide more opportunities for skills development,” said Ardine Williams, VP of Workforce Development at Amazon, in a statement about the program. “There is such rich talent in New York, and we want to ensure we’re reaching New Yorkers from diverse backgrounds, as we hire for 25,000 jobs across the region. We see this collaboration with LAGCC, CUNY, and SUNY as ensuring that more students have the opportunity to join companies like Amazon as we seek out more tech talent. This is the beginning of our workforce development efforts in New York – we’re looking forward to launching more initiatives to meet New Yorkers where they are, providing opportunities for new skill sets and even better paying jobs,” Williams said.

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