Amazon’s plans to invest in New York area engineering training programs and other local educational initiatives are not being canceled, despite Amazon’s announcement today that it will no longer open one of its HQ2 locations in New York City. The retailer decided to end its plans for the New York headquarters after significant backlash from local politicians and citizens alike who, as Amazon put it, “have made it clear that they oppose our presence.”
The deal Amazon had brokered with New York politicians had included up to $1.5 billion in grants and tax breaks in the state, in exchange for bringing 25,000 new jobs to the NYC area.
But Amazon jobs weren’t all the company was investing in – the company had also recently said it would fund educational programs and training at New York area high schools and colleges.
Specifically, Amazon said it would fund computer science classes in more than 130 New York City area high schools, including both introductory and Advanced Placement (AP) classes. The classes would be offered across all five NYC boroughs, including more than 30 schools in Queens – the planned location for the new headquarters.
These classes were to be funded by Amazon’s Future Engineer program, which works to bring computer science courses to over 100,000 underprivileged kids in 2,000 low-income high schools in the U.S.
In addition, Amazon said it was teaming up with area colleges and universities, including 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.
This program was supported by Amazon’s AWS Educate program.
The Educate program is currently used by more than 1,500 institutions to train students in cloud computing by offering them hands-on experience in AWS technology. The students can then apply for jobs at Amazon and elsewhere, upon completion.
Amazon has not officially commented on how the HQ2 news will impact these programs in New York, but sources familiar with the situation told TechCrunch that both educational programs are continuing – regardless of what’s happened with HQ2.
Though obviously meant to help build a pipeline for the NYC HQ2, the programs’ larger goals are about creating new engineering talent who know how to work with Amazon’s cloud computing platform, AWS.
Though these students will now not have a direct exit to a New York-area HQ2, Amazon still has over 5,000 employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the company said today in its HQ2 announcement – and it plans to grow those teams in the years ahead.
That means it can’t hurt to continue to build the talent pipeline in New York. After all, Amazon could still woo program grads to other East Coast locations, including Northern Virginia and Nashville, as well as to its other 17 offices and hubs across the U.S. and Canada.
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