Amazon has announced three new initiatives as part of its effort to provide 29 million people with cloud computing skills by 2025: IT Skills 4U, the AWS re/Start Associate initiative, and the opening of an AWS Skills Center in Arlington, Virginia.
Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) IT Skills4U program is designed for displaced Ukrainian refugees in need of career support. The program offers training for Ukrainians with little to no tech experience and those with professional experience looking to re-enter the workforce, with the chance to earn AWS certifications upon completion.
The AWS re/Start Associate initiative is an expansion of Amazon’s existing AWS re/Start program. The revamped program includes new goals to help underemployed individuals get started in cloud careers. It offers upskilling opportunities for underemployed individuals with legacy IT skills, like COBOL, SNA, and VTAM programming.
AWS’ Skills Center in Arlington, VA, meanwhile, is an in-person learning space where community members can enroll in free classes to learn how cloud computing works in gaming, machine learning, robotics, smart home technologies, and space. The center will offer training and resources to help candidates earn a AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials Certification, and will facilitate career coaching and host networking events with local employers and organizations.
The Arlington center is AWS’s second dedicated in-person learning space, following the 2021 opening of the AWS Skills Center in Seattle, Washington. It will open to the public on October 18.
All initiatives in AWS’ education programs are free. The company has pledged billions of dollars to upskill existing IT workers and train new ones to become cloud computing experts, claiming that digital skills in cloud architecture and software development add an estimated $6.3 trillion annually to global GDP.
According to a survey of 30,000 workers and 13,000 hiring managers in 19 countries by AWS and Gallup, businesses with a highly skilled digital workforce report revenues 168% higher than companies with a low level of digital skills..
The survey also found that companies with employees who possess advanced digital skills, such as cloud engineering, are 50% more likely to innovate. Companies that operate on the cloud reported experiencing innovation within the last two years – innovating five times faster than companies that don’t use cloud technology, it found.
Not only are tech-savvy companies more innovative, they’re also happier, the survey found. For employees trained in advanced digital technologies, 72% reported high job satisfaction, and 72% said they had high confidence in their job security.
Companies are thinking of ways to harness emerging technologies to drive their company forward: 66% of surveyed employers said that, of blockchain, AI and the metaverse, at least one was likely to become integrated into everyday business.