Washington State and Amazon Web Services to Train 2,500 K-12 Students in Cloud Computing Skills by 2024
Statewide effort will enable high schools to access AWS education programs to pave pathways for tech careers.
Today, at an event in Seattle, the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) announced a strategic collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to train and certify 2,500 K-12 students in cloud computing skills within the next three years. Along with support from the Washington Training and Education Coordinating Board, this statewide initiative will provide high school students with technical training and education mapped to in-demand skills, paving the way for careers in tech.
“Our education system plays the vital role of preparing our young people for success after high school,” said Chris Reykdal, Washington’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Our economy and the needs of employees and employers are evolving, and the K-12 system has to evolve with it. I’m thankful for this collaboration with AWS, which will make a difference for many of our students.”
OSPI will implement the first statewide collaboration with AWS focused exclusively on training and educating K-12 students. Through AWS education programs such as AWS Academy, participating Washington high schools will have access to ready-to-teach, cloud computing curriculum that helps prepare students for in-demand jobs and industry-recognized AWS Certifications. Secondary education institutions in Washington may receive free professional development, technical training, and a select number of certification exams for educators who will begin teaching cloud computing courses to their students starting next fall in 2022.
“Washington state has been a global leader in technology development for decades. This new initiative will help provide the next generation of Washington students with the know-how needed to take on and create the jobs of tomorrow,” said Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck. “Through this initiative, students across Washington will be able to obtain skills to make them successful and competitive in the global workforce. This initiative also provides an opportunity for equitable, substantial educational development for all students across our state — east, south, north, west, and central. I’m excited that Washington state is piloting this initiative using AWS education programs and building up the diverse, high-skill workforce we need.”
Cloud computing jobs are in high demand across the U.S. According to Economic Modeling Specialist International (EMSI), in 2020, Washington experienced 165,486 unique cloud job postings, with 88,642 of those jobs going unfilled. The Washington Training and Education Coordinating Board is a critical participating organization that will help connect students to cloud education and career pathways, while increasing the talent pipeline for employers across industries in the state.
“Washington is the world’s epicenter for cloud computing — driving cloud-related job growth almost exponentially,” said Eleni Papadakis, Executive Director, Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board. “This innovative public-private collaboration will pave the way for many more of our young people to access high demand, well-paid job opportunities in our state’s technology-driven economy.”
Washington state will use AWS education programs to modernize and expand technical education course offerings to help provide the future workforce with the foundational skills employers need. As OSPI continues to expand career and technical education, allowing students the opportunity to earn tech industry certifications in high school will help to open doors to jobs post-graduation and ease the transition to post-secondary education. Participating schools and educators will use content and instructional tools from AWS education programs to help students prepare for several AWS certifications, including AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, AWS Certified Solution Architect — Associate, and AWS Certified Developer — Associate, and more. Training includes a vast number of technical topics such as artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, cybersecurity, and other cloud-related learning.
“Research tells us that when you spark a student’s interest in STEM earlier in their education journey, they are more likely to explore related careers before even enrolling at a college or university,” said Kim Majerus, Vice President, US Education, State and Local Government at AWS. “We want to inspire the next generation of tech leaders through engaging and modern cloud computing curricula that have students excited to take the next step in pursuing a tech career — whether that’s securing a job through a certification or advancing their knowledge at a higher-education institution. Washington state and OSPI have created an opportunity with AWS to empower high school students in one of the nation’s fastest growing tech hubs at an age where teens are thinking about future careers.”