AWS Public Sector Blog

AWS skills training programs open doors to tech careers for Virginia workers

Demand for cloud computing continues to grow rapidly, and alongside that, the demand for individuals with the right technical skills to build applications and services in the cloud and also build and maintain the core infrastructure that keeps the internet running smoothly. Plus, the need for future-ready workers with specialized tech training is growing along with it. There are numerous jobs both in and around data centers including data center technicians, electricians, fiber optic technicians, HVAC specialists, and many more.

In Virginia, where Amazon Web Services (AWS) has an important and growing presence, AWS is investing significantly in supporting skills and education programs to promote a thriving workforce. In 2020 alone, AWS investment in the construction and operation of data centers contributed $1.3 billion in GDP and supported over 13,500 jobs in the economy of Virginia—with plans for more investment to come. In January, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that AWS plans to invest an additional $35 billion by 2040 to establish new data center campuses across Virginia, creating at least 1,000 new jobs across the state.

The AWS Fiber Optic Fusion Splicing Certificate Course is one of the programs AWS runs locally to help individuals get the skills necessary to repair and install fiber optic cables. AWS is hosting several events for this program across the state this year. Recently, from April 4-5, AWS held a training at the AWS Skills Center in Arlington in collaboration with Northern Virginia Community College. Class sizes for the program are intentionally kept small, giving each individual more time with the instructor and more hands-on learning time. During the no-cost, two-day course, 15 learners experienced a mix of lecture and hands-on training led by national fiber expert, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave. To close out the course, learners received a certificate and made connections to local employers.

Pictured: A course attendee writes in a notebook from the AWS Fiber Optic Fusion Splicing Course.
An attendee writes in a notebook from the AWS Fiber Optic Fusion Splicing Course.

This is one of four Fiber Optic Fusion Splicing courses that AWS is running in Virginia this year. The next course will take place at the Workforce, Innovation, Skills Hub (WISH) Center on May 10-11 in Alexandria. There will be another event with NOVA in Loudoun County this fall. To register or learn more, visit the AWS Fiber Optic Fusion Splicing website.

“Northern Virginia is an important hub for the world’s technology infrastructure, in turn producing a growing demand for specialized fiber-related skills. This has created tremendous professional opportunities for local workers. We have been happy to provide technology training opportunities that map directly to in-demand careers through our Fiber Optic Fusion Splicing program and other AWS-led initiatives in the state,” said Roger Wehner, director of economic development at AWS.

Fiber optic cables are the reason you’re reading this on your computer right now. Fiber cables are tiny glass data-carrying tubes that form the nervous system of the world’s cloud computing infrastructure that powers the internet. Installing and repairing these cables is specialized work—and the reality is that there aren’t enough skilled workers to meet demand.

Pictured: The hands-on component of the AWS Fiber Optic Fusion Splicing Course.
Gaining hands-on experience at the AWS Fiber Optic Fusion Splicing Course.

The latest Fiber Optic Fusion Splicing course was held at the AWS Skills Center in Arlington. The Skills Center is another resource for individuals looking to increase their tech skills and provides fun and engaging education opportunities for individuals looking to better understand cloud computing. The center, which opened its doors in October, is designed for the local community and offers no-cost, in-person classes in fully equipped classrooms for adults, including those with little to no technology background.

The 10,000 square-foot educational complex combines classroom training, hands-on learning, and interactive exhibits in robotics, gaming, and machine learning to bring cloud computing to life.

These initiatives are part of a larger effort to expand and diversify the tech workforce and meet AWS’s commitment to train 29 million people with no-cost cloud computing and technical skills training by 2025. In addition to the programming opportunities available at the AWS Skills Center in Arlington, AWS re/Start, provides full-time training programs to unemployed and underemployed individuals around the world to ready them for careers in the cloud, and then connects them to potential local employers.

Are you a local resident who is curious about exploring a cloud or data center-related career? Visit the AWS Skills Center. The center is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM ET.

Learn more about how AWS is supporting Virginia.

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