AWS Public Sector Blog

Building a cloud-ready workforce: Utah announces plan to train and certify 5000 residents in cloud computing

Utah governor makes cloud workforce training at press conference

Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert announced the statewide initiative on August 6, 2020.

States are transforming their workforce and addressing immediate unemployment and reskilling challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. To do this, state community colleges are collaborating with industry to create more technology education programs. These programs address skills gaps with certificate and degree offerings focused on in-demand job categories like cloud computing. One state—Utah—announced a plan to train and certify 5,000 students for cloud careers by June 2022.

Yesterday, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert announced the statewide initiative, to enable training at Utah technical schools, community colleges, universities, and select K12 career and technical education schools with access to Amazon Web Services (AWS) education and training programs.

“Amazon has been a key contributor to the economic success in the great state of Utah for many years,” said Governor Herbert. “This new education collaboration will be a great economic benefit to our state as we work together to put Utahns back to work in resilient, high tech, in-demand jobs and enable more teleworking job opportunities as well.”

The need for workforce development training

According to a June 2020 whitepaper published by Opportunity America Working Group, Indispensable Institution, “Community colleges should accept and champion that they are the nation’s primary provider of job-focused education and training.”

Data from Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), identified 40,657 unique job postings in Utah requiring cloud computing skills in 2019. More than 10 percent of those jobs specifically requested AWS skills. A select number of Utahns currently hold an AWS Certification, creating a significant skills gap for local employers interested in hiring technical talent to fill open roles.

Preparing the workforce for entry level cloud jobs

At the announcement press conference, Fikir Teklemedhin, a student at West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, speaks about her personal experience with learning to code and her hope for future students.

At the announcement event, Fikir Teklemedhin, a student at West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, speaks about her personal experience with learning to code and her hope for future students.

Through this initiative, Utah is collaborating with the AWS public sector workforce transformation team to harness education programs like AWS Academy and AWS Educate to prepare students for entry level jobs in cloud computing.

AWS Academy provides higher education institutions with a no-cost, ready-to-teach, cloud computing curriculum that prepares students for industry-recognized AWS Certifications and in-demand cloud jobs. Educators at participating institutions receive virtual instructor training facilitated by AWS experts and access to AWS Certification exams at no cost as they qualify to become AWS Academy accredited educators. Students can access self-paced online training courses and labs from AWS. Educators and students in this program will also receive discounts towards AWS Certification exams.

Students and educators in K12 and higher education also have access to AWS Educate, Amazon’s global initiative to provide schools with no-cost resources and support to customize or create certificate or degree programs that align to careers in cloud computing. Utah K12 career and technical education sites may also access AWS Educate for foundational level content focused on real-world, applied learning experiences in fields such as voice recognition, gaming, artificial intelligence, and more.

Through the effort, Utah and AWS will work together to modernize and expand the state’s technical education course offerings by collaborating on cloud computing curriculum for educators and students. AWS will also support the Talent Ready Utah Center with training and onboarding of Utah schools as they begin integrating the AWS Academy and AWS Educate courses and content into the classroom.

“At AWS, we strongly believe in providing individuals with the tools and resources they need to pursue in-demand cloud jobs,” said John Stephenson, director of US public policy at AWS. “This collaboration with Talent Ready Utah will help to build the talent pipeline for local businesses needing workers with cloud skills and industry recognized cloud certifications. We are thrilled to support this statewide initiative to help Utahns discover new job opportunities and begin successful in-demand cloud careers.”

Utah is one example of where AWS, in collaboration with government and education leaders, are coming together to build a workforce for the future. AWS previously announced similar collaborations in Virginia, Louisiana, the United Kingdom, Bahrain, and India.

Contact the AWS workforce transformation team (email: to explore opportunities for your state.

Aaron Osmond

Aaron Osmond

Aaron Osmond is an education and workforce industry specialist at Amazon Web Services (AWS). He is based in Utah.

Tasha Zabohonski

Tasha Zabohonski

Tasha Zabohonski leads marketing for workforce transformation, campaigns and elections, and global education solutions and initiatives at Amazon Web Services (AWS). She is passionate about the education opportunities that the cloud provides.