AWS Public Sector Blog

Explore the possibilities of cloud at AWS State, Local, and Education Learning Days

photo showing the ballroom and lots of attendees during the keynote at the AWS Learning Days Denver

Attendees pack the room during the keynote at the AWS Learning Days event in Denver earlier this month.

Public sector entities use cloud technologies but the degree of usage varies. According to multiple state and local government surveys conducted by the Center for Digital Government (CDG), only a small minority of US states, counties, and cities have migrated more than 50 percent of their systems/applications to the cloud. Similarly, many colleges and universities are in the midst of moving systems as they turn their sights towards the cloud. It’s estimated that 55 percent of educational institutions will have implemented a SaaS cloud model by 2025.

State and local government organizations and education institutions tend to adopt cloud services at a lower rate for a few reasons: a lack of cloud awareness and technical skills, a shortage of IT workers, and financial considerations. If you’re encountering any of these obstacles, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a tailored event that can help accelerate your cloud journey.

AWS is rolling out the 2024 AWS State, Local, and Education Learning Days (AWS Learning Days) series to give you exposure to the possibilities of the cloud. Whether you are thinking seriously about moving to the cloud or are there already, there is still much to learn. There could be an upcoming event near you.

Learn. Engage. Collaborate.

AWS State, Local, and Education Learning Days is a no-cost, in-person event where attendees from state and local government and education can access AWS training sessions, get one-on-one support with experts, collaborate with peers, and practice skills in workshops. Learn about topics that are important to your organization to help it meet its mission. Whether you are a practitioner who loves to code or an executive who oversees technology investments, there is something for you.

The day begins with a keynote led by an AWS executive and a fireside chat with special guests such as elected officials from the community or executives from local organizations and institutions with success stories. It is followed with a full day of three-to-five concurrent tracks offering breakout sessions, chalk talks, and hands-on workshops. Examples of themes are artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), application modernization and security, and data and analytics. There may be technical essentials training woven into the agenda, and for attendees who want an overall understanding of the AWS Cloud ahead of AWS Learning Days, access to an online course may be available on the event’s registration page. All courses are led by certified AWS instructors and trainers and are carefully designed to give attendees an optimal learning experience.

There is also an executive track for IT and business leaders. Topics vary, but past sessions have comprised of cloud financial management, e-services portals that scale, enabling and accelerating research, and generative AI increasing government and institution efficiencies.

Many public sector organizations may not have the staff or capabilities to build their own technology, which is where AWS Partners are able to assist. AWS Partners are uniquely positioned to help public sector organizations accelerate their cloud journey with solutions that not only fill a technology need, but also take the burden off of their teams. A mix of independent software vendors (ISVs), consulting partners, and education technology (EdTech) and government technology (GovTech) partners exhibit at AWS Learning Days and are available to connect with and explore rounding out your technology toolbox.

AWS hosted Denver’s Learning Days on March 5-6 and welcomed almost 200 attendees. The event kicked off with a keynote and fireside chat with Chad Mitchell, chief applications officer for the City and County of Denver, Orrie Gartner, associate vice chancellor and deputy CIO at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Amy Bhikha, chief data officer for the Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology. They discussed how cloud infrastructure enables public sector organizations to modernize constituent services and student success.

Attendees joined a variety of sessions including Cyber trends and best practices, Intelligent document processing, Democratizing your organization’s data analytics experience, Building AI and ML powered applications without machine learning expertise, and more. AWS Partner exhibitors in Denver were Slalom, Cloudwick, Crowdstrike, Snowflake, and Tyler Technologies.

Interested in attending an upcoming AWS State, Local, and Education Learning Days? Here are some best practices and considerations.

Who should attend

AWS Learning Days is recommended for state and local government and education IT professionals, executives, and practitioners. There may be select events that expand to other areas, such as healthcare. This information will be available on the individual AWS Learning Day’s registration page. 

Customize your agenda

Once registration is open, you’ll be able to review the agenda and choose what sessions are right for you. Session levels are: 100 for those new to the cloud; 200 for those with intermediate skills; and level 300 for those with more advanced skills. The session types include:

  • Breakout sessions: Lecture-style presentations covering a broad range of topics for various skill levels delivered by AWS experts, builders, and customers. Breakout sessions typically include a Q&A session at the end of the presentation.
  • Chalk talk sessions: A highly interactive experience intended to foster a technical discussion about real-world architecture challenges. Chalk talks begin with a short lecture delivered by an AWS expert, followed by whiteboarding and a Q&A session.
  • Workshop sessions: Interactive sessions where attendees work in small groups to build a solution to a problem using AWS products and services. Each workshop starts with a short lecture by the speaker, and there are additional AWS experts in the room to make sure every group gets the assistance they need. Attendees must bring their laptops to participate.

No experience with AWS is required to attend AWS Learning Days. Please bring devices, chargers, and IT peripherals needed to support your participation in the training sessions.

Engage with others

The day provides ample opportunity to network. The environment is casual and conducive to striking up impromptu conversations in the hallway. Or, visit our collaboration space where you can connect with your peers and visit with AWS Partners at their booths while sipping coffee or enjoying a snack. You’ll also find the AWS Ask the Expert team on standby to answer any questions you might have about the cloud or AWS solutions. And beyond AWS Learning Days, AWS offers a myriad of courses to help build technology skills. The AWS Training and Certification team will be there and can share more about its program for individuals or teams who want to fuel innovation and accelerate impact.

To learn more about upcoming AWS Learning Days in your area, please contact us.

Hilary Billingslea

Hilary Billingslea

Hilary is a senior global marketing manager for strategy engagement on the state and local government and education field marketing team at Amazon Web Services (AWS). She specializes in creation and execution of integrated campaigns reaching customers throughout their cloud journey. Hilary provides marketing support for the executive advisory team, the cloud innovation program, and special executive education programs.