AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

L.A. Leaders Unite Around Cloud and AWS to Drive Opportunity and Economic Growth

On October 19, 2018, at the California Cloud Workforce (CA Cloud) launch event, over a hundred Los Angeles-based education, government, and business leaders came together with a shared mission: develop cloud career pathways for all students to promote opportunity and economic growth. Hosted by CA Cloud, a consortium of 19 L.A. County community colleges and their sister high schools, the event aimed to build and maintain momentum around the launch of the consortium and the Cloud Computing Certificate. The five-course, dual enrollment Cloud Computing Certificate, created with AWS Educate, serves as a valuable talent pipeline for employers in need of cloud-skilled workers across all sectors.

The L.A. Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) emphasized that reducing the size of the ever-growing cloud skills gap is an economic imperative for the region. With over 83,000 cloud job postings in the L.A. area over the past twelve months, a demand for cloud skills crosses all industries: entertainment, aerospace, biotech, and education, just to name a few. As a solution, LAEDC’s regional approach to workforce development is geared to bolster the local economy – with education leading the way.

“The L.A. region is indebted to Amazon, AWS, and AWS Educate for accelerating the rate of change that technology catalyzes in our economy, as well as in the response of our educational institutions to those advancements. As stewards of the California economy, we recognize the opportunity to feed this innovation,” said Bill Allen, CEO of LAEDC.  “Many of our region’s residents don’t have the pathways into exciting industries and companies. We’re investing in our residents to help them gain new cloud skills so they can access well-paying job opportunities that support better standards of living.”

CA Cloud is at the front line of a public-private partnership around cloud workforce development in creating and delivering industry-aligned curriculum, hands-on practice in the cloud, and industry-recognized credentials. Santa Monica College (SMC) and Roosevelt High School piloted the Cloud Computing Certificate during the 2017-2018 academic year, with approximately 70 students participating. This fall, nearly 400 students have enrolled in the program at SMC alone. The consortium plans to scale the program across the state of California, adopt a full Cloud Associate Degree, and develop matriculations into four-year colleges.

“At SMC, there is an overwhelming student demand for this program. We attribute a lot of the program’s success to the trifecta of education, industry, and government working towards a common goal.” said Patricia Ramos, Dean of Workforce and Economic Development at SMC. “We relied on AWS to let us know what companies exist in the L.A. area so we could forge business partnerships.”

Employers are eager to benefit from CA Cloud’s talent pipeline, evidenced by innovative work-based learning opportunities and hiring practices. Onica and Mission Cloud have engaged with the consortium in a workforce collaboration involving curriculum development, faculty training, and work-based learning opportunities. Coursework is both responsive and relevant – keeping abreast of industry trends. For example, Onica expects to launch the Cadet Program in early 2019 – an effort to bridge the cloud skills gap and provide hands-on experience for young professionals.

“At Onica, we’re challenging the traditional notion of recruiting with our Cadet Program,” said Karin Kuo, VP of Talent at Onica. “We bring graduates onboard for additional AWS training and the opportunity for an apprenticeship. They will shadow cloud engineers and participate in professional development to better understand client engagements.”

Attendees left the event with a clear call to action: leverage the new AWS Educate job board to help recruit skilled candidates for cloud computing positions. The job board is free to use and allows businesses to post openings and students to search for jobs from Amazon and its partners. Take the first step by registering for AWS Educate today.

Want to learn more about how customers use AWS Educate to develop cloud skills? Check out these AWS Educate testimonials.

Figure 1: Stakeholders from Amazon Web Services, Santa Monica College, Roosevelt High School, and LAEDC connect at the CA Cloud Launch Day

Figure 2: Howard Stahl and Michael Brown of Santa Monica College provide faculty and students perspectives of the program.

Figure 3: Ken Eisner, Global Lead of AWS Educate, connects with Dr. Kathryn Jeffery, President of Santa Monica College, and Dr. Patricia Ramos, Dean, Workforce and Economic Development at Santa Monica College